Not Alone has been honored to host incredible, knowledgeable, inspiring guests over the years and on this broadcast we welcomed parents of youth with mental health challenges. On one of the more powerful broadcasts we have had, Tom, Ann, and MaryAnn shared from the depth of their hearts regarding struggles they have faced in finding help for their children, youth, or young adults. This broadcast will serve as an inspiring beacon of hope for other parents for years to come.
National Foster Care Month is traditionally recognized and celebrated during the month of May and Not Alone would like to add our thanks and appreciation to those who open their hearts and homes to the young children and teens in need of out-of-home placement. Since Nebraska has a higher rate of removing children from their home than any other state in the nation, reliable, loving foster parents are always in high demand. Not Alone’s guests on this broadcast were Jewel Schifferns, Manager of Kinship Care Services and Jaimie Anderson-Hoyt, Grant Development Director, both from Nebraska Families Collaborative (NFC) in Douglas and Sarpy county.
Not Alone’s visitors on this broadcast introduced the GOALS Center, or the Greater Omaha Attendance and Learning Services Center. The mission of the Learning-Community wide program is twofold: first, it is designed to encourage youngsters and families as they identify and overcome hindrances preventing regular school attendance. Secondly, they are assisting as the families implement workable plans that encourage their students to stay engaged in school until graduation.
Not Alone’s special guests this week represented Behavioral Services for the Mary Lanning Healthcare: Kim Kern, the Director of Behavioral Services, and Psychologist Dr. Jeromy Warner. Mary Lanning Hospital officially opened in Hastings, Nebraska, in January of 1915, as a general hospital with 50 beds. Over the years, it has evolved into a health center with 183 beds and a staff of nearly 1000.
The month of May is recognized as Older Americans Month and the second week in May is designated as Older Americans Mental Health week. Not Alone wanted to get an early start in celebrating the opportunities available regarding our senior population.
Our Not Alone guest, Lila Starr, is an amazing lady, representing older persons mental health needs. Her message educated us on the emergence of the elderly as the top group needing mental health care. Our older people are suffering in untold numbers the effects of depression and anxiety, which many people erroneously consider a ‘normal part of aging.’ People living for many years with diagnosed mental health challenges are living healthier, longer lives because of advances in medication, and recognition of the need for healthy eating and exercise. However, there is not yet consistent research to demonstrate the needs of people with psychiatric disorders on their changing bodies as they become seniors.
We always welcome and appreciate visits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to our Not Alone broadcasts. There are so many positive opportunities relating to improving the emotional health of our veterans to share with listeners, we simply run out of broadcast time. On this episode, we focused on two topics: one, healing opportunities available through VA programs for the men and women veterans who have experienced Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and two, the numbers of young veterans and their families who have become homeless and the local programs initiated by the VA to locate safe and affordable housing for these families.
My favorite broadcasts are often the programs where people experiencing mental health disorders are our guests; it seems as if they are so often the people with the infectious grins and the sense of humor that bubbles out, in spite of, or perhaps because of, the turmoil they have experienced. On this broadcast of Not Alone, our guests were not only delightful, sparkling personalities, they were bright and articulate, as they confidently described their health challenges, their expectations from themselves concerning their life, and their future hopes for all people experiencing psychiatric disorders. Each one agreed Peer Support has made the Big Difference in life.
Congratulations to MOSAIC on the celebration of their 100th year of service to people with intellectual disabilities. Not Alone was invited to visit Mosaic and to discover the possibilities available in community-based vocational and residential programs created to develop successful transitions towards more independence for Mosaic clients.
Not Alone had the privilege of introducing a fairly new program to the Metro community on our broadcast. This program is very much a community design, a community effort, a community investment and is making a noticeable, successful difference already. Beth Morrissette, Executive Director of the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Network in Pottawattamie County, and Stu DeLaCastro, Jail Administrator for Pottawattamie County, were our guests on this broadcast and they introduced a systems change called Alternatives to Incarceration.