Professor Mary Moller, with Yale University Graduate Nurse Programs, joined Not Alone again to continue our conversation regarding psychiatric nursing care. “For many years, mental health nursing was seen as ‘correcting bad behavior’; it wasn’t until the last 20 years or so that patients have been treated as people with neurobiological disorders and a wellness based approach addressing diet, rest, exercise, social life, adherence to medication protocols, peer support and education has been valued,” explained Dr. Moller.
One of the most challenging of the psychiatric disabilities is schizophrenia and components to this disorder may result in hallucinations, delusions, disordered thinking, and behaviors. Schizophrenia is a chronic condition, which means it requires lifelong treatment.
On this Not Alone broadcast we covered an interesting assortment of topics, each reflecting more recent technologies in treating mental health needs. Our guest was Dr. Walter Duffy of the Premier Psychiatric Group in Lincoln. Dr. Duffy and his associates have an opportunity to utilize newer technologies and be involved in research advancing the use of these technologies. They have been employing telepsychiatry in Nebraska and now in Iowa for more than 10 years. The beauty here is that it does make mental health care more accessible for people in rural communities, saving both time and money.
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.
I have practiced nursing for more than 20 years—16 of which were in psychiatric nursing. I worked in a psychiatric unit within a major medical center and a state psychiatric hospital, where it was common practice to use seclusion, restraint, and other physical containment strategies to “manage” what we viewed at the time as patients’ problematic behaviors. We were using interventions we had been taught and led to believe were the right things for our patients. Deep down, I questioned the suffering these patients went through while being contained. I felt their pain, especially when witnessing grown men and women scream and cry in agony as they were carried to seclusion. The staff’s adrenaline was pumping and their perceived goal was to keep everyone safe. But something seemed wrong with this arrangement.
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.
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.
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.
We talked about Playing It Safe on this broadcast of Not Alone. We are recognizing March is Problem Gambling Awareness Month and were joined by Deb Hammond with Choices Treatment Center and Maya Chilese, with the Division of Behavioral Health, who talked with us about Responsible Gambling, and how to minimize our chances of experiencing problems with gambling.
Not Alone welcomed friends from Epworth Village on this broadcast. Headquartered in York, NE, Epworth Village is one of Nebraska’s most respected agencies in rehabilitating troubled youth that originated as an orphanage nearly 125 years ago. It has evolved and changed as the needs of society have changed, becoming now a recognized leader and positive influence for families dealing with severe emotional and behavioral disorders in youth. Our guests were Patrick Garcia, the CEO, and staff member Jamie Cline. The goals of Epworth Village include helping youngsters and their families successfully navigate their personal challenges, their negative thinking and feelings of frustration, before these failures become a way of life and are perpetuated to the next generation.