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.
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.
Our guests from Youth Emergency Services (YES) in Omaha included their Director of Program Services, Cindy Goodin, and an extraordinary young lady, Domanyk, who was a graduate of the YES experience. We learned that over half of young homeless people are there because they ‘aged out of the system’ and just didn’t have the physical, emotional, and financial support to successfully make that leap into adult responsibilities.
We are learning so much about the effects of PTSD upon members of the armed services and the long term effects of PTSD on family members. Yet effective treatment and assistance is often unavailable or perceived as too stigmatizing. There is a heroic volunteer organization called At Ease USA, raising awareness and funding to support therapeutic, healing opportunities offered to all veterans, active-duty military personnel, and their loved ones through Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska’s (LFS) At Ease program. Our guests on this broadcast of Not Alone were Tim Burke, who is the Board President of At Ease USA, and Paul Greenwell, the Program Director of the LFS At Ease support program. Their message is one of Hope.
A recent guest on our Not Alone radio broadcast created quite a stir with her comments and insights addressing hoarding, so we wanted to share more of her conversation with us about hoarding disorders, the research that has been underway the past 25 years, and the opportunities she sees for community prevention and intervention. We are gratified to learn that hoarding disorders will be included in the new DSM – 5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition)