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.
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.
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.
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.