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  1. 1. Mental Health MattersCOMING EVENTS: Educating Southwest Florida on Mental Wellness since 1957 N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 1• November 5, 2011 Veterans Appreciation Dinner Honoring our Troops and Veterans• November 5, 2011 Our nations soldiers and veterans represent the very best Putting Children First our country has to offer and many are suffering with invisible, psychological wounds that affect their family and• November 14, 2011 daily life wounds many years after their Swing for the Kids return to civilian life. Currently many soldiers remain onGolf Tournament duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, however some are returning• November 19, 2011 home, along with reservists and members of the National Putting Children First Guard. Many are facing a battle on the home front transitioning to civilian life. Of the approximately 300,000• December 1, 2011 54th Annual Meeting veterans from Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom who have accessed care through the U.S. Department of Veterans• December 3, 2011 Affairs, more than 40 percent are reporting mental health concerns. Putting Children First These conditions have a major impact on families. Many veterans cite "connecting• December 17, 2011 emotionally with family" as a major concern. The percentage of soldiers who have Putting Children First conflicts with family and others quadrupled after returning from combat. Living and caring for veterans with mental health concerns is also stressful and can change the way Larry Ledbetter families relate to each other. This is particularly important because families play a Broker Realtor central role in supporting people with PTSD. The Mental Health Association of ABR-CRS-GRI Southwest Florida offers a progressive support group for our heroes who served in our Armed Forces. The support group is also open to spouses and partners. For more information contact us at our offices at 261-5405 or our website ww.mhaswfl.orgLife Time of Knowledge of Naples 239-403-0777 239- 403-SUPPORT New Board MemberGROUPS: The MHA of Southwest Florida would like to welcome RossHere for Life Stanfield as our new board member. He has resided in Naples for1st Tuesday everyMonth 7:00 PM the past 23 years. He received a degree in Finance from the University of South Florida and a QuickBooks Pro-advisor with RVeterans Stanfield Consulting LLC.Wednesday7:00 - 8:30PM Ross enjoys golf, fishing, boating, traveling, and participating inDepression many local events to help better our community.Thursday We greatly appreciate his support and are glad to have him aboard.10:30AM - Noon
  4. 4. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS PAGE 4How to Get Back to "Normal"Whether you’re a reservist or full-time military person, your return from war means the embrace of family and friends, andresuming everyday life. Even before the rejoicing over your safe return subsides, you ’ll be trying to find your way back towhat’s normal again.Here are some tips to help you through this time of transition: • Realize the reunion is more than just coming home. It’s a major event for the people in your life -- maybe even bigger than the separation. In fact, research shows that reunion can cause more stress in people’s lives than deployment. That’s not to say that returning service members and their family and friends aren’t happy about the homecoming. They’re usually ecstatic. The stress comes from the changes that have taken place and concern for what life will now be like. • Spend time with family and friends. For months, the people who are closest to you have been living with the fear of losing you. Make a special effort to spend time with them or, if they are far away, call often to support and reassure them. • View stress as normal. Returning to your everyday life is a major change, and change always creates stress. If accepted and handled constructively, stress can be turned into a source of excitement and enthusiasm about new beginnings with family and friends. • Go slowly. Take time to ease back into your routine. Make a list of those things that must be done -- such as banking, making living arrangements, contacting friends and relatives -- and take them one by one. Trying to do too much too soon will only add to your stress level. Consider putting off major decisions until you’ve had plenty of time to readjust. • Communicate with others. Talking with others about your experiences and what you’re feeling can help relieve stress. It’s not a sign of weakness. Talk with a trusted relative, friend, faith leader or family services staffer. Military chaplains can be helpful, as most receive training in pastoral counseling and crisis. • Take care of your physical health. Get plenty of rest and exercise, eat properly, and avoid drugs and excessive drinking. • Do things you find relaxing. Go fishing, attend a concert, or take a long soak in the tub. Be kind to yourself. • Watch what you spend. Now that you’re back, the urge to spend will be strong. Don’t spend more than you can afford. • Start the rebuilding process together. Do it as a family. Make the decision that this time will serve to make you and your family even stronger. Get involved in positive activities that encourage togetherness and reassurance. • Expect something of a letdown. Most, if not all, service members experience it. It simply means that you’re no longer running on pure adrenalin and that things are beginning to settle down. Or, it may mean that the homecoming hasn’t solved all the problems that existed before the mobilization. Possibly, your reunion didn’t go the way you thought it would. Whatever the reason, it’s perfectly normal to feel this way. However, if this feeling doesn’t go away, it could be a sign of something more serious.
  5. 5. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS PAGE 5When the Letdown Doesnt Let UpAfter the initial celebration is over, most returning service men and women experience some sort of an emotional let-down. This is part of the transition back to everyday life. It simply means you’re no longer operating in high gear and thatthings are beginning to settle down. Or, it can mean that your homecoming was not everything you’d hoped it would be.Occasionally, the letdown can become a more serious problem that requires professional assistance.Here are some signs that mean it’s time to get help: • Long bouts of depression. If you feel down for longer than two weeks or so, you may be clinically depressed. With clinical depression, people often feel hopeless, lack interest in day-to-day activities or loved ones, and experience changes in eating and sleeping habits. There may even be thoughts of death or suicide. • Frequent bouts of anxiety or panic. Feeling afraid, even when there’s reason, is a normal reaction after ex- periencing extremely stressful events. But, when you still feel this way several weeks after the event, you may have something called an anxiety disorder. • Flashbacks and frequent nightmares. Traumatic events, such as combat, often trigger nightmares and vivid, sudden memories called flashbacks. If they persist for several weeks or months, you may have post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It can make you feel indifferent, avoid people and responsibilities, become “jumpy,” or have panic attacks. • Frequent alcohol and drug abuse. When people are in pain, they sometimes try to “self-medicate” with alco- hol and drugs. This almost always results in even worse trouble. • Domestic violence/abuse. When troubled by your feelings or experiences, you may feel like lashing out at your family members. • Previous mental health problems or past trauma. You may experience the symptoms of your disorder or see new ones emerge.If you are experiencing any of these, you should seek help. With professional help and support you can overcome theseproblems. Everyone needs help from time to time in dealing with the stresses of life. It’s also best to act on these prob-lems as early as possible. You have many options to choose from: support groups, anger management classes, yourfaith leader, a service chaplain, a family services counselor or mental health professional. Asking for help is not a sign ofweakness.Nearly every military installation has a family service center, family support center or Army community service centerwhere you can access information, referral, counseling, and crisis intervention services. In addition, all military families,including National Guard members and Reservists who are activated for more than 30 days, are eligible for medical andmental health care either at a military medical treatment facility or at a civilian facility through TRICARE, the administra-tor of health services for the armed services. TRICARE provides information about mental health benefits programs forthe military on their Web site, Or contact them at 888-363-2273. Also, Military OneSource provides24-hour access to information and help. Contact them at 800-342-9647 or
  6. 6. PAGE 6 PTSD/ Veterans Support GroupThe Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida is proud to offer a progressive supportgroup for our heroes who served in our Armed Forces. We also invite other members of the publicwho suffer from PTSD to join us as well. We were able to recruit one of our professional memberswho, is extremely qualified for this honorable task:Robert J. Landy, PhD, NCC, LMHC, is a seasoned trauma specialist, who served in the militaryhimself. In addition our facilitator routinely works with families and couples and is well aware of themany difficulties our soldiers and family members face upon their return to civilian life.Our support group is open to spouses and partners. We believe that it is important to listen to theirneeds and perspectives as well. We would like you to help us spread the word. If you are aVeteran yourself feel encouraged and invited to join our group. We trust that with your help we willbe able to provide a valuable service to our veteran population and community.The group meets at our facilities every Wednesday night from 7.00pm to 8.30pm The Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida 2335 Tamiami Trail #404 (The Moorings Professional Building) Naples, FL 34103 Phone: (239) 261 5405 MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
  7. 7. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS PAGE 7 Gollee’s Tip Helping Children Grieve Children who experience a major loss may grieve differently than adults. A parents death can be particularly difficult for small children, affecting their sense of security or survival. Often, they are confused about the changes they see taking place around them, particularly if well-meaning adults try to protect them from the truth or from their surviving parents display of grief. Limited understanding and an inability to express feelings puts very young children at a special disad- vantage. Young children may revert to earlier behaviors (such as bed-wetting), ask questions about the deceased that seem insensitive, invent games about dying or pretend that the death never happened. Coping with a childs grief puts added strain on a bereaved parent. However, angry outbursts or criticism only deepen a childs anxiety and delays recovery. Instead, talk honestly with children, in terms they can understand. Take extra time to talk Talk with them about death and the person who has died. Honestly Help them work through their feelings and remember with that they are looking to adults for suitable behavior. Children
  8. 8. PAGE 8 Support Group: Grandparents Caring for their Grandchildren The Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida in partnership with Tim’s Kids is providing a free support group for Grandparents caring for their grandchildren.The schedule is as follows:1st and 3rd week of each month Mondays starting at 10am,and 2nd and 4th week of each month Mondays starting at 6:30 pm.Please contact Peggy Thomson, LCSW at (239) 287-2862for further information.Groups will be held at:Therapeutic Integration Services2960 Immokalee Rd Suite 3 Naples, FL 34110. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
  10. 10. PAGE 10Volunteers Needed:“Peer Counselors Find Meaning in Retirement”By Margot Escott, LCSW, Senior Peer Counseling Coordinatorfor the Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida Learn about Peer Counselors and a Vital Community Project Give Purpose to Your Retirement Years Make a Difference in Someone’s Life TodayPeer counselors are men and women from diverse backgrounds and experiences, who are selected fortheir warmth and caring for others. They receive extensive training and earn a Peer Counseling Certifi-cate after successful completion of the training program. Ongoing supervision and continuing training isalso an essential part of their experience. These counselors utilize their skills and life experiences toprovide emotional support and guidance to their peers. The target population for the Peer CounselingProgram is caregivers and seniors. Please contact The Mental Health Association to learn more, Call 239.261.5405 or email “We Are Making A Difference” MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS
  11. 11. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERSPeer Counselor Program NewsMargot Escott, LCSWTraining CoordinatorThe Senior Peer Counselors and friends from other agencies that serve the agingpopulation in Collier, gathered for a luncheon at Imperial Golf Club on Saturday,September 17th. This was in honor of our wonderful volunteers, who serve our seniorcaregivers so faithfully. It was also in memory of my father, whose birthday would havebeen September 16. I cared for my great dad for the last five years of his life , when hisParkinson Disease had progressed to the need for 24/7 care. My husband and I werelucky to be able to take care of dad in his home. Some of the people who helped so muchwere the Parkinson Association of South Florida and it was great that their new ED, RuthHubing was able to be there. Another agency that is reaching out to caregivers, is JewishFamily Services with their ED Jackie Faffer.The Alzheimer’s Support Network has been a great agency for providing support andeducation and a resource that we suggest for many of our client caregivers.,We were all happy that Steve Edmunston could attend. Over lunch I looked around theroom, and saw so many folks dedicated to helping the sick and elderly of Collier County,most from non for profit agencies. It was heartwarming for me to see so many people thatwere connected by their histories of caring for a loved one who was perhaps suffering adementia illness or end of life issues, and who use their experience and strength to helpothers who are going through similar challenges.Any organization is only as good as the people who serve in it and I am proud to be partof the Peer Counseling Program, now in its ninth year of service to Collier County. PAGE 11
  12. 12. MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS PAGE 12 Our Mission To Advocate for Mental Wellness through Education, Prevention, and Support The Mental Health Association of Southwest Florida identifies unmet needs and develops culturally sensitive services and programs to improve the lives of those facing the many challenges of today’s world in our community. We pride ourselves on being the “link” for mental health and mental wellness.If you are interested in becoming a member, e-mail us at Or Simply fill out the application and mail a checkpayable to MHASWFL or donate online using a credit card. Your contribution is tax-deductible and crucial to helping us continueour work. If you have any questions about Membership please contact our office by phone at (239) 261-5405or mail The Mental Association of Southwest Florida 2335 Tamaimi Trail N, Ste 404, Naples FL 34103.