Empowerment Magazine  W I N T E R 2 0 11Inside this issue:  Top Three Ways to Promote Wellness                            ...
Happy Holidays and Welcome to the Winter Issue of the EmpowermentWe welcome your feedback! If you have any questions or co...
Finding Happiness and Contentment     During the Holidays by Terry Zick, M.A.Will you find contentment and joy throughout ...
connecting with our heart and spirit. Keep in mind, that every season has its beauty and its joyful aspects—ifwe are willi...
Interview conducted by Chris Woodyard and Dr. Chelsea Bagias                                      www.coremedicalclinic.co...
DR. STENSON: This question underscores the importance of an individualized treat-                                    ment ...
Reaching Across Stockton by Ron Risley, MDTake a walk along Stockton Boulevard. Head south from U Street, and on the right...
Beyond diabetes there are psychiatric aspects of stroke, pain,                                                  substance ...
How to Pick a Counselor or Therapist  By Chelsea Bagias, Psy.D.The most important thing about choosing a counselor or     ...
We Advocate For You!    Sacramento County Office of Patients’ RightsYou may have heard of the Sacra-             These are...
New Directions by Thomas Hushen                                       Service Coordinator-HRCA new year is upon us, and pe...
THE INFINITE LIFE PROJECT LLC          Provides culturally diverse and culturally           As a Continuing Education Prov...
Sacramento Launches Mental Health Promotion  Project to Reduce Stigma and DiscriminationMary Ann Bennett, Deputy Director ...
Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by Gail Erlandson, M.A.Does your mood change with the seasons? Does the gloomy ...
Interview with Dianne Ross, RN                 Founder and CEO of Araven Holistic Mind Institute (AHMI)Interviewer: What a...
Ms. Ross: A person must be 13 years of age or older. I provide     In our community, it is my experience that our peoplese...
What You Can Do To Speed Up Your  Disability Application By Rosario M     Ramirez Social Security Public Affairs Specialis...
Minestrone Soup by Chris Woodyard     Prep time 25 mins. Cook time 45 mins.Minestrone soup  1 ½ cups diced carrot  1 ½ cup...
Continued from page 7            what are some of the things you would want to assess or identify before you start?DR. STE...
Continued from pageChelsea Bagias is a doctor of psychology currently collecting hours as a psychological as-sistant (PSB ...
NewUSimmigrants.com is a comprehensive,easy-to-use immigration web site that provides an extensive directory of resources ...
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  1. 1. Empowerment Magazine W I N T E R 2 0 11Inside this issue: Top Three Ways to Promote Wellness 3 Finding Happiness and Contentment during the Holidays 4, 5 Q & A on Co-Occurring Disorders 6, 7, 20 Reaching Across Stockton 8, 9 How to Pick a Counselor or Therapist 10 We Advocate For You! 11 New Direction 12 Sacramento Launches Mental Health Promotion Project to Reduce Stigma and 14 Discrimination Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder 15 Interview with Dianne Ross, RN, Founder and CEO of AHMI 16, 17 What You Can Do To Speed Up Your Disability Application 18 Minestrone Soup and Mary Jo‘s Revised French Chocolate Cake 19 Resource Page 23 Back Cover Page 24 Special Thanks to Marilyn Washington Gail Erlandson, MA Hisham Soliman, MD,MPH Terry Zick, M.A. Rosario M. Ramirez, (Social Secu- Thomas Hushen Melanie Martinez rity Administration) Barbara N. Dawson Anne Adams Tammy Dyer. M.S.W. Cynthia Wakefield Chelsea Bagias, Psy.D. Ron Risley, M.D. The Infinite Life Project Cindy Tuttle Lynn Keune, LMFT (LaFamilia) Chris Woodyard Dianne Ross, RN David Kiesz Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health Services (DBHS) Office of Patients Rights Mary Jo Pat Hubbert Phommasone Griffith Randall Stenson M.D. We continue to thank the Wellness Recovery Center North (WRC) for allowing us to use the facility!
  2. 2. Happy Holidays and Welcome to the Winter Issue of the EmpowermentWe welcome your feedback! If you have any questions or comments about our publications, please feel freeto share them. We want to hear from you. You can also send your inspiring story, poem, artwork or photo-graphs. To contact us, send an email to contact@empowermentmagazine.org or call us at 916 222-7541.Our mailing address is: PO Box 214864, Sacramento, CA 95821Sincerely, TOP THREE WAYS TO PROMOTE WELLNESS SAMHSA 10x10 Wellness Campaign1. Follow a Healthy Lifestyle. • Don’t smoke or use addictive substances. • Limit alcohol intake. • Eat healthy foods and exercise regularly. • Monitor your weight, blood pressure, sleep patterns, and other important health indicators.2. Work with a Primary Care Doctor. • Communication between people with mental health problems, mental health professionals, and primary care providers is essential. • See a primary care physician regularly (at least twice a year).3. Ask Questions! • Know about medications or alternative treatments. • Review and act on results of check-ups and health screenings. • Monitor existing and/or new symptoms. • Speak up about ANY concerns or doubts. A recent report has found that people with mental ill- nesses die decades earlier than the general population You can change this! Eric Zuniga, Wellness and Recovery Center -by joining the 10x10 Wellness Campaigns to take action Program Coordinator and founder of MCT Health to prevent and reduce early mortality by 10 years over the next 10 years for people with mental illnesses To find out more about the 10x10 Wellness Campaign please visit http://www.10x10.samhsa.govEmpowerment Magazine does not necessarily endorse the views, services or products advertised in this magazine. Theopinions expressed in the articles are solely of the author (s). We are not responsible for omissions or errors.Reproduction in whole or in part for reasons other than personal use, is strictly prohibited without prior written permis-sion from the author or publisher. If you have a question, please e-mail us at contact@empowermentmagazine.org
  3. 3. Finding Happiness and Contentment During the Holidays by Terry Zick, M.A.Will you find contentment and joy throughout the holi- 5. Respond to each moment withday season? Some people may think it would be im- calm, wisdom and appropriatepossible to experience happiness or contentment behavior, rather than react withthrough the holidays. Here‘s encouraging news… anger, fear, anxiety.when you focus on some new perspectives andstrategies, you will become more uplifted and more at 6. Stay optimistic that things will go well, and de-peace. velop confidence that you will find a way to man- age/reduce any stressors.It is important to recognize that much of our unhappi- 7. Plan ways to nurture yourself through the experi-ness can come from thinking about unpleasant past ence.memories over and over. And, due to that influence,we end up with a ―programmed‖ dread of the holidays, 8. Only agree to what you want to do, rather thansometimes starting the upset as early as September what others want you to do. Give yourself per-or October. We get locked into disempowering self mission to follow your truth and your wisdom.talk such as, ―I ALWAYS get depressed through the 9. Notice beauty and sweetness in every day. Con-holidays‖, ―My family always makes me upset, but I nect in the heart more and more often. For ex-have no choice—I have to be with them‖. ample, mindfully appreciate the rich assortment of sights, smells, sounds, textures and tastes.In cognitive-behavioral therapy, we learn about thecognitive distortion of ‗all-or-nothing thinking‘. This 10. Shop within your budget. Give only when yourthinking means that we believe that the holidays are heart feels giving, instead of giving out of obliga-either going to be: all bad; all sad; all unloving; all tion.challenging. When people say they dread the holi- 11. Set limits, stand up for your boundaries, let otherdays, this sounds like all-or-nothing thinking. people know it is important to respect your posi- tion when setting a boundary.Additionally, we become unhappy by putting our at- 12. Ignore the drama, breath in peace and loving-tention on all the aspects that are missing, and there- kindness, breath out the same.fore feeling empty and sad. The truth is, that the way 13. Take responsibility for making yourself happy in-we think about the season can be limited, unrealistic stead of trying so hard to make sure others areand very misguided. happy. 14. Validate your sadness, fear and anger in non-Let this be the year we change those peace destroy- judgmental, healthy ways. Set a timeframe toing patterns! I would encourage you to rethink your feel those feelings, and then move on to someold patterns of thought and misbelief about the holi- other activity to shift the energy.days. Here are some of the many strategies for find- 15. Focus on what brings you joy and pleasure suching rejuvenating appreciation of the season: as play the music you enjoy, fix the food you like, see your kind of movie. 1. Release unfair/unrealistic expectations of others 16. Make allowances for the mistakes and insensitiv- and of our self. Be nonjudgmental, accept ―what ity of others who may have had the best inten- is‖. tions. 2. Take more responsibility for creating your own 17. When people who are typically hurtful to you con- peace instead of expecting other people to act in a tinue to be hurtful, consider releasing the drama way that brings you peace. and blessing them on their journey. 3. Live more in the present moment with something 18. Keep your personal power with those who cause you enjoy or are grateful for, instead of focusing harm or hurt. on the past. 19. Practice the liberating, calming, balancing power 4. Recognize that the past DOES NOT predict the of deep belly breathing. future, so you are empowered to change your ex- 20. Be encouraged that experience is transformed by perience. discerning attention to our thoughts, and -
  4. 4. connecting with our heart and spirit. Keep in mind, that every season has its beauty and its joyful aspects—ifwe are willing to pay attention to it. The holiday season is rich with happy moments being offered to you--no matter what your spiritual/religious path is (or even if you don‘t have one.)This is the time of year that much of the world is focused on the values of connection, love, joy and peace andeveryday miracles. These messages are like important Post-it notes to remind us of what brings life purpose,meaning and connection. Even as people engage in the hustle bustle of the season, we are reminded of―peace on earth, goodwill toward men‖ and ―let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me‖. When wehear those messages, we have an opportunity to let them touch our heart and spirit.And, of course, the lights are so symbolic. They can prompt us to allow the light to radiate through ourheart, providing healing and nurturing. The light represents the thought that even when darkness appears toprevail, as we light a candle the darkness is transformed. The light is always more powerful than the dark.The light can remind us of the flame that burns continuously within ready to reveal our precious essence—and connect us to its powerful beacon of hope, faith and possibilities. And how do we know the light iswithin? We know this because when we become quiet, when we become still, when we connect with thebeautiful transformative power of the relaxed breath, we discover something already within. And, with thatbreath we come home to what is highest, and merge with our most sacred self.Author’s BioTerry Zick has a Master of Arts Degree in Counseling from University of Colorado-Denver. She has 30 yearsexperience working with adults, children and family preservation. She has worked in settings such as: non-profits, schools, justice system, alcohol/drug programs. Her role as counselor, consultant and trainer main-tains a focus on spirituality, health and wellness. Terry currently facilitates groups and supports individualizedmentoring at the Wellness and Recovery Center North . Challenges stand in our way as we start climbing the mountain of dreams We find many boulders blocking our path making progress difficult We wonder- can we make it? But as we proceed we see a small trail which will make the trip easier We notice the wild flowers and hear the birds singing their sweet tune Look! There is a fellow traveler! Perhaps he would like to join usCindy Tuttle provides spiritual retreats forfamily members of adults with mental illness Yes, the mountain is still steepand consumers. These non-denominational but now the journey is less difficultretreats provide a time and space to reflect with a companion to share the loadon our purpose in life, our holiness, and howlove is with us each day. You can contact We will keep climbing this mountainCindy at cindytuttle08@comcast.net or visit step by step with faithher website www.cindytuttletheauthor.com
  5. 5. Interview conducted by Chris Woodyard and Dr. Chelsea Bagias www.coremedicalclinic.comINTERVIEWER: What would you consider the greatest risk in the life of the patient with co-occurring addiction and mentalhealth challenges?DR. STENSON: Such individuals face a number of challenges but perhaps the greatest risk would be a preventable, prematuredeath. When diagnosis is delayed and treatment not provided, risk factors such as suicide, accidental death, and illness devel-opment significantly increases. An individual‘s quality of life can be significantly improved with proper diagnosis and treatment.INTERVIEWER: What things would you consider as most important to add to the patient‘s lives to increase resiliency?DR. STENSON: Becoming a partner and meaningful participant in the individual‘s treatment can greatly add to an individual‘sresiliency. Knowing that their treatment team understands the many challenges they face can be internalized and applied tothe day-to-day coping skills and resiliency.INTERVIEWER: If you were to ask a patient further down the line in recovery what had the most impact on their success, whatinformation would you pass on to individuals still in more difficulty stages of recovery?DR. STENSON: Learning to accept and cope with discouragement and demoralization is often a key element in movingthrough the stages of recovery. Recognizing that one is not alone with these feelings and experiences is very important. It isinteresting how often acceptance breeds hope and optimism. Realizing that such symptoms as low energy are part of an ill-ness and not part of the moral weakness can assist a great deal in making gradual improvement.INTERVIEWER: What might be some of the main ways the media and society at large misjudge individuals with co-occurringdisorders?DR. STENSON: First of all, painting such individuals with the same brush is a common misjudgment. Lumping individuals to-gether and drawing simplistic conclusions is common. Each individual is unique and deserves access to an individualized treat-ment plan. Demonizing or vilifying such individuals is a sale‘s or scare tactic used by the media who might have other agendas.Viewing individuals on Social Security disability as lazy, manipulative, and a risk to the Federal budget would be such an exam-ple.INTERVIEWER: What kind of information may be helpful to the families of individuals experiencing co-occurring disorders?DR. STENSON: Organizations such as the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) can provide a wealth of support andinformation to such families. Programs such as Al-Anon can be very helpful when codependency issues are central themes. Itis important to understand that each of these organizations may not have a complete understanding of individuals with co-occurring disorders and that incorporating components of each may be necessary. Information at the SAMHSA website is morespecifically tailored for families dealing with co-occurring disorders. At C.O.R.E., we either attempt to manage both the sub-stance abuse and mental health needs of our clients or assure that they have access to the required community resources.INTERVIEWER: What has been your personal background in dealing with addiction and mental health issues among lovedones?DR. STENSON: One advantage of society‘s more open information exchange is the realization that most families are touchedin some way by individuals with substance abuse, mental illness, and co-occurring disorders. When close friends or familymembers have requests for help or are in need of an intervention, I do my best to assure that appropriate direction is provided.INTERVIEWER: What local services can you identify that would be beneficial for family members or patients dealing with co-occurring challenges?DR. STENSON: At C.O.R.E., an individual must first suffer from opioid addiction to be eligible for services. We work hard totreat each patient with respect and to help them deal with this very serious illness and co-occurring disorders. The thirdWednesday of each month at 11 a.m., I conduct a workshop open to anyone interested in opioid addiction and related prob-lems. Patients, family members, friends, staff and community members provide very positive feedback of the utility of this work-shop. The historical and scientific background to our treatment model is explained and patients are encouraged to hold theirheads high and to become strong advocates for their treatment to hopefully improve future access. In achieving our goals, weoften are in close communication and cooperation with county ACCESS, community hospitals, and many other communitybased organizations and resources.INTERVIEWER: What roles do medication, psychotherapy/counseling, holistic treatment and spirituality play in recoveryfrom co-occurring issues? Continued on page 7
  6. 6. DR. STENSON: This question underscores the importance of an individualized treat- ment plan and approach. Patients at C.O.R.E. are encouraged to see themselves as the ultimate expert in their disorders and treatment. Excellent care requires that the treatment staff maintain an open mind regarding the treatment needs of each patient. In the field of opioid addiction, our field forefathers suspected that patients suffered more from a deficiency than from a toxicity. Subsequent research and experience has largely supported this concept. Methadone and buprenorphine have proven to be excellent medications to treat this deficiency and are often life-saving, life-altering medications. The medications effectiveness must be supported by quality interven- tions addressing the therapy, counseling, spirituality, and other needs brought to the table. Each individual‘s ―story‖ must be told and needs addressed. Holistic concepts are great, can be very helpful and meaningful, but too often hype, misrepresentation,poor quality control and related factors can lead to scams. It is important that treating staff stress the importance of goodcommunication about various products that are promoted as holistic, organic, herbal, etc as some have no foundation inscience and are financial scams. Wellness oriented life-style changes that include nutrition, exercise, and stress man-agement are very positive and important.INTERVIEWER: Do you feel additional supports such as AA, MA or other meeting groups are helpful in aiding recovery?DR. STENSON: These programs are incredibly important and sadly, too often, under-utilized. Frequently, patients onnormalizing doses of methadone or buprenorphine report unpleasant experiences at AA/NA when their treatment wasshared. This is gradually changing as more AAs and NAs gain awareness of the highly effective, non-conscious alteringeffects of proper dosing of methadone and buprenorphine. We encourage our patients to become familiar with brochuressuch as, ―The AA Member-Medications and Other Drugs‖ (page 5, point 3 states ―No AA Member Plays Doctor‖) andNA‘s ―In Times of Illness.‖ In that all our patients have doctor directed, highly researched and effective treatment, theycan meaningfully work the steps and participate as sponsors, sponsees, secretaries, treasures, greeters, coffee moni-tors, birthday chip presenters, etc. Hopefully more participation will occur in the future as these points are more generallyunderstood and accepted.INTERVIEWER: Is it always necessary to completely cut out contact with triggers for either relapse or increased self-criticism?DR. STENSON: A good offense is often related to having a good defense. It is important to take a careful inventory oftriggers and have an active plan to eliminate or avoid as many as possible. It is also important to understand that triggerscan be unexpected or even subconscious at times (a TV scene, an odor, a sound, etc) so impossible to completely cutout. I work to help individuals anticipate these likelihoods and have a craving coping strategy in place. This often in-cludes the reality that intense craving usually lasts about 10 minutes. By building a time frame, not only does cravingoften fade but the individual then acquires more impulse control skills and ability to think through the entire conse-quences should one give into craving. This becomes part of a process of re-sensitizing oneself to the enormous conse-quences of relapse, including the real possibility of accidental death.INTERVIEWER: What role does adding positive activities to your daily life play in recovery and increasing long-term rein-tegration into life?DR. STENSON: This important because the benefits are is often overlooked in treatment planning. With opioid addictionand mental illness, the reward mechanisms of the brain are often impaired, either as a consequence of the drugs ofabuse or underlying genetically determined causes. Developing or rekindling hobbies, interests, and related positive pur-suits assists the treatment therapeutic talk and medication interventions. Initially, the reward of mending a hold in a pairof pants or reading an article may not compare with the high of a drug, but over time, such positive activities grow inpleasure and become much more meaningfully integrated into long-term success.INTERVIEWER: With all the talk about the biological nature of addiction and mental health, can people still recover evenif a LOT of family members have long histories with addiction, mental health concerns, or both?DR. STENSON: Absolutely, especially if you define ‗recover‘ in a broader sense. A paraplegic may not ―recover‘ the abil-ity to walk but they certainly can ‗recover‘ a deeper appreciation of life, themselves, and lead a full life. The same anal-ogy can be applied to co-occurring disorders. Many times over the years, I have had patients who have come from theworse of genetic and social backgrounds share that they feel these have heightened their sense of meaning and appre-ciation of life. Sometimes overcoming or coping with the biggest adversities has the greatest rewards. A number of staff -persons over the years have emphasized this point and many become highly effective counselors.INTERVIEWER: If you were going to recommend a family member for treatment Continued on page 20
  7. 7. Reaching Across Stockton by Ron Risley, MDTake a walk along Stockton Boulevard. Head south from U Street, and on the right youll pass 2250 Stockton Blvd: theSacramento County Mental Health Treatment Center (affectionately known as SCMHTC). Keep heading south, past theCoca Cola bottling plant, and youll reach the UC Davis Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science. Its an attrac-tive but low-key building, also on the west side, nestled between a telephone company switching station and a La Boufast food restaurant.Now look east across Stockton and behold the monument to modern medicine that is the University of California, DavisMedical Center. The sprawling campus has it all: lush lawns, a rose garden, hospital towers, clinic buildings, parkingstructures, water fountains, the emergency room. Gurneys, elevators, operating rooms, MRIs. Theres radiology, burnmanagement, and surgery for everything from your eyes to your toenails. Theres internal medicine and family practice.You can get care for you liver, kidneys, stomach, intestines, colon, skin, lungs, heart, bones, muscles, nervous system,ears, nose, neck, spine, and reproductive organs. Oncology, neurology, nephrology, urology, pathology, cardiology, pul-monology, surgery, dermatology, ophthalmology, gynecology... it seems theres a clinic and hospital beds for everyimaginable medical problem... except mental health. For that, you have to cross Stockton. Psychiatrists are fully trainedand licensed medical doctors. They go to the same medical schools as other doctors, take the same medical board ex-ams. Yet, somehow, a year or two after graduating from medical school they pack up their MD degrees and cross Stock-ton to the mental health ghetto.The gulf between mental health and the rest of medicine might not always be as tangible as Stockton Boulevard, but thatgulf is there wherever health care is practiced. Insurance companies offer different benefits, limits, and co-payments formental health. Where the law prohibits that practice, they often farm out the "mental health benefit" to a different com-pany to manage it in a separate (but equal?) fashion. Imagine if your health insurance required you to use an entirelydifferent set of telephone numbers, forms, utilization reviewers, diagnostic codes, and procedures for a lung problem likeasthma than for a broken bone... and heaven help you if you get a rib fracture that affects your breathing! If youre a fam-ily physician, an internist, a radiologist, or a dermatologist you might practice in a fancy building with your name, creden-tials, and specialty emblazoned on a sign over your door.If youre a psychiatrist, youre more likely to be practicing in a nondescript office suite with discreet parking and minimalsignage. People hide their psychiatric medications and fear that, should they have the misfortune of having to go to theER for a medical emergency, they will get labeled a "psych case" and wont have their symptoms taken seriously. Youmight be "a schizophrenic" or "a borderline," but youll likely never be called "a colon cancer" or "a multiple sclerosis." Sowhats wrong with Stockton Boulevard? Is it really so bad to separate mental health from "real" medicine? Yes, it is. Thecombination of stigmatization and separate (but equal?) Jim Crow funding of mental health care makes it all too easy tosingle out a group whose public face is shunned by society. Use Google to search for "cancer care cuts" and you getabout two million hits. Perform the same search for "mental care cuts" and the figure climbs to over twenty-five million.The Stockton Boulevards of health care also directly affect the quality of care. Patients with psychiatric illness are usuallyseen many times by primary care physicians before being referred to a psychiatrist. Their diagnosis is often delayed be-cause primary care physicians -- who have trained and practiced east of Stockton -- dont always have ready familiaritywith the signs and symptoms of psychiatric disease. They might have a low threshold for consulting with or referring tothe cardiologist or orthopedist they had lunch with last week, but when they have to refer across Stockton they are con-fronted with an unfamiliar system of care and doctors whom they have never met. Psychiatrists often prescribe medica-tions with profound side effects such as weight gain, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Yet most psy-chiatrists cant easily reach across Stockton to ask a primary care or specialist colleague how to screen for, identify, andtreat those side effects. They often arent able to do much more than say "see your primary care doctor." Yet the primarycare doctor (if the patient has one) might not be aware of the implications of the medication. Would the consequences ofstopping the medication be worse than the consequences of high cholesterol? Those kinds of decisions require an inter-disciplinary approach thats hard to maintain across a busy four-lane street.Diabetes is a particularly telling case: psychiatrists often have greater access to patients, more time and experiencecommunicating with them, and a lot of insight into how the patient perceives their chronic illness and their own role inmanaging it. The psychiatrist might also have a much better understanding of the role that psychotropic medications playin causing or exacerbating diabetes, and what other options might be available. Yet it is left to the primary care physicianto do blood tests, prescribe medications, and educate a patient who might be seen as difficult or even frightening. Continued on page 9
  8. 8. Beyond diabetes there are psychiatric aspects of stroke, pain, substance abuse (particularly nicotine), asthma, heart disease, reproductive health, gastrointestinal illness, infectious disease, cancer, migraine... the list is huge. What can be done? Asking patients to cross Stockton Boulevard whenever they have a symptom or disease that affects both the mind and body will surely result in more than the occasional traf- fic accident. We need to move mental health out of the ghetto, re- establish good communication between mental health providers and the rest of the medical community, abolish insurance sys- tems that isolate and stigmatize mental health care, and integrate mind health into medical school and residency programs (and I dont mean the oh-god-I-have-to-do-a-psych-rotation system cur- rently in place). We have to reject the Cartesian fallacy that says that mind and body are separate: good medical care means treat- ing the whole person. Its time to abandon the boulevard. Dr. Risley is the first graduate of the combined residency program in family medicine and psychiatry at UCDavis. He is a former assistant clinical professor and physician diplomat at UCD. In addition to practicing psy- chiatry at TCORE, he integrates family medicine and psychiatry at Sacramento Medical Oasis, Inc(www.sacmedoasis.com). He lived for seven years on Sherman Way, just across the boulevard from UCDMC.Teenagers who call themselves Teens United "Teens for Teens by Teens" fromAraven Holistic Mind Institute (AHMI). See page 16 for a special interview with Dianne Ross, founder and CEO of AHMI.
  9. 9. How to Pick a Counselor or Therapist By Chelsea Bagias, Psy.D.The most important thing about choosing a counselor or But the more you thinktherapist is to find a situation where you feel comfortable, about this idea thesafe, and where there is potential for trust. Consistently more you will start tothe most important criteria for successful therapy is the fit see how it reflects thebetween the therapist and client. When you meet with way you want others tosomeone that you ―click with‖ you are more able to be treat you in general.honest with yourself and it‘s much easier to talk about any Some ideas include:topic.Finding the right fit involves two separate parts. One is Recognize how much you want to be listened to and howlooking for characteristics in the therapist that you feel will much you want the counselor to engage in the talking.be a good match for you. The second is looking at yourself Ask yourself if you want the therapist to be like a caringand how you want to go about treatment at this moment in parent or more direct and blunt.your life. Characteristics in the counselor or therapist Youshould feel comfortable asking the counselor about things Would you feel ignored if the counselor didn‘t suggest waysthat are important to you in working on your goals. These of solving your problem?can include: Do you want a therapist who talks about their own involve- ment with similar experience as yours or who keeps those Does the therapist have experience dealing with issues things out of the talk so they give you all of their attention? similar to the ones for which you want to enter treatment Most importantly- If you find a counselor who doesn‘t meet (diagnosis, ethnicity, financial) your interests, could they still help you if you stick it out a What does the counselor believe about potential out- little longer? comes of your current situation (i.e. cure, recovery, hap- pier life, medication forever). Always recognize that you can change topics, goals, or What other areas of life does the therapist think may help therapists as your life changes too. While it does take a to improve things? • Does the counselor offer any infor- while to build trust and feel comfortable talking about your mation on local resources (i.e. free relaxation classes, life to someone, remember that therapy and counseling ex- helpful self-improvement ideas, nutrition referrals). ists to help you with what you want to work on. Does your therapist give homework or other tools to use between sessions? Overall remember that you are paying for a service. Whether Does the counselor focus on happiness and increasing you pay out of pocket or your insurance covers your bill, you joy as well as the negative topics? deserve to be treated with the utmost respect, and to be fully involved in your treatment. If you feel that this is not happen- ing please bring it up with your therapist. First it may helpSome views on psychological treatment believe it is a mis- seeing the problem from a different angle, second it mighttake for the therapist to share personal information with a resolve the problem all together, and third why not get someclient. But you as a client can always judge the therapist extra practice working out problems with people. Rememberby how they explain this to you and whether in your gut that you are choosing someone to be in your life for a whileyou get a good feeling from the therapist. The thing to re- to help you get where you want to be.member is that even if the counselor does not answer yourquestion completely, you learn a lot about the person bythe way they respond to you. The therapist or counselor is trained to help point out certain things about your personality and life situation, but you areWhat do you want out of treatment? Most people start always the ultimate expert on you. No matter what has hap-therapy because they want to feel better about something pened in your life and no matter what will come, you deserve to have the best treatment you can find. So be involved andin their life. So knowing how you want your counselor to get ready to do some work so you can start enjoying lifetreat you may be the last thing on your mind. again.Author’s BioChelsea Bagias is a doctor of psychology currently collecting hours as a psychological assistant (PSB 36064and PSB 36074). She is supervised in a local private practice by Rosa Di Lorenzo Psy.D. (PSY 24148) and atC.O.R.E. Medical Clinic by Randall Stenson M.D. (G-25548). Chelsea has a passion for working with people ex-periencing intense challenges and believes all situations can find more peace and joy in life.
  10. 10. We Advocate For You! Sacramento County Office of Patients’ RightsYou may have heard of the Sacra- These are involuntary detainments that Questions asked could include:mento County Office of Patients’ mental health patients can be placedRights (SAC OPR) in some conver- on because the doctor feels that they Have you want to or tried to hurtsation or from a friend. You might could benefit from more inpatient treat- yourself or someone else?have used our services to help with a ment after a 5150 (72 hours) hold is Have you been taking your pre-hospitalization hearing or other issue. up. scribed medications?It is also possible that you‘ve never Have you been sleeping and eating?heard of the SAC OPR. If that‘s the The 5250 is a 14 day hold. The 5270 is How has your hygiene been?case, or you are unclear about what a 30 day hold. There are only three Have you been attending groups onwe do and the services we offer, keep reasons that a person could be put on the unit?reading and it will become clear. a 14 day hold (5250). The person hasIt is a part of Consumers Self-Help to be an active danger to others, dan- In short, they will want to know whatand is contracted with Sacramento ger to themselves or gravely disabled has changed for you since you firstand Yolo Counties to provide advo- due to a mental disorder. Grave dis- came to the hospital. All of this infor-cacy services to mental health clients. ability legally means not being able mation along with the doctors, nurses,The advocates perform four primary to care for one’s basic needs such and social workers notes in your chartservices. as food, clothing or shelter. will help the hearing officer decided whether or not to release you from the 1. They represent patients‘ A person might have access to these hold. During the hearing, your advo- ―expressed‖ wishes at Certification items but is unable to use them to take cate remains with you and shares the Review Hearings for patients invol- care of themselves. This condition is information you provided when he/she untarily held at psychiatric hospitals. the only one that can be used for a 30 interviewed you. 2. They investigate com- day hold (5270). Patients have a legal plaints/concerns about inpatient and right to have a hearing within the first If you are kept on the hold and remain outpatient mental health treatment. four days of either hold being written. at the hospital, your advocate can ar- 3. They monitor psychiatric and resi- The hearing officer determines if there range a writ hearing for you. This is the dential facilities for state law compli- is probable cause or good reason for second hearing you are legally entitled ance. the hold to continue. Your advocate‘s to and is an appeal of the first hearing. roll in the hearing process: The public defender then has about 2- 4. They provide trainings of Pa- 3 business days to come and discuss tients‘ Rights to staff and consum- Should you find yourself in a hospital, your case with you. Shortly after that, ers of mental health services. on a hold, you will receive a copy of the second hearing is held with aIf you‘re like most people, you‘re the 5250 or the 5270 hold you have judge, the public defender and your-probably wondering what, if anything, been placed on. Hospital staff may self. The advocates do not attendall that has to do with you. The an- also tell you what day your hearing is those hearings.swer is surprising simple. Everything! scheduled for. Each hearing takesAdvocates can teach staff how pa- about 15 to 20 minutes. These are Meet Your Advocates:tients have a right to be treated. They held in a conference or meeting roomcan observe and report to Community at the hospital > Karen – likes cats and enjoys play-Care Licensing how well a board and ing the violincare facility is being run. Helping peo- Your advocate will meet with you prior > George – likes birds and astronomyple solve problems with providers by to the hearing and discuss if you want > Marsha – a social worker with aproviding information and resources to stay for more treatment or attempt to great sense of humorabout their rights is another way advo- be discharged through the hearingcates make sure that consumers are > Lisa – mother of two grown sons process. If you want to stay and con- with Bi Polar Disordertreated fairly. tinue to work with your doctor, you > Rae – a therapist in training who en- need to do nothing else. You would joys helping peopleHospital Holds not be contesting the hold. > Angelina – enjoys volunteering andThe service that advocates spend the science fictionmost time on takes place in psychiat- If you want to leave against the doc-ric hospitals when patients are at their tor‘s advice, you would contest the Feel free to call us if you need helpmost vulnerable. hold and discuss with your advocate with a problem you may have in the why you feel you are ready to leave. mental health system. 916-333-3800 inAdvocates protect the rights of and Sacramento County 877-965-6772 in Commonly, the advocate will want torepresent the wishes of the patient Yolo County know how you have been doing overwho has been placed on a 5250 or a5270 hold. the past three days in the hospital. www.consumersselfhelp.org
  11. 11. New Directions by Thomas Hushen Service Coordinator-HRCA new year is upon us, and people are making New Years I like using a glue stick, Glue or Rubber cement.resolutions‖, however, they lose sight of them as they fade Before you begin your vision board:away after about a month or so! Is it possible to truly move in Make a little ritual before you begin your vision board. Sitnew directions that will lead us to the very life that we only quietly and set the intention of what direction in life you wantdream of? Yes it is! The secret is having a vision for your life to go. With lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself whatand keeping that vision alive on a daily basis. Think positively it is you really want. Images may come, words, emotionsand ask yourself, ―What is it that I really want my life to be‖? may come up. Just take a moment to be with those. This process makes it a deeper experience.Often we get so caught up in the search for ―wellness‖ that Now that you‘re ready…here are the ―directions‖we never really focus on our direction in life. We live in the Selectively flip through your magazines and tear imagespast, robbing ourselves of the present moment, which is all and phrases and words from pages, things that representwe really have. Often times, life stressors cause us to experi- the new direction you wish to go in. Next cut them and placeence increased depression, worry, anxiety, fear and many them into a pile. No gluing yet! Just let yourself have lots ofother symptoms that only serve to hold us back and keep us fun looking through magazines! Have fun with it.where we already are. By spending most of our time focusingon our problems, we lose ―sight‖ of our vision and direction in Go through the images and begin to lay your favorites onlife. As a result, we end up merely ―existing‖ rather than the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel are right.―living‖. This step is where your intuition comes in. As you lay the pictures on the board, you‘ll get a sense how the boardThe good news is that we can make a positive change in our should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a themelives! The key to this process is to ―take action‖. It means be- for different parts of the board (Health, Financial, Job, Sobri-ing honest and real with your self and being willing to em- ety, Spirituality, Relationships, for example).brace the changes that need to happen and view them as an Now, glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you―opportunity‖ rather than a ―challenge‖. In doing so, you can want. You can paint on it, or write words with markers. Beand will create the reality you desire! creative and as wild as you want it to be! Enjoy yourself!There is an project that can easily be done that will help you This next step is optional, but powerful: Leave space in theto go in new directions to create your life vision. It is an effec- very center of the vision board for a good photo of yourself.tive tool that many people have used to help facilitate the Paste your self in the center of your board.process of change in their lives. It‘s called a ―Vision Board‖. It Finally and most importantly, hang your finished visionis a creative, fun and inspiring way to help you get to where board in a place where you will see it everyday, perhaps inyou want to go! Here‘s how… the kitchen, bathroom or on the back of your front door. Look at it frequently. Keep the vision alive daily!Create a “Vision Board”What is a Vision Board? A vision board (also called a Treas- Each time you look at your vision board, it will remind you ofure Map) is typically poster boards on which you paste or col- the direction you want to go. And as ―your thoughts createlage images that you‘ve torn out from various magazines. It‘s your world‖, you will undoubtedly see your new life visionfun, simple and very inexpensive to make! begin to manifest in your life!The idea behind this is project is to surround yourself with Happy New Year, Happy New You! ~images of who you want to become, what you want to have "It takes a lot of courageand where you want to go in life. This project redirects your to release the familiar andmind from the past, and puts before you, a blank slate on seemingly secure, to em-which you can begin to redesign your life. I highly recom- brace the new. But theremend getting a group together to do this project, it‘s fun to is no real security in whatclip, cut, glue, paste and laugh, and yes, look at all the cata- is no longer meaningful.logs and fun things in them! Take your time and enjoy the There is more security inprocess. the adventurous and ex-Supplies you’ll need for creating a Vision Board: citing, for in movement- Poster board. (The Dollar Tree has a really nice variety of there is life, and inposter board in matte finish poster board) change there is power."- A big stack of magazines. Ask friends, family and others to ~Kjerrel Smith, PhDsupply you with magazines, catalogs etc. (Make sure you findlots of different types. If you limit your options, you‘ll lose in-terest after a while. Thomas Hushen is a Service Coordinator and- scissors to cut out your chosen pictures (you can also tearthem out, giving your masterpiece more texture). SacPort Instructor at Human Resource Consultants- Glue. Not Elmer‘s. (It makes the pages ripple.) (HRC) www.hrcrst.org
  12. 12. THE INFINITE LIFE PROJECT LLC Provides culturally diverse and culturally As a Continuing Education Provider-PCE #4980 we offerrelevant psychotherapy for adolescents, adults, indi- the following workshops:viduals, couples and groups (Breast cancer support) * Cultural Diversitydealing with depression, stress, domestic violence,trauma, and grief and loss. * Alcohol Tobacco and Other Drugs * School Community and Crisis As an effort to educate the community about * Managing Oppositional Defiancethe ever changing behaviors of the adolescent, The * The Pathways Training Program (Enhanced thinking and de-Infinite Life Project travels throughout California and cision-making for young men of color)other states presenting educational workshops. Ourworkshops are beneficial to families, students and * Adolescent Development in the 21st Centuryespecially school faculties. The workshops will pro-vide families and school faculty with valuable infor- For additional information or to schedule an appointmentmation and ways to communicate and resolve ado- contact Carmen Crenshaw at (916) 544-0502 or you can fax yourlescent issues before they have escalated. request to (916) 688-8603. Office hours by appointment only. Email: theinfinitelifeproject@yahoo.com For companies we offer cultural diversityworkshops for people of different backgrounds in the Website: www.theinfinitelifeproject.comworkplace who will participate in open and directconversation. Participants will learn the importanceof being conscious of those different from them ver-sus being ‗color-blind.‘ This workshop is for anyonein the workforce and other social settings. We alsooffer alcohol, tobacco and other drugs workshop forcompanies as well. Mailing address: P.O. Box 2758 Elk Grove Blvd, Elk Grove CA 95759. Physical address: 9008 Elk Grove Blvd #23 Elk Grove CA 95624www.sacpros.org is devoted to breakingdown the barriers which prevent access to mental health services by providingeasy access to available services in the community. www.sacpros.org
  13. 13. Sacramento Launches Mental Health Promotion Project to Reduce Stigma and DiscriminationMary Ann Bennett, Deputy Director Sacramento County Division of Behavioral Health ServicesWhen the issues of discrimination and stigma are discussed, it is generally in the context of race, gender, sex or age.Rarely is there a correlation to mental health.The numbers tell a different story. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in any given year, roughly one inevery four adults will experience a diagnosable mental health disorder, and nearly one out of every five children will ex-perience some degree of an emotional or behavioral difficulty. Even though it‘s a common occurrence, stigma and dis-crimination against persons living with mental illness and emotional disturbance are widespread and reach all facets ofsociety.Mental illness affects every ethnic, racial, cultural, economic and religious group and impacts individuals of all ages andgenders. In Sacramento County alone, it is estimated that nearly 355,000 residents are living with a mental illness, butresearch shows that only one-third of those individuals will seek professional help because of the stigma and discrimina-tion surrounding mental illness.According to a report by the California State Department of Mental Health, the “California Strategic Plan on ReducingMental Health Stigma and Discrimination,” stigma is defined as: ―attitudes and beliefs that lead people to reject, avoid, orfear those they perceive as being different. Discrimination occurs when people and entities act upon these attitudes andbeliefs in ways that can deprive others of their rights and life opportunities.‖People living with mental illness and emotional disturbance can experience discrimination in employment, education andhousing. Common misconceptions about mental illness range from perceiving all individuals with mental illness to bedangerous or violent to labeling mental illness as untreatable. And too often, representations of mental illness in the me-dia can be hurtful and inaccurate, and feed rather than fight the stigma surrounding mental illness.The discrimination that surrounds mental illness and emotional disturbance can result in despair, prejudice and hope-lessness. Just as harmful as societal stigma, self-stigma is estimated to deter between 50 and 60 percent of individualsliving with mental illness from seeking treatment, which can lead to serious consequences.According to a landmark 1999 United States Surgeon General Report, ―Stigma is the most formidable obstacle to pro-gress in the arena of mental illness and health.‖ People with mental health challenges often remark how stigma anddiscrimination against them can be even worse than their mental health condition.As part of its Mental Health Services Act initiative, the Sacramento County Department of Health and Human Services,Division of Behavioral Health Services will launch countywide efforts, with tailored messaging, to fundamentally alternegative attitudes and perceptions about mental illness and emotional disturbance. This work will underscore that men-tal health issues are not taboo and will promote resources and community supports available throughout the County tofoster hope and recovery.We are working with a comprehensive group of area stakeholders and an array of multicultural communities to help tellthe real-life stories of individuals and families living with a mental illness or serious emotional disturbance. By promotingpositive beliefs and attitudes about living with mental illness or serious emotional disturbance, the campaign will dispelharmful myths and stereotypes as it fosters hope, resiliency and recovery. Through the campaign we‘ll work to facilitatean ongoing discussion with the community regarding their thoughts, concerns, questions and messages of hope relatedto mental health issues.By changing attitudes and beliefs toward persons living with mental illnesses, we want to eliminate barriers to achievingfull inclusion in society, promote help-seeking behavior, and increase access to services to support individuals and fami-lies. If successful, not only will we have helped prevent future discrimination against those with mental health issues, butalso created an environment where families aren‘t afraid to discuss mood or anxiety disorders, and more than one thirdof individuals will make the phone call or walk through the clinic door to explore treatment. For more information aboutresources and services available in Sacramento County please call 2-1-1, TTY, (916) 446-1434.
  14. 14. Managing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by Gail Erlandson, M.A.Does your mood change with the seasons? Does the gloomy There are a variety of mind-body therapies that can provide relieffog of Sacramento coincide with gloomy thoughts and low en- from depression symptoms. I benefit from Gentle Yoga, some peo-ergy? ple really enjoy Massage, some folks find help through Meditation. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Self-Help Groups of many varie-There are two types of Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D.) to ties can be very beneficial to lifting our mood.be aware of: fall/winter onset S.A.D. and spring/summer onsetS.A.D. The fall/winter type, sometimes known as ―winter de- Groups that provide creative outlets in the arts are valuable to stay-pression,‖ is the most common. ing well when days are short or dim. Writing, drawing, painting, singing, dancing, poetry, and the performing arts are all possibili-The reduced level of sunlight in the winter can disrupt our body‘s ties.internal clock. Reduced sunlight can cause a drop in serotonin Visit Chic for Change, a Community Thrift Boutique at 2633 Elthat may cause depression. The loss of light can also disrupt the Camino Ave. in Sacramento that offers open mic for the Arts on thebalance of the natural hormone melatonin, which aids with sleep st 1 and 3rd Wed. of the month from 6 – 8 p.m. Enjoy the compan-and stability of mood. ionship of fellow artists and the opportunity to share a song, poem , or whatever creative, artistic expression you desire. Finding aWinter-onset seasonal affective disorder symptoms may include: venue for our creative energy is healing and fun and can get us outfeelings of hopelessness, social withdrawal, weight gain, over- of our winter funk.sleeping, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, and sometimes thecraving of foods high in carbohydrates. Some people try exposure to artificial light as a method of treating S.A.D. The process involves sitting or working near a ―light ther-It is normal to have some days when we feel the winter blues, apy box.‖ There may be some mild side effects, it is important tobut if we are experiencing some of the above symptoms for an talk to a medical professional before starting light therapy. Re-extended time, if we feel low and lethargic for three or more member, tanning beds are not a form of light therapy. It is alsoweeks, if we aren‘t enjoying the activities that we typically enjoy, important to remember to select a light therapy box that emits aswe may need to see a professional. If we are turning to alcohol little UV light as possible. Visit www.sltbr.org, produced by theor drugs to cope, it is especially important to see a doctor. society for light therapy, to find an interesting discussion on theSeasonal affective disorder is more common among folks who benefits of light therapy and the range of options.live far north or south of the equator. This is due to short days If symptoms are severe, some people with S.A.D benefit from anti-during the winter and long days in the summer months that dis- depressant medication. It is best to consult your psychiatrist for anrupt the biological clock. Here in Sacramento, we also have our explanation of such options. There are several herbal remediesshare of foggy, dark days. you may want to consider, but consult your doctor on these toTreatment for S.A.D. winter depression, is varied and can in- make sure they don‘t interfere with any other medications.clude: psychotherapy, group therapy, light therapy and/or medi- Omega-3 fatty acid supplements found in fish oil may help. Ac-cation Here are some practical suggestions to keep us healthy: cording to the Mayo Clinic website, ―Omega-3 fatty acid supple- ments may help relieve depression symptoms and have other*Experience the Outdoors: Even on cloudy, foggy days, out- health benefits.‖ Omega-3s are found in certain nuts and grains.door natural light does make a big difference. Take a walk in a Personally, I eat a sardine sandwich for my omega-3s ---- on ryepark, walk your dog, sit outside on a bench for lunch, meet a with onion, leaf lettuce and good mustard. (My Scandinavian heri-friend and walk, go to the river and walk, or walk before break- tage is showing).fast. If you are in an office, step outside for your morning andafternoon breaks. There are many possibilities for us to say Making a conscious effort to take good care of ourselves is key tohello to the Sun, even if it is hidden. Take an umbrella if it is mental health maintenance. It takes personal willingness and par-raining. Please, no excuses. During persistent spans of valley ticipation. Let‘s keep in the light and our thoughts clear!fog, take a trip up to apple hill or other foothill destination tosearch out some sun. * Create a Light-Filled Environment: For further reading see: www.mayoclinic.com/health/seasonal-open your drapes,open the blinds, trim tree branches that block affective-disordersunlight. Place yourself near windows and light when sitting. Gail Erlandson has a Master of Arts De-* Get Regular Exercise: There is strong evidence that exercise gree in Pastoral Min-changes our brain chemistry and helps us feel better. Try exer- istry from the Univer-cising with a friend. Try something new like Tai Chi or Gentle sity of San FranciscoYoga. Have you ever Cross Country Skied? All you need to and a Bachelor ofknow is how to walk and you can cross-country ski. Arts Degree from theTry Zumba for $3 at St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church in Oak University of PortlandPark (very fun), go swimming at your local YMCA, visit a gym, or in Interdisciplinarytake a hike at one of our local nature preserves. So you get my Studies.drift? There are endless options to naturally elevate our sero-tonin. Gail taught at Loretto* Connect with People who are Kind: Isolation can fuel de- High School forpression. Find people in your life who help you feel good about eleven years and hasyourself and life. Invite a friend to tea or find a group that you served on staff atenjoy. There are many therapeutic groups in the community to Loaves and Fishes.explore, some at no cost. Try the Art of Happiness group at the Gail is a mentor at theWellness and Recovery Center North and find ways to work with Wellness and Recov-your thoughts to stay healthy. ery Center North.
  15. 15. Interview with Dianne Ross, RN Founder and CEO of Araven Holistic Mind Institute (AHMI)Interviewer: What are the percentages in terms of Afri- At the core of the FBIM program is a holistic and bi-holisticcan-Americans being afflicted by mental illnesses being approaches. Holistic means that the program touches the fiveable to receive mental health services? aspects of a person‘s life to get at how mental illness has dis- rupted them emotionally, spiritually, physically, financially, andMs. Ross: I have not been able to find any current sta- mentally. Bi-holistic means that one‘s life (―bio‖) must betistics regarding how many African-Americans there are steered towards healthy inputs: good diet, good nutrition, goodwith diagnosed mental illnesses. Suicide rates and the exercise, good financial pursuits, and so on because a short-like exist. According to NAMI, the National Alliance on age in any area will hurt the other four life aspects.Mental Illness, the suicide rate compared between Afri-can-Americans and Caucasian teens shows that African I believe that small, incremental steps to health-ness in each-American suicide is more than twice as frequent as that area are vital. Encouragement is vital too becausewith Caucasian teens. ―backsliding‖ is the mental health problem that is human na- ture and inevitable. The focus aspect of this program is de-As a result of the lack of statistical information on mental signed to get the person to examine their role in the crisis thatillnesses in the African-American or Black community, recently afflicted them.Araven Holistic Mind Institute (AHMI) surveys peopleduring all of our functions to get ethnicity, age, gender, Also, I instruct participants on how their brains function, espe-anecdotal, diagnosed and suspected information on inci- cially how the chemicals in the brain affect their feelings,dences of mental illnesses in our community. moods, thoughts, actions, physically and so forth. Learning about establishing good brain chemistry behaviors is a veryInterviewer: How did you get involved in helping people important aspect of the FBIM program.with mental health challenges?Ms. Ross: My own personal experience. In 1992, I was I teach about how sleep cycles, fight or flight syndrome, dopa-diagnosed with Bipolar I disorder I was a charge nurse mine a brain chemical or hormone ―neuron‖ transmission activ-at Kaiser (South) Hospital in Sacramento, Ca. I could ity and its effects on various mental illnesses. Lastly, I‘ve beennot sleep and experienced odd behavior. I was hospital- teaching about how important it is for a person experiencingized and declared 5150, a danger to myself and others. mental health challenges to ask for help from a loved one in addition to professional help from a therapist or psychiatristI was referred to support groups but I could not identify who is a medical doctor trained to deal with and prescribewith them because there were no African-Americans medications.peers in my groups. Blacks sometimes appeared in hos-pital group settings but not in significant numbers. NAMI As you can tell from the above, teachings active participationoffered peer-to-peer, but no long term groups material- is vital to our program. I believe healing is a personal state ofized. So, I was in a cycle: hospitalized, released, doing mind a person must reach as much as outside inputswell, going to support groups and feeling uncomfortable, (medication, therapy and information) in bringing about recov-relapsing, and starting over. I learned how to recognize ery.triggers but not how to manage my illness and be pro- Interviewer: So what I hear you saying is that the differenceductively functional in society. These events inspired with Araven is that you offer long-term support groups?me to start AHMI in January, 2009 Araven is a non-profitIRS 501(c) (3) public benefit, tax donation Deductible Ms. Ross: No. We do not do support groups. We focus onCorporation. educating the individual on the mental illness and on the things that triggered it: internal and external. The thing thatInterviewer: What are some of the holistic approaches came out of my experiences is that personal education at leastthat you have used to help people in the process of re- for me is the key to personal change and illness management.covery and wellness? At Araven, we provide brochures, PowerPoint presentationsMs. Ross: I believe in traditional and non-traditional via a Speakers and conferences once a year. Araven hosts amethods of addressing mental health issues? I also be- concert where teens are involved. The teens also put on skitslieve that if you need and have been prescribed medica- where they act out mental illness behaviors to educate thetion you should take it! I take medication so I am a audience. We call it ―edutainment‖ because it does both: edu-strong advocate for taking ―meds‖. If someone has cate and entertain.stopped taking their medication, I try to find out why and Interviewer: Do you refer people to support groups? How areaddress this situation. people referred to your agency?One of AHMI‘s programs is the Focus Believing Individ- Ms. Ross: We are listed in the telephone book and we workual Model (FBIM). Here, participants actively learn with community and faith-based leaders. We get referralsabout their particular mental illness and receive one-on- from pastors; we advertise and attend functions dealing withone education and input. mental illnesses and learning disabilities and by the word of mouth method.We want them to focus on the causes of their illness andunderstand their role in resolving the issue. Interviewer: What is the criterion to receive services from Araven?
  16. 16. Ms. Ross: A person must be 13 years of age or older. I provide In our community, it is my experience that our peopleservices to teens and adults. I do an intake assessment ses- generally will go to their preacher first when a mentalsion. I do not diagnose but I ascertain what the needs of the health issue arises before presenting to a doctor orperson, I provide information on how a participant can get a other specialist with special training to deal with it. As Idiagnosis. I work with the African-American Mental Health Pro- said, I believe in a holistic approach to treating mentalviders and other mental health providers such as Western Si- illness, so while going to the preacher is fine, it iserra Psychiatric Associates. finnier if the person sees a mental health person, too.Essentially, we believe that knowledge is power. Participants If a person is considering suicide, church prayer isreceive homework assignments because active participation great, but a global outreach, medication, one-on-one,involves them in their recovery which is good for their mental other professional help puts the person in the best po-health. We educate their families as well as a case-by-case sition to be helped.basis. When others become involved they will become edu-Interviewer: How many families are being assisted by your cated on how to identify possible mental health symp-agency at this time? toms. AHMI can help as the person gets spiritual helpMs. Ross: We have educated over 2,000 people directly from the pastor, church and congregation. AHMI willthrough our ―edu-tainment‖ programs. In this way we reach the help with the mental health issue and organize a holis-community on a broad scale to increase awareness of mental tic approach to education and healing. This approachillness in the community to remove the resistance many have has been utilized in the midst of the AIDs crisis in theagainst it as a health problem. 80‘s – 2000‘s so we can use it in the mental health field.Interviewer: Your website mentions your interaction with teens.How do you specifically engage the teen population? Knowledge is power. Applied knowledge is power in action. The more we help our people who are mentallyMs. Ross: We work with about 15 teens and have formed a 6 challenged (and not just regard some behaviors asor 7 member board. We also have teen volunteers and they ―just weird‖ or ―Dianne being Dianne‖) the healthier andcome up with unique ways of reaching other teens. We receive higher functioning our community will be. Then, peoplereferrals from teens. The board has its own mission statement with mental illnesses will not just be on SSI for the restwith is ―You Are Not Alone.‖ They participate in community out- of their lives, unproductive, just statistics, numbers, andreach and fundraisers such as car washes. They also have not just uncounted folks with mental disorders. They―peer-to-peer‖ meeting‘s where they are paired up with other will be helping feed the homeless and do other benefi-teens, not as counselors, but as mutual sharing partners who cial works.have experienced similar issues so they discuss issues likedepression, school challenges, family stress, dating and so We are all in this together. We believe a holistic ap-forth. They are encouraged to do their homework, develop proach is best for addressing our issue that negativelypositive goals, attend social events together and [touch base affects people – mental illness – in a holistic way: emo-with me if an issue is of seriousness concern to them]. We cur- tionally, spiritually, physically, financially and mentally.rently have teens who attend three major high schools in Sac- Our goal is for people to live healthy, holistic lives soramento and Elk Grove, Kennedy High, Sacramento High, and their whole lives reflect good health. Accordingly, weValley High. All of their activities are overseen by adults. We address mental health challenges and learning disabili-are really proud of what our teens are doing. ties with all the holistic tools we have available.Interviewer: What would you like the community to know most Dianne Ross, RNabout AHMI?Ms. Ross: Number 1, that we are here to help. We would like Ms. Dianne Ross, RN,for more business and community professionals to get involved is the founder andin helping us get the word out. [Mental health issues are real CEO of AHMI. Whilehealth matters like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure she teaches and in-and cancer is and it is time we address them openly and with- spires others on howout shame.] to successfully man- age their mental ill-We would like for more community involvement to become part nesses, Ms. Rossof our mission to educate, enlighten, enrich, and inform thegeneral population. We serve everyone however, my life and also leads by example as she also positively managesexperience as an African-American and my similar life experi- her own mental illness.ence with other African-Americans makes me uniquely qualified Please visit www.ahmi4u.org for more information onto work with similarly situated persons. the Araven Holistic Mind Institute.Interview was conducted by Ann Adams for the Empowerment Magazine.Anne is currently working part time as a volunteer receptionist at the Wellness and Recover Center onMarconi Avenue. She has served as a board member and residential leader for the Sacramento Mu-tual Housing Association. She has worked for 15 years in Law Enforcement agencies at the state andcounty levels and also has 4 years of working with children with learning disabilities.
  17. 17. What You Can Do To Speed Up Your Disability Application By Rosario M Ramirez Social Security Public Affairs Specialist for the Northern AreaIf your disabling condition is preventing you from continuing to work, you may want to apply for disability benefits throughSocial Security. In most cases, doing so involves a thorough process of determining your eligibility, medical condition,and ability to work. Because we look so carefully at so many cases — more than three million each year — it can take usthree to five months to determine whether you are eligible.Processing times on that initial claim can vary depending on several factors, but primarily on: the nature of your disabil-ity; how quickly we obtain medical evidence from your doctor or other medical sources; and whether we need to sendyou for a medical examination in order to obtain evidence to support your claim.There are things you can do to help speed up the process. The more information you provide up front, the less timeit will take us to obtain the evidence we need — and the faster your claim can be processed. What type of information dowe need?Any medical records or documentation you have is helpful. We can make copies of the records you have and return youroriginals; the names, addresses, and phone numbers for any doctors, medical facilities, treatment centers, or providersrelated to your disabling condition;The names, addresses, and phone numbers for previous employers and the dates worked for each employer; workers‘compensation information, including the settlement agreement, date of injury, claim number, and proof of other disabilitybenefits awarded;Names and dates of birth of your minor children and your spouse;Dates of marriages and divorces (if any); Checking or savings account number, and the bank‘s 9-digit routing number, sowe can deposit your payment electronically;Name, address, and phone number of a person we can contact if we are unable to get in touch with you.If this disability application is for a child, we need the name, address, phone number of the schools attended and anyschool records you can provide.We also ask you to sign release forms that give us permission to obtain the information needed from third parties tomake a decision on your claim.The best place to start is online at www.socialsecurity.gov/disability. Select ―Disability Starter Kit‖ in the left column.There, you‘ll find more information and starter kits for both adults and children.You can apply online for disability benefits (the easiest method), or you can make an appointment by phone or in a So-cial Security office. The choice is yours. (For Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability benefits, you cannot applyonline, but you still can complete the Disability Starter Kit to prepare for the interview and speed-up the processing time.)If you‘re considering an application for disability benefits, the place to go is www.socialsecurity.gov/disability.DID YOU KNOW THAT?About one in five adults (ages 18 and older) has a diagnosable mental disorder. (National Institute of Mental Health) www.samhsa.gov
  18. 18. Minestrone Soup by Chris Woodyard Prep time 25 mins. Cook time 45 mins.Minestrone soup 1 ½ cups diced carrot 1 ½ cups sliced celery 1 ½ cup chopped onion 2 cloves garlic crushed 3 tablespoons Olive oil 1 (28 ounce) can of diced tomatoes, not drained 1 ½ tablespoons of Italian blend seasoning (marjoram, thyme, rosemary, savory sage, oregano, and basil) 3 teaspoons kosher salt 2 teaspoons of seasoned black pepper 3 (14 ounce) cans of beef broth or 1 ½ (32 ounce) stock ½ pound of ground turkey brown 1 (15 ounce) can of navy beans rinsed & drained 1 (15 ounce) can of red kidney beans rinsed & drained 1 cup of uncooked elbow macaroni ½ cup of chopped fresh parsley or fresh basil Freshly grated parmesan cheese (optional) Chris Woodyard graduated from the school of Health Sciences in 1981 in Wichita Falls Texas on SheppardSauté ground turkey with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, season AFB, as a Psychiatric Technician. He worked as a Crisiswith 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of seasonedblack pepper until crumble and brown drain and set aside. Counselor & Crisis Case Manager at Solano County Mental Health for 13 years. Shortly thereafter, ChrisSauté first 4 ingredients in Dutch oven over medium-high moved to Sacramento and worked with adults with Co-heat 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until vegetables Occurring disorders in Private and Non-Profit agenciesare crisp tender. for the past 13 years. He attended The Breining InstituteAdd tomatoes, Italian seasoning blend, remaining salt and in 2004 and graduated as a Certified Alcohol & Drugpepper, bring to boil, cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 min- Counselor. Chris is presently working at CORE Medicalutes stirring occasionally. clinic as a Mental Health Counselor and BuprenorphineStir in beef stock, turkey, beans and macaroni. Bring to a Program Supervisor. Eventually Chris would like to openboil, cover, simmer 15 minutes or until macaroni is tender, his own restaurant and provide healthy, tasty nutritionalserve with chopped parsley or fresh chopped basil and meals such as Chris‘s Minestrone Soup. Enjoy!grated parmesan cheese. Yields: 14 cupsMary Jo’s Revised French Chocolate Cake Now you can have your cake and eat it too! 1 cup organic unsalted butter (or) ½ cup with ¼ cup Beat eggs/substitute and sugar until blended and begins Wonderslim (fat substitute) to thicken. 5 large organic eggs (or) 1 ¼ cup egg substitute Sift flour and baking power over eggs and fold in. Gradu- 1 ¼ cups Xylodal; sugar - available in bulk in health ally fold in chocolate mixture. food stores Transfer into pan. 5 Tbsp‘s of flour (or) 5 Tbsp‘s of almond flour Bake 20 minutes - - - then cover pan with foil. Bake until 1 ½ tsp balking power tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs 8 to 10 oz‘s of bittersweet 85% chocolate still attached; approximately 45 minutes longer, depend-Preheat oven to 325 degrees. ing on pan size.Butter and flour 10 inch spring form pan. Uncover, cool in pan on rack. Cake will fall. Can be pre-Stir chocolate and butter in heavy medium sauce pan pared a day before. Dust with powder sugar. Serve withover low heat till melted and smooth. a dollop of low sugar whipped cream. ENJOY! Fall 2011 19
  19. 19. Continued from page 7 what are some of the things you would want to assess or identify before you start?DR. STENSON: A simplistic answer would be to start with the most urgent issues (i.e. suicide or homicide risk) andmove to other symptoms or behaviors that are creating distress, serious problems, or role functioning interference. It isimportant to have a sense of the individual‘s insight, motivation, and exposure to previous treatment. Substance abuseoften includes a high degree of denial and may require an intervention with loved ones or persons most involved andaffected by the family member‘s disorder.INTERVIEWER: If someone has no insurance or lacks adequate coverage will that rule them out of successful recovery?DR. STENSON: The ingredients to ―successful recovery‖ are sometimes mysterious and hard to define. Many timersover the years, I have recommended to a patient, friend, family member, etc to attend 7 to 14 meetings a week for AA orNA, which costs nothing. With mental illness, participation in local NAMI meetings is open and free. Being in the pres-ence of others who are dealing with similar problems who are motivated to help themselves and others often leads tosuccessful recovery.INTERVIEWER: What is the most influential character trait among individuals who maintain long-term recovery whilealso having happy lives?DR. STENSON: Perseverance and an ability to stick with a tough challenge certainly help when one is dealing with thedifficulty illness of addiction. I also like to remind patients that channeling or redirecting their inner rebelliousness canalso be very helpful. Often times, this characteristic relates to a sense of not being heard or understood. In the presenceof others that do listen and understand, this characteristic can become a positive energy used to achieve long-term re-covery and living a rewarding, happy lifeINTERVIEWER: If I‘ve had multiple relapses, will I ever be able to find the right combination that will work for me?Some of the patients who have had the most meaningful and rich recoveries were our most difficult patients, with manyrelapses or persistence of drug abuse patterns. I preach often to not make prognostications as one never knows whenthe light will go on and the right combination occurs that facilitates recovery. Many, many individuals with long-term suc-cessful recovery had many relapses prior to their more lasting recovery.DR. STENSON: Ignorance and lack of good knowledge is the biggest danger. Often the most impaired individuals knowat some level that they need help and are not completely hopeless. They often are very sensitive to insincerity or lack ofknowledge and can easily be turned off when being helped by someone not knowledgeable of the unique challenges ofsubstance abuse and mental illness.INTERVIEWER: What are good ways to prepare for the changes that may occur after I have made needed changes tosupport my recovery?DR. STENSON: Change is hard for human beings, including all the people that are connected to the individual. Onemust prepare for the reality that others may want to, need to or unconsciously stress the recovering individual by havinga hard time adjusting to a new, recovering person. One may find out who their real friend are. It can be a lonely journeyat times, especially if not connected with healthy supports. Sometimes a person who is viewed as a ―black sheep,‖ maycontinue to be treated that way even though they are working hard, making positive changes, and doing well in their re-covery. Many humans feel better about themselves when someone close to them is the identified problem. When theperson with the identified problem improves, others may be forced to look more honestly with themselves an have a hardtime doing that. Have a toolkit of stress reducers or stress coping devices. Such things as relaxation breathing exercises,physical exercise, hobbies, special interests, trustworthy and supportive friends, etc all become important considerationsin preparing for the changes.Dr. Stenson graduated from the first class of the UC Davis school of medicine. After being awarded a Re-gent‘s Scholarship as both a UCD undergraduate and medical student, he completed his residency training inpsychiatry at the UC program affiliated with the Sacramento Medical Center, where he was also the chief resi-dent. He served 2 years in the Air Force under the Berry Plan, directing both an outpatient and alcohol pro-gram at Sheppard AFB. His subsequent professional career has been primarily related to community mentalhealth and substance abuse. He was the medical director of San Joaquin County Mental Health between1984-2006. He is the owner and medical director of C.O.R.E. Medical Clinic, located at 2100 Capitol Ave inSacramento, which treats individuals suffering from opioid addiction. Dr. Stenson conducts a monthly work-shop on opioid addiction the third Wednesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. at the clinic which is open to any-one interested in learning more about opioid addiction and treatment.
  20. 20. Continued from pageChelsea Bagias is a doctor of psychology currently collecting hours as a psychological as-sistant (PSB 36064 and PSB 36074). She is supervised in a local private practice by RosaDi Lorenzo Psy.D. (PSY 24148) and at C.O.R.E. Medical Clinic by Randall Stenson M.D.(G-25548). Chelsea has a passion for working with people experiencing intense challengesand believes all situations can find more peace and joy in life.Chris Woodyard graduated from the school of Health Sciences in 1981 in Wichita FallsTexas on Sheppard AFB, as a Psychiatric Technician. He worked as a Crisis Counselor &Crisis Case Manager at Solano County Mental Health for 13 years. Shortly thereafter, Chrismoved to Sacramento and worked with adults with Co-Occurring disorders in Private andNon-Profit agencies for the past 13 years. He attended The Breining Institute in 2004 andgraduated as a Certified Alcohol & Drug Counselor. Chris is presently working at COREMedical clinic as a Mental Health Counselor and Buprenorphine Program Supervisor. Even-tually Chris would like to open his own restaurant and provide healthy, tasty nutritionalmeals such as Chris‘s Minestrone Soup. ,
  21. 21. NewUSimmigrants.com is a comprehensive,easy-to-use immigration web site that provides an extensive directory of resources to help connect new immigrants with available services and resources in their communities.