Ringing in the New Year With a New Perspective

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network embraces new CEO and Executive Director Joan DiMaria

Englewood, CO – The Board of Directors of Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network announced the appointment of Joan DiMaria, MSN, CAC III, as the new executive director and chief executive officer of the local non-profit organization.

“It is an honor and privilege to lead this organization through one of the most exciting and challenging times we have ever seen in health care. I am truly committed to our mission and to the people and the community that we serve.” Joan DiMaria, MSN, CACIII, newly appointed Executive Director & CEO, announced to her staff earlier this month.

DiMaria brings a wealth of knowledge and experience – over 33 years in the field – to this position.  Her work as a psychiatric nurse brought her to Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network in 1990, and she quickly rose to become program manager, clinical director and deputy director thereafter.  Appointed as chief operations officer in 2006, DiMaria led the implementation of the current strategic plan, and led the charge of opening the pharmacy, planning and implementing the Mental Health Court, creating the Bridge House Acute Treatment Unit, and planning the Be Well Primary Care Clinic.

Through her experience, knowledge, commitment, and resilience, DiMaria has displayed the leadership qualities and dedication needed to boldly take the organization forward.  Board Chair Todd Helvig, PhD stated, “Joan is accomplished, skilled and dedicated, and articulates a vision for the future of the organization that inspires us all. We are excited about working with her, and are eager to start this new chapter for Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network!”

The Board Selection Committee hailed local involvement from Todd Helvig, Kelli Kane, ‘Nita Brown, Carla Vellos, and José Reyes – who led the CEO search and reviewed the many candidates who applied from Colorado and across the country.

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive health care specializing in mental health primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau. Visit us at www.admhn.org.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network kicks off their expansion of services in Parker with an evening devoted to “Raising Spirits” at the PACE Center.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network kicks off their expansion of services in Parker with an evening devoted to “Raising Spirits” at the PACE Center.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network opened its new location at 10350 S Dransfeldt Rd in Parker on Tuesday, September 4, expanding services available to residents of the surrounding community. With the 8th Annual Raising Spirits Wine Tasting & Auction just around the corner, development director Carolyn Moershel thought what better way to celebrate our dedication to this community than to host our fall fundraiser at the recently constructed PACE Center in Parker!

“The town of Parker opened its arms to our organization,” said Moershel. “We’d like to reciprocate by kicking off the fall season with a dynamic event bringing the community together at a beautiful and local venue in support of a good cause.”

The evening of October 4th marks Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 8th Annual Raising Spirits Wine Tasting & Auction. The lively event offers dozens of domestic and imported wines, seasonal cuisine and friendly, yet competitive bidding on unique and practical auction items. The silent auction will open at 5:30 p.m., capped by a live auction at 7:00pm. Debbie Stafford, an involved legislator of Colorado, will lead the live auction portion of the evening driven by her passion for nonprofit fundraising and her past experience as a domestic violence counselor. The evening of festivities, all set to the backdrop of the modern architecture and creative ambience of the Parker Arts, Culture & Events Center, will conclude with the last tunes of Peneplain Jazz Trio at 8:30 p.m.

The supporters of Raising Spirits Wine Tasting & Auction help elevate the lives of people living with mental illness by funding services for members of Arapahoe and Douglas counties with low incomes and without insurance. Over 75 local businesses and individual donors invest in the cause. Citywide Banks, Colorado Community Media and Lukas Liquor Superstore stepped up this year as presenting sponsors for the event, with many other organizations donating time, services and money to supply unique auction items. Of these items up for sale, a foursome of golf with Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s CEO Scott Thoemke headlines the live auction alongside sailing lessons on the Chatfield Reservoir provided by advisory director to the board John Phillips. Up for grabs in the silent auction, a membership to the Wildlife Experience, brunch for two at the Brown Palace, and themed gift baskets will start at lower than face value opening bids.

The event will be held in the Art Gallery, Event Room and West Terrace of the PACE Center located at 20000 Pikes Peak Avenue in Parker from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, October 4, 2012. Registrations are processed prior to the event online at www.blacktie-colorado.com/rsvp with event code: raisingspirits104 or via telephone at (303) 779-9676. The event cost of $50 includes ten different wine tasting stations, sumptuous fare, live jazz, a beautiful venue, and the opportunity to purchase unique auction items, all the while supporting a good cause.

“The mission of the Parker Arts, Culture and Events Center is to provide a gathering space in downtown Parker that serves to enhance the cultural and economic vitality of our community,” notes Moershel. “We’re thrilled to honor the PACE Center’s mission while carrying out our own by continuously expanding professional, comprehensive, culturally inclusive and fully integrated mental health and substance abuse services to meet the needs of the community. It is through our services, funds raised at our events, and the support of our community that create opportunities that empower people to recover and to improve their quality of life while promoting public acceptance of mental illness.”

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit 501 © (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.  We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy.  We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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Walmart’s new Neighborhood Market grants funding to Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s Be Well Primary Care Clinic

Littleton, CO – Jennifer Plant, manager of Walmart’s new Neighborhood Market in Littleton will present a check to Joan DiMaria, Chief Operating Officer of Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to provide funding for medical lab tests to low-income, underinsured and uninsured mental health clients. The check will be presented at the grand opening celebration of the new Neighboorhood Market located at 3615 W. Bowles Avenue on Friday, June 29, 2012 at 7:00am.

Research shows that people with severe mental illness die an average of 25 years earlier than the general population, largely due to medical conditions. Symptoms of severe mental illness often interfere with an individual’s ability to access primary care, and primary care practices may be inexperienced in working with this population. Plus, psychiatric medications can aggravate or trigger medical conditions.

The Be Well Primary Care Clinic, started in 2011 with a Colorado Health Foundation grant, helps solve these problems. Located at our adult outpatient facility on Sycamore Street in Littleton, the clinic is a fully equipped exam room and office staffed by a nurse practitioner with prescriptive authority and a medical assistant providing primary health care to our adult clients who do not have a primary care physician, particularly clients with severe mental illness. The medical staff works closely with the mental health staff for fully coordinated care.

Diagnostic lab work is the gateway to detecting the presence and severity of, and treating, chronic and life threatening medical conditions such as diabetes, high cholesterol, or thyroid function, and to monitoring the physical side effects and complications of psychiatric medications. More often than not, the cost is prohibitive for people with low incomes and no insurance.

This Walmart grant of $1,000 will provide initial labs for approximately 110 low income, uninsured or underinsured clients.

Walmart’s Neighborhood Market also joins forces with Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s Center Point program as an employment partner. It is often difficult for someone with a mental illness to locate and maintain employment but Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is committed to being a full community mental health provider, and that includes helping our clients get back to work, now with the help and partnership of Walmart’s Neighborhood Market.

Walmart’s newest Walmart Neighborhood Market will open Friday, June 29, in Littleton, introducing a new kind of Walmart store to Colorado and providing convenient shopping for local residents. The store, located at 3615 W. Bowles Ave., will celebrate its grand opening at 7:00am Friday morning, June 29, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony where a donation check will be presented to Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network as a local partner.

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive health care that specializes in mental health primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau. Visit us at www.admhn.org.

 

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The Thief that Steals Motherhood

By Elena Davis, LCSW; Therapist, Turning Points, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Pregnancy and motherhood bring images of idyllic, glowing, bonding mother-baby moments, beginning with a sweet hand on a ripe, full belly and culminating in close ups of those sweet little fingers and toes being kissed and coddled. We picture bright-eyed, cooing babies and long touching conversations with fellow moms, and a general outpouring of community support and rejoicing at the miracle of birth and the joy of motherhood. The general expectation out there is that mothers should know how to negotiate multiple challenges and tasks with poise, grace, and selfless dedication to their dear swaddled newborn.

When the reality of a difficult or traumatic birth, delayed healing, sleepless nights, a screaming baby, and the biological slap of hormonal changes all occur, it is no wonder that 50-80% of mothers experience so called “baby blues” in the first two weeks postpartum. During those initial two weeks, it is more common than not that the new mom will experience vacillating periods of anger, sadness, restlessness, mood swings, fatigue, crying, and feeling s of inadequacy.

Furthermore, what about the women whose symptoms persist and/or worsen as time goes by? What happens when the physical exhaustion, isolation, and overwhelming strains do not resolve? Indeed, one in four women will continue to experience some form of postpartum depression or anxiety beyond those two weeks as they adjust to the overwhelming demands of motherhood. When “baby blues” extend beyond the two week period, it’s time to seek help.

Postpartum Depression (PPD) occurs in 10-20% of women, and despite being highly treatable, often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Spouses are often the first ones to notice that something is amiss, yet many times they are unsure what can be done or how to help. In addition, they are at risk themselves to fall into depression as they try to muddle through the demands of being a new parent.

Research shows that spouses of women with PPD commonly experience increased depression, increased overall stress, and decreased role satisfaction. Research also shows that babies of mothers with PPD are at increased risk for developmental delays and emotional challenges, if PPD is left untreated. For women who have experienced PPD in the past, the likelihood of it reoccurring increases for all future pregnancies. On the outside, women with PPD may seem very “overwhelmed” and/or “anxious.” Symptoms of PPD include:

  • Frequent crying spells
  • Feelings of sadness, anxiety, worthlessness, hopelessness
  • Difficulty concentrating and remembering things
  • Emotional numbness, feeling of being trapped
  • Lack of energy
  • Emotional withdrawal from family, friends
  • Excessive concern (or lack of concern) for the baby
  • Thoughts of (or fear of) hurting self or baby
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in things previously enjoyed

Many women are afraid to share how they are feeling due to a sense of shame, guilt, and/or fear. In addition, there is tremendous stigma related to talking about PPD , which is confounded by media portrayal of violent, out-of control women whose distorted thinking led to horrific cases of infanticide and/or suicide. Thankfully, postpartum Psychosis is extremely rare, occurring in less than .1% of women. When a woman has thoughts of harming her child or herself, it can feel devastating and yet the fact that it feels so alarming is an indicator that the mother is firmly connected with reality and is not likely to act on such thoughts.

As women struggle in the grips of PPD, common thoughts are: “this isn’t what I expected” and “it’s not supposed to be this way.” Rather than recognizing the experience as PPD, many women are likely to blame themselves for their feelings and to become more despondent and disconnected in their shame and guilt. It is hard for someone in the throes of PPD to be able to recognize what is happening to them and to try to assert control. This is the role for husbands, partners, friends, and family members – all of whom are key in helping connect mothers with PPD support and treatment. Although PPD is one of the most treatable forms of depression, the sad reality is that so often woman do not seek treatment themselves and their support system is ill-equipped to make the necessary intervention.

Treatment for PPD is generally a combination of talk therapy and medication. Mother-baby groups can also be a helpful component of the recovery process. Talk therapy helps recognize and correct distorted thinking patterns, find tools and resources to help increase coping skills and build support systems, and engage partners, friends, and family members in the recovery process. Because a large component of PPD is biochemical, antidepressant medications are often key to help regulate brain chemistry to help women recover and regain emotional stability.

Specialized mother-baby dyad groups can help to increase bonding and attachment and spur development of a healthy, non-anxious mother-baby attachment. Mothers groups in the community can also be helpful to normalize experiences, promote bonding, and create supportive friendships. Research, however, does not confirm that attendance at social groups alone is sufficient to decrease the symptoms of PPD. Anecdotally, women who attend such groups sometimes report increased feelings of isolation and despair after attending groups, especially when conversations stay at a superficial level and/or there is a general presentation of women in the group easily mastering the tasks of motherhood.

It takes a community to come together for new mothers. Understanding how to recognize signs of PPD and knowing how to help treatment is essential. The following local and international resources are a good place to get started if you or someone you care about is struggling with postpartum depression or anxiety:

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network – www.admhn.org
To meet the needs of mothers in the community, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is partnering with the Healthy Expectations program at Children’s Hospital to launch a new, comprehensive Mother/Babies Support Group. For more information, contact Terri James-Banks , LCSW at 303-999-2300.

Postpartum Support Internationalwww.postpartum.net

A Mother’s Wings (a program of Mental Health America of Colorado)www.mhacolorado.org

Sweet Beginningswww.oursweetbeginnings.com

Mothers of Preschoolerswww.mops.org

Colorado Mountain Mamaswww.comountainmamas.com

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Multiple Intelligences – Each Unique, Each Important

By Alyce Duckworth; LCSW and therapist at Turning Points, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

A wise person once said, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The quote, a subject of debate as to its origin, is believed to be over 80 years old. As a nation, however, we are only just beginning to fully understand and implement the paradigm behind the observation, that there are a variety of equally valid ways of learning and, accordingly, many forms of intelligence.

The concept itself is known as Multiple Intelligences Theory and was originally coined by Howard Gardner in his 1983 book, Frames of Mind. In it, he posits that people exhibit at least 7 different types of intelligence that indicate modes of learning; Linguistic, Mathematical, Visual/Spatial, Body/Kinesthetic, Musical, Interpersonal and Intrapersonal. In actuality, Howard Gardner himself was born cross-eyed, nearsighted, color blind, unable to recognize faces, and lacking binocular vision. Nevertheless, he worked his way through the U.S. educational system of the 1940’s and 50’s, one that was not particularly accepting of differences in abilities. He is currently a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and a repeatedly published author.

Prior to Gardner’s discussion of multiple intelligences, a person’s intelligence was thought to be measured in only one way: the student’s ability or inability to sit still, listen to one person lecturing at length, and recall memorized material on a test.

In October of 1990 the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was signed into federal law, codifying the beginning of a different way of thinking about successful learning that complemented Gardner’s multiple intelligences theory. IDEA mandated that kids who were not learning in traditional educational settings because of “Learning Disabilities” or “Severe Identifiable Emotional Disabilities” should have Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) outlining a learning process believed to be most compatible with each child’s intelligence type. Unfortunately, kids with IEPs who receive specialized learning services, or “Special Education,” are often stigmatized in our society as having learning deficiencies instead of mere learning differences. These kids can be labeled as having lesser intelligence as opposed to having a varied form of intelligence.

In reality, we all have different ways of learning and relating the knowledge we obtain to the world around us. This is a fortunate thing, because our varied intelligences add to the diversity of our interests and, ultimately, the multiple niches we occupy in society. Different types of learners with various forms of intelligence have become mechanics, chefs, teachers, scientists, performing artists, coaches, accountants and leaders, to name just a few. It is as we embrace these diverse talents in everyone within our society that we truly begin to benefit from the multitude of potential in our midst.

If you happen to be curious, like I was, about your own intelligence type and learning style, there are many resources on the World Wide Web that can help assess your unique talents. For a brilliant discussion about the importance of embracing all forms of intelligence, see Dr. Temple Grandin’s February, 2010 TED Talk, “The World Needs All Kinds of Minds.”

Can you guess where my primary intelligences lie? As with most of us, there are clues in my chosen profession. For the answer to this question and a second installment on learning style diversity, check out next month’s column!

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Anniversary Reactions: Dealing With Loss

By Alyce Duckworth; LCSW and therapist at Turning Points, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

About 14 years ago, in the early summer, I lost my father and grandfather in quick succession. Being in grad school and on the verge of marriage, it was already a tumultuous time for me. Although many years have passed between now and then, I continue to feel an increase in sadness, a decrease in energy, and quite unlike myself around the time of these losses. This year, the first with my daughter, I’ve experienced an intensification of these feelings as I’ve wished that she could have known the two very important men in my life.

Knowledge of trauma and loss tells me that I am not alone in the above-related experiences. In fact, there’s a name for the resurgence of depressed feelings that coincide with the anniversary of traumatic events, whether they involve the loss of a loved one or other distressing occurrences.

Anniversary reactions are thought to result from the manner in which the human brain stores memories that are linked with overwhelmingly strong emotions. These sometimes vivid memories are believed by many neuroscientists to be “date-stamped,” in a sense, by our amygdala, the stress regulating and organizing center of the human brain. The amygdala is responsible for self-preservation, and, when functioning optimally, it uses stored information to warn of impending danger. However, the brain doesn’t necessarily distinguish between the type of distress that is caused by a single-occurrence stressor, like a significant loss or a particular traumatic event, and that which is cyclical, such as a deadly tornado that strikes during tornado season. Anniversary reactions are our bodies’ messages to “take care.” And, like most such body-messages, it is important that we acknowledge them.

 

The National Center for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder specifies three common symptom categories of Anniversary Reactions:

  • Re-experiencing, in which flashbacks, nightmares, or vivid memories resurface or intensify surrounding the traumatic loss or event.
  • Avoidance, where a person feels the need to avoid any reminders of the original traumatic event, and
  • Arousal, whereby, during an anniversary reaction, a person feels heightened states of nervousness or non-specific feelings of dread or being “on edge.”

Anniversary reactions can occur without the conscious realization by the sufferer of the significance of the date, and they typically lessen in severity over time. If you or someone you know is debilitated by an anniversary reaction, it can signal the existence of such things as unresolved grief, overwhelming guilt, or an ongoing mental health problem. Professional assistance should be obtained to assist in dealing with such issues.

As always, when a person is experiencing serious feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, or thoughts of suicide, mental health support should be sought immediately. Visit admhn.org to find such services in the Arapahoe and Douglas county community.

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Pride and Prejudice: Coming to Terms with Sexual Orientation

By Elena Davis, LCSW; Therapist, Turning Points, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Every year, the beginning of summer heralds “Gay Pride Day” – a day of parades and festivals that occurs throughout our nation and provides the gay community and its straight allies the opportunity to celebrate the diversity, contributions, and solid presence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in our community. With the November elections in sight, politicians and political action groups have also seized the opportunity to debate which legal rights the LGBT community should be entitled to, whether or not gays deserve equal protection under the law, and even the basic question of whether or not it’s morally acceptable to be a lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender person.

The mental health community has also hotly debated how to regard sexual orientation over the last four decades. Prior to 1970, homosexuality was considered a mental disorder – an aberration to the heterosexual norm and classified as one of several “sociopathic personality” disorders requiring treatment.  This outdated view has been replaced by modern research that clarifies sexual orientation existing along a continuum in a class bell-shaped curve.  We are now at a point in time to recognize that homosexuality is not a problem – but rather a normal variation for up to 10% of the population and occurring throughout the history of humankind, in all cultures and on all continents. In fact, over the last two decades, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the World Health Association have all come out with solid statements that affirm and support sexual orientation as a basic biological variance.

Furthermore, these organizations have denounced so-called “reparative therapy” (therapy that purports to change one’s sexual orientation), citing research and studies that conclusively show that these “treatments” are not only ineffective, but are also incredibly damaging and harmful – even life-threatening – to its participants.  Just a week ago, Dr. Robert L. Spitzer, one of the eminent fathers of modern psychiatry, came forward with statement.  “I owe the gay community an apology,” he announced as he publically recanted his highly flawed 2003 study that suggested sexual orientation could be changed by those who were highly motivated to make that change.

So, whilst Pride Day is a day of celebration and merriment for many, for persons who are struggling to come to terms with their sexual orientation, this day may be fraught with emotional angst and fears – of being “outed”, of rejection by family and friends, of both overt and covert discrimination or hate crimes – and feelings of depression, isolation, anxiety, insecurity, self-loathing and self-doubt. For family members who have recently discovered that a loved one is gay, there are frequently feelings of confusion, anger, grief, fear and shame. For transgender individuals, the struggle is even more intense, with misunderstanding and mistreatment generally coming from all directions.

As a therapist in a group counseling and psychiatric practice, my colleagues and I regularly provide counseling to men, women, adolescents and children looking for help in resolving the issues and challenges of understanding and accepting their, or their family members’, sexual orientation and/or gender identity. As a result of the overt and covert discrimination the gay community faces – from hate crimes to employment inequalities to intolerance from their families/friends – coming to terms with one’s sexual orientation can feel like a minefield. It is no wonder that LGBT adolescents have an up to eight times higher incidence of suicide attempts, as well as increased rates of homelessness, drug abuse and depression. Likewise, LGBT adults are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, substance abuse, as well as untreated medical needs.

Because of internalized homophobia and our heterocentric culture, many LGBT persons have chosen to hide their sexual orientation and live as if straight, often marrying and creating a family.  Sadly, when these persons realize the painful reality of the situation, it can be devastating for all involved.

Working with a knowledgeable, supportive therapist can be helpful to debunk myths and misunderstandings about what being LGBT means as well as to move toward acceptance and emotional resolution.  For instance, often the early years of ones’ “coming out” process necessitate a more active role in identifying with one’s sexual orientation – this is a normal, healthy part of self-acceptance and developing comfort with oneself and should be encouraged. As self-acceptance grows, generally, LGBT individuals are able to regard their orientation as simply one small aspect of their life, to build a supportive network of friends and family, and to recognize homophobia as prejudice.

If you are struggling with your sexual orientation or someone you care about is struggling, please check out the following links, which provide resources to help educate, support, and empower:

The GLBT Community Center of Colorado – www.glbtcolorado.org

Parent’s and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) – www.pflag.org

One Colorado – www.one-colorado.org

COLAGE: People with a Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender or Queer Parent (formerly Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere) – www.colage.org

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network – www.admhn.org

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Tonier Cain to Give Keynote at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) Event

Tonier Cain to Give Keynote
at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) Event
National renowned speaker and educator addresses the consequences untreated trauma has on individuals and society at-large at 11th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon

Englewood, Colo. (April 16, 2012) — “Eighty percent of our population has been traumatized. The trauma is the underlying reason and the basis that leads to the self-medication, the drug use, and then eventually landing in jail” (Healing Neen, 2010 RE: the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women).  In 2004, incarcerated for the 66th time, Tonier “Neen” Cain finally received treatment for her lifetime of trauma, offering her a way out… and up.

Tonier’s story, as illustrated in the 2010 documentary Healing Neen, addresses the consequences that untreated trauma has on individuals and society at-large, including mental health problems, addiction, homelessness and incarceration. Today, she is a nationally renowned speaker and educator on the devastation of trauma and the hope of recovery. Tonier “Neen” Cain will deliver the keynote speech at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 11th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon Friday, May 11 at the Inverness Hotel and Conference Center in Englewood, CO.

After surviving a childhood of abuse and neglect, Tonier “Neen” Cain lived on the streets for two nightmarish decades, where she endured unrelenting violence, hunger and despair while racking up 66 criminal convictions related to her addiction.  “This is how it’s supposed to be for me.  I am nothing, I’m never going to amount to anything, and this is how it is.  I’ll stay here.  I’ll die just like this.  I had become comfortable with this,” confesses Tonier in her documentary.

The event hosted by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network will kick off at 11:00am with a reception offering professional networking and background music by the Breckenridge-based Peneplain Jazz Trio.  At 11:30 a.m., the luncheon will begin, with emcee April Zesbaugh, co-anchor of 850KOA Colorado’s Morning News. Distinguished Service and Community Hero awards will be presented to Senator Linda Newell for her leadership at the Capitol in sponsoring mental health, substance abuse and suicide prevention; and John Vellos, respectively, for his significant contributions to behavioral health issues through advisory, support and advocacy.

After the brief award ceremony, Tonier Cain will present her heartwrenching story of a lifetime of trauma, ending with the hope of recovery. For, where there’s breath, there’s hope.

Proceeds from the event will benefit local low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals in critical need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services in our community.

Individual tickets are $75.  The Inverness Hotel and Conference Center is located at 200 Inverness Drive West in Englewood.  Corporate Sponsorships (offering tables of ten) are also available by contacting Jacy Conradt at 303 793 9602. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit www.admhn.org or call 303 779 9676.

For more information and to view the trailer for Healing Neen, visit:  www.healingneen.com

download the pdf >

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit 501 © (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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Matters of the Mind: EMPOWER, Colorado

By Alyce Duckworth; LCSW and Supervisor at Prince St. Academy, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Parenting is one of the most important and most difficult jobs a person can have.  When the work of parenting involves children with social, emotional, and mental health issues the job becomes dramatically compounded in both difficulty and scope.  According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (2010), one in 10 American children have diagnosable mental health disorders.

In order to be effective, parents of children with brain-based disorders need specialized skills, time, and patience far beyond what is necessary for a job that is incredibly taxing to begin with. There are no definitive “training manuals” for raising kids, and the information available can become even more confusing, contradictory and frustrating as mental health diagnoses, treatments, educational supports (or lack thereof) and medications are added to the process

Over the course of my career, however, I have encountered many parents who have excelled in parenting some of the most challenging kids in existence.  These parents are some of the most selfless, determined, creative, supportive, resourceful, and unconditionally loving people I have ever come across and this is exactly how I would describe the members of a local organization.

EMPOWER (Education Movement: Parents Offering Wisdom, Encouragement and Resources) Colorado members have not only become successful parents of kids with mental health issues themselves, they have also created and maintained an organization that seeks to support other families in similar situations across the state.

Recently, I received the opportunity to speak with a few of the board members of EMPOWER regarding the mission of their organization. Cheri Bena, Board President, emphasizes the importance of the multi-county support groups provided for families experiencing mental health issues.

In addition, she says, “I think [one of] the best things we [at EMPOWER] do is a seven-week class series. It covers topic areas such as Getting to the Diagnosis, Collaborative Problem Solving, Building Partnerships with Schools, and Taking Care of Yourself.”

Cheri adds that the group also draws from the resources and experiences of involved families to negotiate a variety of barriers that can be encountered in service delivery systems.

Board member Mary Schmidt says that parents who are new to EMPOWER often say, “I thought I was the only one,” and that the group serves the very important function of letting parents and families dealing with mental illness know “that they are not alone in their journey.”

Mary agrees that the resources offered by EMPOWER, including online discussion forums, support groups, classes, e-mail and phone consultations, and advocacy with parents in school districts is at the heart of the organization’s success.

Carol Villa, a third member of the board, states, “EMPOWER has not lost its vision after 10 years.  We still strive [to provide] support, advocacy, and education.”

Sharing her personal perspective as a resourceful mother of nine, Carol explains, “This has been and still continues to be a long journey for me, but I still need EMPOWER as much as I did at the first support group I ever attended. At some point you do move more into advocacy, but the need for support never ends. Families need to know that there is always hope, healing and recovery.”

EMPOWER provides the supports discussed above free of charge to families. When additional services are needed, they provide informed referrals to other community resources.

If you or someone you know could benefit from EMPOWER’s programs, they can be accessed on the website, www.empowercolorado.com or by calling 1-866-213-4631.

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Counseling 101: What to Consider When Choosing a Therapist

By Elena Davis, LCSW, Turning Points therapist at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

When struggling with overwhelming life challenges or emotional turmoil, the thought of trying to find a counselor can feel like blindly shooting darts at a moving target.

The field of counseling and mental health is laden with confusing acronyms and jargon, not to mention the infinite choice of hundreds of individual counselors (a.k.a. therapists) who practice in the south Denver metro area.

Despite how cumbersome this process may feel, connecting oneself with a skilled counselor to help navigate through tough times can make a huge difference in one’s quality of life and emotional well-being.

The following tips are meant to help explain and demystify the process of finding a good therapist:

* Types of Counselors

The counseling field includes: Psychologists (PhD or PsyD), Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW), Licensed Professional Counselors (LPC), and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (LMFT), just to name a few.

In my experience, the specific degree does not matter as much as the individual counselor’s life experience, intelligence, demeanor, compassion and clinical knowledge.  I have talked with colleagues from all of these fields and have found in general that within each discipline there are both “good fits” as well as “not-so-good fits”.

That said, don’t worry so much about the degree but rather concentrate on the specific personality, style traits and expertise of that individual counselor.  Lastly, if you are looking for medication, you will need to also see a psychiatrist; most therapists provide referrals to psychiatrists for consultation and medication services.

* Types of Counseling

Therapy can be short term (three to six sessions) or long-term (six months to many years), or anywhere in between.

Individual therapists have various theoretical orientations that guide their practice.  Examples include cognitive behavioral, solution-focused, psychodynamic, narrative, spiritual-based, hypnotherapy, and life coaching.

Interestingly enough, research shows that the specific type of counseling received is not the most important factor; rather, the most important predictor for whether or not counseling  will be successful is the quality of the relationship between the therapist and client.

That said, focus on finding a counselor whose personal style and philosophy you feel comfortable with rather than focusing on specific techniques or trainings achieved.

*Cost Considerations

If you have health insurance, by all means call them and find out the details of your benefits for “behavioral health” (a.k.a. mental health).

Be sure to find out if you have a deductible, how many sessions per calendar year are covered, what your copay is, and which specific providers the insurance company will cover.

Some group counseling practices have an Insurance Specialist on staff who will make this call for you, saving you time and simplifying the process.  Also, many employers offer Employee Assistance Plans (EAPs), which typically provides three to six sessions to employees and their families at no cost.

The average fee for a private practice therapist is $80-125 per session; the specific fee varies widely depending on the individual therapists’ level of expertise and years of experience in the field.

Health Spending Accounts (HSAs) can often be utilized to pay fees out-of-pocket.  In addition, some therapists offer a sliding-scale fee or can help refer you to low-cost counseling services available in your community.

*Making the Initial Call

Be ready to briefly describe why you are seeking therapy (in as little or as much detail as you are comfortable) and to ask specific questions to learn more about the services offered.

Be sure to confirm office location and hours of availability to ensure they will fit your needs.  Be proud of yourself for taking the first step, which often times proves to be the most difficult!

*The First Session

Many first-timers worry that they will get into the therapy session and not know what to say, that they will cry uncontrollably, or that they will be judged, blamed, or otherwise misunderstood.

A skilled therapist knows how to guide the conversation, to explain that tears are natural and often a common occurance, to help you feel supported and understood, and to provide a physical space that feels safe and comfortable to begin the counseling journey.

Good communication is essential for successful therapy to occur, and it can speed therapy along if you take the lead on communicating what you would specifically like to get out of the subsequent sessions.

First sessions often include discussions of expected duration of therapy, specific goals and areas of focus, and overall expectations.  First sessions feel scary to most people, so when you finally make an appointment (and show up for it!), please remember to give yourself a big pat on the back for taking the next step!

*The “Rule of Three”

Three sessions is generally all it takes to assess the “goodness of fit” of a relationship with a specific therapist.

The first session will generally feel a bit awkward and uncomfortable; sharing details of your life with a complete stranger can certainly be a bit awkward and uncomfortable.

The second session should feel a bit more comfortable, but there may still be bumps in terms of the therapist not quite understanding you or you not quite feeling totally understood – after all it’s only the second session.

By the end of the third session, if there are still difficulties in communication and/or any red flags, it might be time to move on to another therapist.

Research shows that the most progress in therapy is made in the first 12 sessions.  A good therapist will discuss whether the relationship feels like a “good fit” to you and will not take offense but rather be happy to refer you on as needed.

Finding a good therapist “fit” can happen on the first try or it may take many phone calls and initial sessions.  Insurance limitations, financial concerns, busy schedules, and fear all limit our willingness and opportunity to seek out counseling support.

Regardless of whatever barriers you might encounter, it’s well worth the time and effort to take the steps necessary to connect yourself with a good therapist– one who can help support you through challenging times and guide you in creating the life you want.

Remember: Your health, happiness and emotional well-being are worth it!

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The “Singles Awareness Day” Blues

By Elena Davis, LCSW, Turning Points therapist at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

For those of us who are prone to melancholy feelings around the winter holidays, Valentine’s Day often feels like yet another hurdle to clear.

The winter days are begrudgingly doling out our daily allowance of sunshine, the snow has piled up in our yards, and the cold, frosty temperatures are reminding us that we are still trapped in winter’s icy chasm. After surviving the frenzy of winter holiday madness, now here comes that pesky little diaper-clad cherub who takes aim at us with his pointy bow and arrow. In this frigid, bleak moment, perhaps some of us imagine cupid’s arrow of true love catapulting our romantic life from boring black and white to delightful Technicolor. However, it turns out that the traditional images of romantic bliss are, for many of us, yet another reminder of how rarely our realities match up to the visions embedded in our brains.

My 6-year-old daughter giggles infectiously as she exclaims: “Isn’t Valentine’s Day just the best holiday ever?! It’s all about loving and caring!” While I love her enthusiasm, I myself, as a 40-year-old single divorcee, confess that I prefer to spread Valentine’s Day cheer with a hearty, “Happy Singles Awareness Day!” (or even better, and when I can get away with it, I bid my cohorts a “Happy VD! ” with a devilish grin). Though some have chastised me, thinking I am being negative or resentful, I have to say I am neither bitter nor lonely. Rather, I simply enjoy renaming the holiday as a playful rebuttal to a day that is based around consumerism, and highlights our society’s perpetual focus on coupledom as the ultimate means to contentment and life satisfaction. Personally, I think that Valentine’s Day is a charming reminder of the power and importance of love in our lives – whether in the form of parents, children, friends, pets, or a special someone. However, I do resent the commercials and advertisements that shower us with visions of rose bouquets, chocolate truffles, giant stuffed animals hugging big fluffy hearts, or worse yet, the ridiculously expensive diamond jewelry.

As a psychotherapist in a group psychotherapy practice, I often work with clients who feel isolated by their sadness and pain – as if the rest of the world has somehow figured out the secret to genuine happiness and life balance. I love being able to shatter that myth, sharing that actually, we are a world full of people in the throes of crisis, hurt feelings, powerless to addiction, struggling with medical issues, poverty, prejudice, or various other life challenges. Rather than feeling odd or different, I encourage my clients to recognize that the natural state of humanity is far from perfection and bliss – or even emotional health and wellbeing. And, Valentine’s Day is one such example of perpetuating myths about how life is “supposed to be.”

Imagine a Valentine’s Day commercial that actually mirrored real life — that embraced the diversity of life and all the ways that love is present, or not present, in our lives. For my 2011 Valentine’s Day, I was newly separated and had purposely signed up for an evening workshop on “Co-Parenting after Divorce.” It somehow seemed quite apropos and made me chuckle to myself when I thought about the irony of the combination. Yet, as I reflected on the fact that my children are the most important people in my life, it seemed quite appropriate to spend Valentine’s Day focused on their best interests. For me, it was this expression of love toward my children that I celebrated on Valentine’s Day in 2011.

This year, I was delighted that I would have my kids for Valentine’s Day. Post work, I picked the kids up after school, drove them to a friend’s house for a playdate, and then returned to their school to for a parent-teacher conference, where my former spouse and I somewhat successfully attempted to remain civil. Once again, not the picture of the blissful, romantic Valentine’s Day society paints. Yet, there was love and care in our attempts to reconcile our differences in the best interest of our daughter’s schooling.

Upon arrival back at home with the kiddos in tow, I set to work preparing a customary Valentine’s Day feast of good ‘ole spaghetti with vegetarian meatballs, tossed salad, and a loaf of whole wheat bread. At the dinner table, my children and I were joined by two recently added house mates. The first is a recent college graduate from New York who moved to Colorado to be a mountaineer and travel writer/photographer. The other, a foreign exchange student from Japan who is staying with us during her two-week long English immersion program. Sitting around the dinner table, I was struck by how great it felt to revel in Valentine’s Day as three adults and two children brought together in this loving, caring family-style experience.

As I sat at the table watching my 4-year-old shovel plain spaghetti into her mouth with her hands and my 6-year-old attempt to sneak bits of food to the dog under the table, I was struck by how untraditional this Valentine’s Day would look from the outside. And yet this is the best of life – people who could be strangers coming together to share a family-style meal with love, laughter, and caring.

Wherever you were on Valentine’s Day 2012, whomever you were with, and whatever the day meant to you, I hope that it was a snapshot of the diversity of life – and not the storybook illusion created by our culture of materialism and external validation. And if the holiday left you feeling blue or regretful, I hope you will make the decision to embrace the diversity of your life, to make a commitment to survive and flourish from the chaos and pain that so often entraps us, and to make the commitment to do one special thing for yourself today that celebrates, revels in, and proclaims a true expression of love in your life.

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Disparities in access to mental health services still exist for African Americans

By Alyce Duckworth; LCSW and Supervisor at Prince St. Academy, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Since 1976, the month of February has been recognized as Black History Month in the United States -a specific period of time set aside to acknowledge the achievements of a group of Americans whose contributions to our nation have been invaluable and inextricable from those of the whole. The month also brings the opportunity for reflection.

According to data collected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), African Americans have less access to and availability of mental health services, are less likely to receive necessary mental health services, and are underrepresented in mental health research. Furthermore, when African Americans do seek treatment in our communities, they tend to receive lower quality services than their white counterparts (SAMHSA, 2009).

Terrie M. Williams, Co-founder and President of The Stay Strong Foundation, seeks to ameliorate these disparities by reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues in the African American community. Supported by SAMHSA and the National Department of Health and Human Services, Ms. Williams launched the Stories that Heal campaign, a national education and advocacy initiative. The program provides a forum for African Americans to openly share their stories about mental illness. Examples of these powerful narratives can be found at http://storiesthatheal.samhsa.gov . Terrie M. Williams is also an author of four books, the latest entitled Black pain: It just looks like we’re not hurting (Scribner, 2009). In the spirit of ground-breaking advances, such as those championed by Terrie Williams, I would like to recognize the accomplishments of the following African-Americans and their allies who helped shape this nation’s proud heritage:

• Dr. Charles Richard Drew (1904-1950), was an African American physician and surgeon who developed our ability to store mass quantities of blood plasma in what is known today as a blood bank. During the early years of World War II, Dr. Drew directed and managed blood-plasma programs that saved the lives of countless injured soldiers. Although the issues surrounding Dr. Drew’s death are widely debated, many claim that he died of injuries sustained in a car accident because he was not able to benefit from his own invention when he was taken to a whites only hospital.

• In 1821, Thomas L. Jennings became the first African American to receive a patent. His invention? Dry cleaning. Jennings used the money he earned to buy his relatives’ freedom from slavery and support abolition movements.

• Sophia B. Packard and Harriet Giles, two white women who believed that all women should have access to education, founded Spelman College with $100. Spelman, the oldest historically Black Liberal Arts College for women in the United States, was established in 1881 in Atlanta, Georgia.

• Phillis Wheatley was a mere child) and spoke no English when she was kidnapped from Africa and sold into slavery in Boston around the age of eight years old. However, by the age of 16, under the tutelage of her “owners,” Wheatley had mastered the language. She subsequently wrote and published Poems on Various Subjects in 1773, making her the first African American woman to be published (albeit in England).

• In 1954, Barbara Jordan was on the all-Black Texas Southern University debate team when they tied with the Harvard debate team. She would later utilize her extraordinary oratorical skills to become the first African American Congresswoman to be elected from the Deep South (1972). The TSU debate team followed in the footsteps of another Texas debate team, that of Wiley College. A 2007 movie, entitled The Great Debaters, was based on Wiley College’s unlikely victory over the 1935 defending National Debate Champions of the University of Southern California (depicted as Harvard University in the movie). Although Wiley’s victory would not have been recognized as legitimate in the racist climate of 1935, their recorded win against the national champs is no less remarkable. As if the odds against them weren’t high enough, both debate teams contained female members, and thereby had to contend with widespread sexism as well as racism.

• Dr. William Hinton (1883-1959), an African American Physician, is credited with creating a test to detect the disease of Syphilis in 1927. The test set the stage for early diagnosis and treatment of the contagious disease. Dr. Hinton was also the first African American professor to teach at Harvard Medical School.

• From 1932-1972, 399 impoverished African American sharecroppers were allowed to live, and, in many cases, die with untreated Syphilis in what became known as the “Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment” in Tuskegee, Alabama. Run by the United States Public Health Service, researchers used their human victims to study the course of the disease. Unwitting participants in the study were cut-off from available treatment options and information about the disease. In light of Dr. Hinton’s discovery, mentioned above, the morally reprehensible “experiment” was particularly ironic. Victims of the study included wives and children of the experimental group who contracted Syphilis. After the Syphilis Experiment was ended in 1972 due to a leak to the local press, the Office for Human Research Protections (OHRP) was established, and a new Federal regulation passed requiring Institutional Review Boards (charged with ensuring that research involving human subjects is ethical).

• Juxtaposed against the study entailed above, another so-called “experiment” took place in Tuskegee, Alabama in the 1940’s. Unlike the former study, the subjects of this study knew exactly what they were getting into. They became known as the Tuskegee Airmen, a group of African American pilots who were trained to fly combat missions in World War II. In further contrast to the earlier Tuskegee experiments, the Tuskegee Airmen were hugely successful, shooting down a total of 112 enemy aircraft in flight and helping the U.S. secure significant victories in air combat. In the segregated military of WWII, the Tuskegee Airmen also made strides in the battle raging in the country for which they were fighting, a battle for equality. The recently released movie Red Tails tells the story of the Airmen.

Having shared just a few of the hundreds of thousands of stories on African American Life and History, I’d like to wish all of you, our readers, an informed, thoughtful, and warm February 2012!

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Are New Year’s resolutions friend or foe?

By Elena Davis, LCSW, Turning Points therapist at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Some folks view New Year’s resolutions as a fabulous opportunity to build fresh patterns and habits for fulfilling their healthier, happier life potential – while others see the concept of “resolutions” as yet another self-destructive medium for berating oneself with guilt-ridden failure of those tasks not achieved. The “should haves” and “could haves” in life. Regardless of which view you hold, New Year’s is indeed a time when many of us become introspective, taking stock of the past year and thinking about what the coming year will bring.

If you’re like the majority of the population, at some time or another you’ve ushered in the new year with a drunken resolution to cut back on your drinking, or enjoyed that last holiday buffet with a whispered pledge to eat right and lose weight. Or perhaps you’ve joined a gym in anticipation of regular exercise, or bought the latest parenting book with the goal of reducing the amount of time spent yelling at the kids. Maybe you’ve vowed to reduce your road rage during commutes, go to church regularly, learn to meditate, take up classical guitar, or otherwise made a promise to be a better person.

The question becomes: How do we set up intentions that will actually help us on our path to self-development, growth and contentment? I believe the answer lies in a few simple steps:

• Frame your intention in the positive. Rather than saying what you DON’T want to happen, set your intention on what you DO want to happen. For instance, aim for “I will drive my car with patience and courtesy for my fellow human beings;” instead of “I will stop getting so angry at all those terrible drivers out there.”

• Be specific. While it can feel scary to say exactly what we want, setting a specific intention is key for being able to achieve our goals. Being vague or general is a way to give up your power to affect change in your life. Decide what you want and don’t be afraid to yell it from the rooftops!

• Start small and be realistic. Tackle your goal in small, manageable steps. Rather than to go to the gym and work out for an hour every day, add in a 15-minute walk to your lunch break three days a week. Once you’ve accomplished that goal, there will be room to add in additional ideas for increased wellness.

• Commit. If you decide you’re going to do it, make a commitment to yourself to do it. Write it down and post it on your mirror so you will see it every morning when you wake up. Schedule the steps that will help you toward your goal every week in your daily planner and make it happen.

• Reward yourself. Pick out a reward for achieving the goal – something to help motivate you. Small rewards along the way can boost your morale to continue your journey.

• Enlist a buddy. Research shows that if you attempt a goal with someone else, your likelihood of achieving it increases. Go ahead, ask a friend or co-worker to be your wellness accomplice. You’ll be helping each other and likely enjoying some good social time as well!

• Be kind to yourself. If you fall off the wagon or get off track with your goals, don’t criticize yourself or lose focus, giving up on your goal altogether. Simply acknowledge that you fell off track, identify and assess what is getting in your way, and come back with a renewed plan for achieving your goal.

Setting and achieving a personal goal is tremendously satisfying. In addition, achieving a goal can boost self-esteem, increase feelings of empowerment and life-mastery, and often leads to further growth in other aspects of your life. Take some time today to think about one simple but satisfying goal that you would like to achieve in the coming year. Then set your intention and put it into action. Remember, even the journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step.

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Putting the diva in fund-raiser

ADMHN’s 7th Annual Raising Spirits Wine Tasting & Auction boasts a new twist

Englewood, CO ─ What do you get when you combine a dynamic personality with a great cause, attractive auction packages and delectable wines? You get this year’s Raising Spirits Wine Tasting and Auction, hosted by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN), emceed by Auction Diva Shelly St. John, and scheduled for the evening of Nov. 3 at the picturesque Sanctuary Golf Course clubhouse.

Using her signature style, St. John will bring a new dimension to this year’s 7th annual event, a major ADMHN fund-raiser, which also offers live jazz, mouth-watering hors d’oeuvres and the festive energy of a fall gathering. By coupling her auctioneering expertise with flair and wit, the founder of the Denver-based Auction Divas promises to keep the ADMHN audience chuckling while bidding to support people in need.

“We’re excited to add Shelly to our line-up for this very important fund-raiser,” said Scott Thoemke, CEO and executive director of ADMHN. “More than a quarter of the population suffers from a diagnosable mental illness, and thousands of citizens in our own community go without the health care they need. The effect on them, their families and the entire community can be overwhelming.”

The annual wine tasting and auction helps fund low-income and uninsured citizens in Douglas and Arapahoe counties in critical need of treatment for these life-altering diseases. More than 60 local businesses and individual donors step up for the cause, including sponsors Citywide Banks, Lukas Liquor Superstore and Mountain Crest Properties.

St. John said she finds her reward in knowing the entertaining night will lead to better health care and living environments for many clients of ADMHN, which provides mental health and substance abuse services at 10 locations in the metro area.

A colorful selection of auction items ─ from champagne hot-air balloon rides to catered prime rib dinners ─ and seasonal desserts will round out the charitable event, which will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Nov. 3 at the Sanctuary Golf Course, 7549 Daniels Park Road, in Sedalia. Reservations are $50 per person and can be made online at www.admhn.org or by calling 303 779 9676.

“Fund-raisers like this are crucial for so many people’s recovery and transition back into a satisfying, rewarding life,” Thoemke said. “Mental illnesses often cause serious and relentless strain on people and their families, but there is hope. With Shelly’s help, and the help of all of our community donors, together we can make a difference.”

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit 501 © (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.  We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy.  We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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Acknowledging their pain: Trauma-informed care helps foster, adoptive parents get to root of recovery

Englewood, CO (July 19, 2011) Reece Elliott had no idea that popping a tiny grape into his mouth would create such a reaction. But when the teenager’s seemingly innocent act launched his 5-year-old sister into a belly sob-filled tantrum, he and his mom were able to respond calmly.

“Reece ate the baby grape!” Zoe wailed, tears streaking her little cheeks, her sobs abruptly ending some family quiet time. Unlike a typical teenager, Reece didn’t react to his sibling’s accusation with an eye roll or an excuse. And unlike a typical mom, Laurie Elliott didn’t react by scolding her daughter for an unreasonable disruption.

“I’m so sorry, Zoe. I didn’t mean to eat the baby grape,” Reece said, consoling his little sister, adopted from China almost three years ago. “Look!” Mom said. “Let’s find more baby grapes in the bag!”

It might sound trivial to some people. But both Reece and Mom’s reactions represent a life-altering change of perspective that family members gain when they take the free Parenting Foster and Adopted Children series, presented by the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN).

Last year, more than 150 children were adopted from foster homes in Arapahoe County alone. State-wide, there were about 365 kids on the adoption waiting list. The majority of these foster children have survived traumatic experiences, which can make parenting even more challenging. In response, ADMHN and many experts across the country are turning to “trauma-informed care,” a therapeutic approach focused on improving recovery by understanding and dealing with what happened to the child.

“In some way, foster and adopted children will mourn the loss of that initial parent relationship in their lives,” said Laurie Elliott, ADMHN’s clinical director. “In addition, many have suffered physical, emotional or sexual abuse or neglect. Any of these, much less several of them combined, can lead to serious behavior challenges,” said Elliott, who revamped the already-popular ADMHN foster and adoptive parenting class to incorporate the trauma-informed perspective. “We simply had to find a more effective way to parent traumatized children.”

As a clinical social worker, Elliott witnessed the toll these troubled backgrounds take on adoptive families, long before she thought about her own family adopting a child. “Many families would come in to sessions feeling hopeless and at their wits’ end because of the behavior challenges. The problem is, typical parenting often doesn’t work for adopted children who have experienced traumatic events.”

Trauma-informed care, promoted by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and proven effective, teaches parents and trauma survivors to identify and understand trauma-induced triggers and vulnerabilities. Parenting techniques from the trauma-informed perspective differ from those taught in traditional therapies, which can exacerbate a child’s problems.

“Trauma-informed programs are more supportive than traditional programs,” said Kristel Champeau, co-instructor of the class. “By understanding trauma, what the triggers are, and how trauma affects their children, parents can often help their kids through such experiences and avoid re-traumatization,” Champeau said. “For parents, it’s about learning what happened to their children ─ not what’s wrong with them.”

As soon as they started the adoption process with Zoe, Elliott and her husband, Steve, knew continued parenting support would be necessary ─ even with their parenting experience and her professional background. At the time, they had successfully raised three older children, with 17-year-old Reece being the youngest.

“We thought we knew enough to successfully parent Zoe as well,” Elliott said. “We were wrong.” Zoe, who was born with a hole in her heart, was abandoned as an infant. Her physical disorder made caring for her so difficult that she was shuffled between three foster homes before the age of 2.

“Steve and I have now taken more than 50 hours of classes, and we continue to read and attend trainings,” Elliott said. She advises all foster and adoptive parents to seek as much support as possible. “Traumatic stress reactions cause children to behave in ways that confuse and frustrate us as parents,” she said, using the baby-grape incident as an example. “The reactions with us, with other adults, and even with their peers might feel disproportionate, unpredictable and completely illogical. When we learn about the impact that trauma has on our children, we can approach situations like the grape incident from a place of understanding.”

Zoe, whose heart defect has been corrected by surgery since joining her “forever family” in Parker, is on her way toward healing, physically and emotionally. Despite all the challenges, adopting the “loving, fun, energetic tot with the contagious laugh” has been the best decision the family has ever made, Elliott said.

“She’s brought so much to our lives. The rewards of parenting a child, whether born into our family or born into our hearts, are similar. Children bring depth and fulfilment beyond what you can imagine. They challenge us in ways that make us better people, and they fill our hearts and homes with joy.”

The free, seven-session “Parenting Foster and Adopted Children” class is presented by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network twice a year, in January and August. Topics include defiant behavior, social issues, attachment, bonding, handling previous abuse and more. Parents learn from experienced therapists and other parents how to help their children cope with their overwhelming emotions and heal.

Registration has begun for the next series. The session will run Mondays from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at 155 Inverness Drive West (off I-25 and Dry Creek Road) in the Ute Room (2nd floor). Dates are: Aug. 1, 15, 29, Sept 12, 26, Oct. 10, 17. Child care is available for $3 per child/per evening. Register soon at 303-347-6447.

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit 501 © (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties.  We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy.  We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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You could change a life…or prevent a crisis

What would you do if a friend suddenly seemed suicidal – and you were the only one around? What if your fellow worker appeared to be having hallucinations and frightening others? Could you help prevent a crisis until professional help arrived?This workshop will teach you how to handle such situations.

In this 12-hour, hands-on course offered in two sessions, you will gain an understanding of mental illness and learn effective skills for responding to psychiatric emergencies. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network presents its next two workshops, the first on July 13 and 15, and the next on Oct. 7 and 14. With mental disorders more common than heart disease and cancer combined, you could end up changing someone’s life. Check out the brochure.  Register today by calling 303 779 9676.

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NAMI Walks 2011 – ADMHN Stars of Recovery Team

ADMHN's official teamThe NAMI Walk 2011 was a huge success.  We had the largest team (76 walkers!) and raised $8,656 for the cause. Check out the pictures. http://bit.ly/luHtI1 Thanks to co-chairs Wendy and Nathan!

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Check out Pete Earley’s blog

Hi, this is a great blog article. Check it out. http://bit.ly/kkXYIt

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Pete Earley speaks…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwF9U9iNBI4  Pete speaks about his book Crazy and his upcoming speaking engagement!

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Pete Earley to keynote 5/12 benefit – join us!

Did you see the LifeStyles section of the Denver Post the other day? http://bit.ly/lGMlMA . Pete Earley (who actually lived in Fowler, CO) indicated to me that he’s really happy to keynote our Thur 5/12mental health benefit luncheon. He has studied our programs and initiatives on www.admhn.org and is impressed by the progressive programs  — precisely the kinds of treatment and programs he advocates.

I just read his book Crazy and the book is quite amazing. Not only do you get a history of mental health, but profiles of his son, his heart-wrenching journey, and a peek into the lives of other individuals (and their families) who have struggled with mental illness!  Not an easy journey, that’s for sure.There are still some tickets left to our 10th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon at http://bit.ly/dNPy87 . Consider joining us and helping this worthy cause – to raise money to provide mental health and substance abuse treatment services for those in our community.  Hope to see you there. Meryl

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Join the our mailing list…or update yo

Join the our mailing list…or update your information http://ow.ly/4Ar6w Help us save resources. From time to time, you will receive newsletters, news on events and classes, invitations and mental health tips.

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Pharmacy helps keep uninsured on track

ADMHN Pharmacy helps keep uninsured on treatment track – Your Hub, Meryl Glickman – 4/06/2011

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ADMHN Pharmacy marks five-year anniversary

ADMHN Pharmacy marks five-year anniversary

Patient Assistance Program keeps hundreds of uninsured on treatment track

Englewood, CO (April 6, 2011) – Struggling with bipolar disorder all of your adult life presents obstacles so profound, it makes most people’s “bad days” look like a merry-go-round ride. So when David, a long-time client of Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN), finally reached the milestone of gaining full-time employment, he had reason to celebrate. Then he lost his prescription coverage.

Unable to function without his medications, which ran upwards of $1,500 a month and were previously covered by low-income government programs, David (not his real name) was in a bad spot. That is, until he found the Patient Assistance Program (PAP) managed by the ADMHN Pharmacy.

“Life-saving,” said David, 44, describing the program, which helps uninsured and underinsured individuals receive critically needed psychiatric drugs at low or no cost. “It’s the only way I can put it.”

At a time when political leaders across the country are working to rein in spiraling health-care costs — with pharmaceuticals a main source of rising medical fees — programs like this one are vital to local communities, said Scott Thoemke, ADMHN executive director and CEO.

“For people with severe mental illness, access to medications can make the difference in their ongoing recovery,” Thoemke said. “Without their prescriptions, they not only struggle to move forward but sometimes take a tremendous step back.”

The ADMHN Pharmacy, which is celebrating its fifth anniversary this month, helps clients like David find assistance programs, such as PAP, to maintain their drug treatment plans. Also open to the public, the pharmacy provides branded, generic and over-the-counter drugs at prices generally equal to, or lower than, big-retail chains. “As a nonprofit organization, all of the pharmacy’s proceeds convert back to provide mental health services to the community,” says ADMHN Pharmacy Director Brandee Butt, RPh, PharmD.

Having a pharmacy on-site offers clients the convenience of filling their prescriptions when they receive their treatment, which can lead to better compliance. “Our pharmacists are highly familiar with psychiatric medications, including counter indications and side effects,” Butt said. “So it’s knowledgeable service at a lower cost.”

Through the ADMHN Pharmacy, PAP provides more than 260 clients with an average of $80,000 worth of medications per month, with many clients requiring multiple prescriptions to treat their complicated disorders. “The assistance program allows people with mental illness to stay well and keep their jobs, both of which are critical to recovery,” Thoemke said. “It’s just a win-win situation.”

David, who has dealt with the hurdles of bipolar disorder since he was 19, says any program that eases the way helps, but this pharmacy program is especially significant. “If I didn’t have my medications, I’d probably be hospitalized within two weeks,” he says. “And I know. I’ve been there.”

The ADMHN Pharmacy is on the third floor of the Sycamore Center at 5500 S. Sycamore in Littleton, 303 797 2500, ADMHNpharmacy@admhn.org.

download the pdf >

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN)

ADMHN is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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We’re at the 9Health Fairs!

Take a FREE in-person Stress and Life Balance Screening. You have the option of talking with a clinican, at no cost, to go over your results. Learn more about the 9Health Fair.

Visit us from 7 a.m. to noon at one of these venues:

Sunday, April 10, 2011 – Littleton Hospital – 7700 S Broadway, Littleton, CO

Saturday, April 16, 2011 – Sky Ridge Medical Center, 10101 RidgeGate Parkway, Lone Tree, CO

Sunday, April 17, 2011 – Parker Adventist Hospital, 8385 Crown Crest Blvd, Parker, Co

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Mental Health First Aid Workshops

When someone’s in trouble, it’s great to know how to help. This class teaches you how. It’s fascinating… If you want to know more about what the class is about, check out the recent article in the Castle Pines Connection at http://bit.ly/hYcs98 . The next Mental Health First Aid workshop offered by Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network starts April 4, 2011! There are some seats left.

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Mental health court celebrates one year

We were happy to celebrate with the community. Here’s Rhonda Moore’s coverage of the one-year anniversary of the mental health court. Check out the story.

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18th Judicial District Mental Health Court to Celebrate One-Year Anniversary

Colorado’s first district-wide program already making a difference

Note to News Media: The 18th Judicial District, in collaboration with the Arapahoe-Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN), is celebrating the one-year anniversary of its Mental Health Court at noon on Jan. 21 in the Arapahoe County Justice Center Jury Assembly Room (Room 121), 7305 S. Potomac, Centennial, 80112. Key players in the program’s success will be available for interviews.

Englewood, Colo. (Jan. 12, 2011) — Increasing public safety, relieving the burden on the criminal-justice system, and making a difference in the lives of people with serious mental illnesses are just some of the goals worth celebrating during a one-year anniversary event for the 18th Judicial District Mental Health Court. The celebration of this first-of-its-kind, major collaborative effort will be held on Jan. 21 in the Arapahoe County Justice Center in Centennial.

Struck by the enormous toll serious mentally ill offenders were taking on the criminal justice system – deemed a critical issue by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice in 2008 – three Arapahoe-Douglas Mental Health Network board members first envisioned the Mental Health Court. Two years of careful planning, involving more than 60 individuals and 30 organizations, followed. The vision became a reality with the first court session in December of 2009, launching the first district-wide Mental Health Court in the state to serve those with non-violent, non-sex-related felonies.

“In just over a year, more than 30 people’s lives have been profoundly affected,” said Barbara Becker, ADMHN’s manager of criminal justice programs. “The program’s main goal is to stop the cycle of incarceration by focusing on and treating people’s mental illness and helping them re-enter and succeed in society,” Becker said. “Many of the participants are on the road to doing that.” According to the Colorado Department of Corrections, 24.6 percent of offenders in the jails suffer from mental illnesses.

Based on research and other court models, the 18th Judicial Mental Health Court (encompassing Arapahoe, Douglas, Lincoln and Elbert counties), trades the traditional adversarial court approach that often fails offenders with mental illness for a more positive tactic. Words of encouragement from the judge and applause and cheers from the courtroom are common.

By assuring access to appropriate mental health and substance abuse services for offenders, the program helps reduce recidivism, break the cycle of mental illness, reduce jail days, keep the community safer, and save taxpayer dollars.

Participants must be recommended for the rigorous program and accepted after a screening process by a multi-disciplinary team. Participation is voluntary, but those who decline remain in the traditional court system. The program was funded, in part, by a Colorado Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) and a JAG Recovery Act award. For more information, search “Mental Health Court” at www.admhn.org.

View the pictures.

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About Arapahoe-Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN)

ADMHN is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe-Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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Four-legged “Christmas Miracle” bringing joy to those in need

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network offers animal-assisted activity in time for holidays

Note to editors: Moses and Elena Davis-Stenhouse will visit the Santa Fe House Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. Reporters can join them, or interviews can be coordinated at another time.

Englewood, Colo. (Dec 14, 2010) — A special guest is spreading cheer at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s Santa Fe House this holiday season, raising spirits with sloppy kisses, tail wags, and big, brown, Labrador eyes. Moses the “Christmas Pup” has become a much-loved regular visitor for residents of the transitional housing program, especially when they hear the tale of the black Lab’s traumatic past.

“We were getting ready to leave Santa Fe House one night, and a young man came up and said: Moses, I love you. You were once homeless, too,” said Elena Davis-Stenhouse, an ADMHN licensed clinical social worker, who launched this first-of-its-kind activity for the non-profit organization about two months ago. “It just hit me: This young man was really identifying with him. Moses is an inspirational, real-life story of how anyone can make something of their lives, no matter where it starts.”

Although Moses’ little life got off to a horrendous start, he is now a certified Animal-Assisted Therapy dog certified by the American Humane Association. He joins a growing number of four-legged workers who are helping residents in many settings across Denver cope, grow and heal. As studies continue to find benefits of human-animal interaction, such as lowered blood pressure, decreased anxiety and increased motivation, the field continues to grow.

Moses’ iffy start changed on the afternoon of Christmas Eve 2004. Davis-Stenhouse, late for an appointment in Denver, spotted something on the side of the road as she whizzed by on Santa Fe Drive. Today, she knows just seeing Moses was miraculous. But the fact that the nearly lifeless pup, ravaged with wounds and looking skeleton-like, survived to become the people-loving, energetic, 85-pound therapy dog he is today makes him her Christmas miracle.

“The second I saw him, I was just aghast,” Davis-Stenhouse said. “I never saw a dog look more hideous in my life. When I picked him up, he was just motionless. But as I put him in my arms, I had this surge. It was like my heart just went out to him. I just knew he needed love.”

Even the vet, who saw Moses shortly after his rescue and guessed the pup had been surviving on his own in Douglas County Open Space for at least a month, didn’t think he would make it. But the love of the Davis-Stenhouse family, along with a touch of holiday spirit on that Christmas Eve, provided the resuscitation Moses needed.

“It was so amazing. The whole family just came together, and he was everything that night. Somebody put a Christmas bow on him, and we just took turns sitting next to him,” Davis-Stenhouse said. “He was like a little sponge just soaking in the love.”

Soon, Davis-Stenhouse decided that, like his biblical namesake, also abandoned as a baby, Moses was meant to do something special. “I just saw how incredibly loving he was to every single person he’d meet.” So she found the animal-assisted training program at the American Humane Association (whose more than 200 animal-assisted teams touched more than 120,000 lives across the country last year), and the loyal and loving Moses “passed with flying colors.”

Today, he’s making a difference at the Santa Fe House, where residents who suffer from serious mental illness are trying to transition back into society,” Davis-Stenhouse said. Some of them were homeless; many of them came from jail, she said.

“For them, Moses provides inspiration. They can empathize with him,” Davis-Stenhouse said. “He gives them unconditional love, non-judgmental acceptance and real physical touch that a lot of these folks don’t get. He is a gift.”

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN)

ADMHN is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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Festive fun or frustration? Untangle your feelings and ward off the blues this holiday season

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network offers free anonymous online depression screenings

Englewood, Colo. (Dec 7, 2010) — Holiday stresses are inevitable. They might be expected — the always-hard-to-buy-for Aunt Gertrude on your gift list — or unexpected — a snarled string of lights when you flip the top off the decoration box. Regardless of what or how you celebrate, the stresses are always there, just as sure as the holiday season.

Sometimes the pressures can sink a person into the holiday blues, a normal occurrence if it’s occasional and fleeting. But when depression, stress and anxiety continually eat away at your festive plans, it can signal depressive disorder, a common yet serious mental illness with life-disrupting symptoms that last two weeks or more.

Keep the sparkle in your season this year. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) offers free depression screenings on its Web site, with counselors ready to offer holiday-blues-banishing advice. Their chief tip? Don’t strive for perfection.

“Have realistic expectations during the holidays,” says Laurie Elliott, ADMHN clinical director. “Things will probably never be perfect, and they don’t need to be. Remember the true meaning of the holiday spirit. Instead of striving to do it all, slow down and keep it simple. More than anything else, your family and friends just want to spend some memorable time with you.”

Take the anonymous self-assessment at www.admhn.org by selecting “Free Mental Health Online Screening” on the right-hand side of the page. The series of questions can help determine if you are suffering from depression and could benefit from talking to a health professional.

Many people with depression never seek help, but thanks to dedicated research, proven treatment methods are available. As with most diseases, the earlier the treatment begins, the more effective it is and the better the chance for recovery.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, founded in 1955, is a private, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services to individuals of all ages. ADMHN has nine locations throughout the south metro area. For more information and to get on the mailing list for next year’s event, call 303 779 9676.

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About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN)

ADMHN is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 6th Annual “Raising Spirits” Wine Tasting and Auction Raised $29,000 to Help Those Needing Mental Health Services

Englewood, Colo. (Nov 8, 2010) — More than 200 people helped “raise spirits” by raising $29,000 at the Oct 21st fundraiser, when Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s hosted its 6th annual “Raising Spirits Wine Tasting and Auction” at The Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia, Proceeds from the event will provide critically needed mental health and substance abuse treatment services to low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

“The monies raised at this annual event will be dedicated to providing care for those right in our community who otherwise might not receive services,” said Scott Thoemke, executive director and CEO. “In this economic climate, such services are more desperately needed than ever before.”

Sponsors of the event were Citywide Banks and Lukas Liquor Superstore, as well as Behavioral HealthCare Inc., City of Glendale, IREA (Intermountain Rural Electric Association), ARA-Justin Hunt, Elite Environmental Services, Aurora Mental Health Center and Kaiser Permanente.

The fundraiser, with its usual creative mix of experiential auction items, encouraged people to try new experiences – such as indoor skydiving, scuba diving, tennis, golf, flying and more!

Auctioneer and Senator Tom Wiens conducted the live auction, tempting the audience with experiences such as a four-day trip to Sonoma Wine Country complete with wine tours and chauffer, an hour-long United Airlines flight simulation session, and a foursome of golf at the beautiful Sanctuary Golf Course.

Guests enjoyed an abundant assortment of domestic and imported wines and a variety of hors d’oeuvres and desserts, while enjoying the laid-back jazz of the Peneplain Trio.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, founded in 1955, is a private, non-profit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services to individuals of all ages. ADMHN has nine locations throughout the south metro area. For more information and to get on the mailing list for next year’s event, call 303 779 9676.

# # #

About Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN)

ADMHN is a private, nonprofit 501 (c) (3) corporation providing professional, comprehensive behavioral health care and substance abuse treatment primarily, but not exclusively, serving the communities of Arapahoe and Douglas Counties. We offer programs for adults, seniors, families, couples and children. These services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services to the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school and school-based services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has an on-site pharmacy. We offer community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau.

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