Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to Host 10th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon Featuring Author Peter Earley

Pete Earley to share his family’s struggle
to find meaningful help for his son with bipolar disorder.

Englewood, Colo. (Oct 1, 2010) — Keynote speaker Pete Earley, renowned journalist, spy and crime writer, and author of Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness (Crazy), will deliver the keynote address at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 10th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon. The fundraiser will be held on Thursday, May 12th at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center in Englewood, CO. Proceeds from the event will benefit local low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals in critical need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

Beginning at the 11a.m. reception, Earley will greet guests and autograph copies of Crazy, which will be available for sale along with several of his other 12 books.

Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. April Zesbaugh, co-anchor of 850KOA Colorado’s Morning News, will introduce keynote speaker Pete Early. A former Washington Post journalist and national best-selling author, Earley will share his family’s struggle to help his son after he became ill with bipolar disorder and was arrested for taking a bubble bath in a neighbor’s home. Earley will use his personal story to illustrate the need to provide meaningful help for those with mental illness, the challenges of navigating some of the mental health and criminal justice systems in the U.S., and successful community models.

Individual tickets are $75. Sponsorships are available by contacting Carolyn Moershel at 303 793 9601. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, 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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Nonprofit Offers Proven “Mental Health First Aid” Workshop

Englewood, Colo. (Oct 1, 2010) — Using a rolled-up sheet of paper as a makeshift megaphone, Monica Lujan holds one end near Sylvia Ramey’s ear and whispers: “Don’t listen to him. Don’t trust him. He’s out to get you.” Lujan continues her incessant barrage, repeating these and similar negative messages for only Ramey to hear.

Mental Health First Aid Class

The Mental Health First Aid class is a 16-hour workshop.

Almost immediately, Ramey’s wide smile, directed at a fellow workshop member with whom she has been chatting, begins to fade. Her once-lively side of a conversation with him, complete with grins and hand gestures, becomes clipped, dull. Her hand gestures stop, and her eyes twitch, as her irritation from the relentless voice increasingly shows.

During the short hearing-voices exercise, focused on teaching people how people with this psychiatric symptom feel, participants were told to ignore the whispers and carry on their conversations unabated. It was one small part in a groundbreaking workshop on Mental Health First Aid held recently by the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. More workshops are planned, as the non-profit organization joins a growing, nationwide effort aimed at teaching the public that mental illnesses are real, treatable, and amenable to first aid.

Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Mental Health First Aid Workshop

Based on clinical research and promoted by the National Council for Community Behavioural Healthcare, the workshop teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance-use disorders. In the 12-hour workshop, delivered in either two or four sessions, many psychiatric disorders, including statistics, symptoms, and myths surrounding it, are covered.

“The hearing-voices exercise is powerful,” said instructor Julie Hoffman, adding that the entire, interactive program is well thought out and full of compelling exercises and information. “Every time I do this training, I see light-bulbs go off. People say things like: ‘Wow, I didn’t know that. I didn’t understand that. Now I can relate to my brother better,’” said Hoffman, a case manager at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. “If we can reach people and educate them, we can make a big difference in helping people with mental illness and emotional challenges.”

Many of the recent workshop-goers, who ranged from youth basketball coaches and education administrators to sexual-abuse counselors, said the statistics were even more surprising than the exercise in empathy.

In any given year, more than one-quarter of the adult population, or about 57 million Americans, lives with a diagnosable mental-health disorder, said Bock, a licensed professional counselor. And only one percent of that large number suffers from the most-publicized, often-sensationalized psychotic disorder called schizophrenia, in which one of the symptoms can be hearing voices, she said.

Much as medical first-aid programs are focused on teaching people to identify and respond to physical life-threatening situations, Mental Health First Aid teaches people to recognize and respond to emotional and psychiatric crises in other people. The workshop also helps to dispel common myths and misperceptions surrounding mental illness, Bock said.

Participants share with the instructor

Participants share with the instructor in this participatory course

“For instance, many people think mentioning suicide will put the idea into someone’s mind and should be taboo, or that if someone talks about suicide, then they aren’t serious about it,” she said. “Both are dangerously false.” Participants learn how to discuss suicide with a depressed person – an act that could in itself prevent a tragedy. And they learn how to provide initial help to a person showing symptoms of mental illness or in a mental health crisis, such as severe depression or psychosis, until appropriate professional or other help can be arranged.

“I’m learning tools that I can apply to everyday situations,” said Roosevelt Leslie, a wellness liaison with Behavioural HealthCare, Inc. On the job, depression and anxiety are often coupled with his target issues, such as weight, fitness, nutrition and smoking cessation. And his new skills even translate to home life, said the father of two. “We’re learning how to listen without being judgmental, and you can use that in any relationship, including with kids and spouses.”

Ramey, a senior administrative clerk with Head Start, hopes her new knowledge will help her communicate with her daughter through the often angst-filled teenage years, and help her raise awareness about mental-illness among parents and teachers on the job.

The Mental Health First Aid concept originated in Australia 10 years ago, and is rapidly expanding in the United States and other countries. In other states, some school districts and criminal-justice systems are mandating the workshop for employees.

Mental Health First Aid workshop participants

The pace of the course is quick and the content is interesting

“We think this will be huge,” Bock said of the nationwide effort to make mental-health first aid as common as medical first aid. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has already held workshops with professional groups, such as criminal-justice workers, and plans to expand to groups community-wide.

“Knowing mental-health first aid is just as important as knowing CPR,” Bock said. “It can reduce stigma, because you fear what you don’t understand, and lead people to help fellow community members, rather than run away. It can prevent many crises and save lives,” she said.

The next Mental Health First Aid sessions are scheduled for February and April 2011. For more information and to register for a workshop at the cost of $25, contact Arapahoe Douglas Mental Health Network at 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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9th Annual Mental Health Luncheon to benefit low-income and uninsured in need of mental health services

Keynote Jennifer Ayers-Moore, sister of the musician portrayed in the movie The Soloist,
will share her family’s journey dealing with schizophrenia.

Englewood, Colo. (April 21, 2010) — Keynote speaker Jennifer Ayers-Moore, sister of Nathaniel Ayers, the talented musician portrayed in the book and film The Soloist, will deliver the keynote address at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 9th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon on May 13th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center in Englewood, CO. The theme of the event is The Art of Recovery. Proceeds from the event will benefit local low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals in critical need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

Beginning at 11a.m., Ayers-Moore will greet guests and sign copies of the DVD The Soloist, which will be available for purchase. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Ayers-Moore will relate how her brother’s schizophrenia changed not only Nathaniel’s life – from Julliard scholar to homeless street musician – and her family’s life as well. She’ll share what she is doing to help reduce stigma and advocate for those with mental illness—especially for those who are artistically inclined.

Sponsors include Citywide Banks, Haven Behavioral Senior Care, Lockton Inc, Behavioral HealthCare Inc, Arapahoe and Douglas Boards of County Commissioners, Arapahoe House, Aurora Mental Health Center , Cherry Creek School District, City of Glendale, Community Reach Center, Intermountain Rural Electric Association, Kaiser Permanente, NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties, Rocky Mountain Institute and Signal Behavioral Health Network, Inc.

Tickets are $75 online. For more information, call 303 779 9676.

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Jennifer Ayers-Moore is available for interview prior to the luncheon. To schedule, contact Meryl Glickman at 303 793 9602.

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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Support Available for Coping with Reactions to Deer Creek Middle School Shooting

How Adults Can Help Children and Youth Through Difficult Times

Englewood, Colo. (February 24, 2010) — Some people may experience physical and emotional reactions to the recent shooting at Deer Creek Middle School yesterday. To help people through this difficult time, counseling, referrals, and education are available through Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, the nonprofit mental health center serving our local community for more than 50 years.

During difficult times such at this, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and those close to you. Children are particularly vulnerable to exposure to traumatic events and they have different ways of expressing their reaction and may need some special help to cope.

Adults Can Help Children and Youth Through Difficult Times

Be open to your children’s questions, keeping in mind their age and level of understanding. Share some of your own feelings about it. It is not necessary to go into too many details. Children and teens need to feel informed when they see their parents and other adults reacting to a crisis.

  • Encourage children and teens to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to ask what your child has heard and how they feel about it.
  • Limit television viewing of news reports, particularly for younger children.
  • Let children know that tragic incidents are not common and that, day-to-day, schools are safe places.
  • Spend extra time with your children and your family. Hugs help!
  • If you are concerned about your reaction or that of someone you know, talk to someone you trust…a friend, family member, school counselor, clergy, physician, local mental health center or your own mental health professional.

 

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Bridge House Is Now the Only Licensed Acute Treatment Unit for Acute Psychiatric Care in Metro Denver

The new unit provides a lower-cost solution to the critical shortage
of psychiatric beds in Colorado.

Englewood, Colo. (December 8, 2009) — Denver metro residents now have more options for the treatment of acute psychiatric episodes, with the new licensure of Bridge House as an Acute Treatment Unit (ATU).

Bridge House Acute Treatment Unit is a secure, locked facility operated by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN). With its new license, Bridge House can now admit individuals who are required to undergo a 72-hour mental health hold1 — an involuntary evaluation to determine if they need further treatment and/or an involuntary stay at a psychiatric treatment facility. Previously, only psychiatric hospitals could provide this service to area residents — often at considerably greater expense, and with very limited availability.

Located in Littleton, Bridge House has 16 beds for adults in need of acute psychiatric care and crisis stabilization. Individuals treated here typically are experiencing either a severe mental health crisis for the first time, or a flare-up of an existing mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. Bridge House provides a structured, clinically focused treatment program with case management, psychiatric evaluation, medical management, licensed therapist interventions and daily psychiatric nursing care. Therapeutic interventions are provided around the clock, as are admissions and discharges. Psychiatrists are available 24 hours a day for consultation, and conduct thorough psychiatric evaluations and daily rounds. Bridge House adheres to stringent documentation standards and places a strong emphasis on coordinated care.

While patients at Bridge House receive all needed services, treatment can be more cost-effective than other options: a typical stay in Bridge House is about 60 percent of the cost of a typical hospital stay. As such, Bridge House is an attractive option for insurers and consumers alike.

Bridge House is helping to relieve the critical shortage of
acute psychiatric beds in Colorado.

In recent years, the Denver metro area has seen a severe reduction in the number of psychiatric beds available for people who are experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Psychiatric units in local hospitals have closed and 59 beds at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan were recently eliminated due to state budget cuts. The situation has reached a critical stage: Colorado has the lowest psychiatric bed count in the nation: just 11.8 psychiatric beds for every 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 30.2

The new Bridge House ATU — the only ATU in the Denver metro area and one of only four ATUs in the state — is helping to relieve this critical shortage.

Nationwide, ATUs are becoming a preferred choice for providing psychiatric care for those in crisis. They are typically found in community settings and offer a pleasant atmosphere for both clients and visitors. Bridge House is located next to the Carson Nature Center, and clients and visitors enjoy views of the Colorado Rockies. “We know that environment plays an important role in the recovery process,” says Scott Thoemke, Executive Director and CEO of ADMHN. “Bridge House provides a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere that enhances the recovery process.”

The new licensure is the culmination of a nine-month long effort by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. Last year, we realized the community was in critical need of more options for acute psychiatric treatment, as well as more cost-effective options. We began the rigorous process of securing the ATU licensure, which included a significant commitment of staff time and resources to meet state requirements for the facility (at a cost of nearly $80,000); the creation of comprehensive policies and procedures; and the provision of extensive staff training. Bridge House staff increased from 13 to 22 people.

In addition to its new status as an Acute Treatment Unit, Bridge House continues to offer a 23-hour observation service to determine if admission to the ATU or a higher level of care is required, as well as longer-term stays.

1. A mental health hold can be administered only by certain professionals: physicians, licensed psychologists, advanced practice nurses, licensed therapists, and law enforcement.
2. Source: American College of Emergency Physicians.

 

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Available for Interview

ADMHN Executive Director and CEO Scott Thoemke is available to discuss the implications of Bridge House’s new status, its importance to the community, the critical shortage of psychiatric beds in Colorado and the Denver metro area, and why ATUs are rapidly becoming a preferred choice in providing psychiatric care for those in crisis.

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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Offers Free Monthly Parenting Classes for Foster and Adoptive Parents

Englewood, Colo. (November 2, 2009) Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network will host free monthly parenting classes for foster and adoptive parents, beginning Nov. 9.

The interactive classes are designed to help parents with some of the unique challenges of raising foster children and children who have been adopted. Resources will be shared and parents will learn from experts and other parents alike. Topics presented through July 2010 include Grief and Loss, Trauma, Attachment, Social Skills, Anger/Emotions, Discipline, Culture and Crisis Intervention. Foster parents can receive two credit hours per class towards foster care license maintenance.

Classes meet one Monday per month (typically the second Monday of the month) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (155 Inverness Drive West, Englewood, 80112). Childcare is available for a nominal fee. For more information and to register call 303 797 9432.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services for individuals of all ages. ADMHN has 10 locations throughout the south metro area.

 

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Free Separation & Divorce Class Offered by Turning Points

Englewood, Colo. (July 2, 2009) A free class on Separation & Divorce will be offered by Turning Points, A Counseling and Psychiatric Practice, on Monday, July 13 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. at its Inverness location, 155 Inverness Dr. West, Englewood.

The class is open to those in the community who are going through a separation or divorce. Learn practical ways to cope with changes brought on by divorce, and discuss appropriate ways to manage your emotions and actively take control of the situation. To register for the class, call 303 779 9676.

Instructor Yael Shuman, LMFT (Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist), is a therapist at Turning Points and focuses her practice on individual and family counseling, separation and divorce, depression and stress management. She has been practicing for more than a decade.

Turning Points, a program of Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, is a counseling and psychiatric practice geared to adults, children and families throughout the metro area seeking services for emotional challenges such as depression, anxiety, marriage and family counseling, parenting help and other mental health disorders. Turning Points provides numerous free educational programs to the community.

To view all the educational programs offered by Turning Points as well as Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, visit our list of classes.

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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5th Annual “Raising Spirits” Wine Tasting and Auction

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network will raise money to provide desperately needed mental health and substance abuse treatment services to uninsured and underinsured individuals.


Englewood, Colo. (June 24, 2009)
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) will host its 5th Annual “Raising Spirits” Wine Tasting and Auction on Oct. 8, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at The Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia. Proceeds from the event will provide mental health and substance abuse treatment services to uninsured and underinsured individuals in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

Why do we do this? We are all touched by mental illness in some way. There’s a good chance that you – or someone you know – will experience an emotional or behavioral challenge at some point, and that has a ripple effect on the family, neighborhood and community. If you or someone you know is struggling with loss, alcohol, drugs … or just the everyday emotional challenges of life, Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network can help. This fundraising event helps to “raise the spirits” of those who can’t afford services.

Join us for a fun evening of wine sampling and shopping. Guests will be treated to an abundant assortment of domestic and imported wines and a variety of hors d’oeuvres and desserts. The silent auction features a variety of once-in-a-lifetime experiences and unique gift items and holiday baskets.

Individual tickets are $50. For more information, to view a video of a past “Raising Spirits”, and to purchase tickets online, visit www.admhn.org. Tickets are also available at 303 779 9676. For sponsorship opportunities contact Carolyn Moershel at cmoershel@admhn.org . The Sanctuary, located at 7549 Daniels Park Rd., offers free, on-site parking.

 

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to Host 8th Annual Benefit Luncheon Featuring Author Augusten Burroughs

Englewood, Colo. (March 17, 2009) Augusten Burroughs, author of Running with Scissors, Dry and A Wolf at the Table, will deliver the keynote address at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s (ADMHN) 8th annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon on May 8 at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center.

Beginning at 11 a.m., Burroughs will greet guests and sign copies of all his books, including his memoir, Running with Scissors, the New York Times bestseller. All his books will be available for sale.

Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. It will be followed by Burroughs’ honest, yet humorous talk of his turbulent childhood, struggle with alcoholism, and life with his brother, John Elder Robinson, who grew up with Asperger’s (part of the autism spectrum) at a time when the diagnosis didn’t exist.

Individual tickets are $75. Sponsorships are available. Proceeds from the event and book sale will benefit uninsured and underinsured individuals in critical need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 303 779 9676 or admhn.org.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, not-for-profit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services for individuals of all ages. ADMHN has 11 locations throughout the south metro area to serve the mental health needs of our community.

 

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to Host Open House; Debut New Clinical Offices Feb. 26

Englewood, Colo. (February 10, 2009) Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) will host an Open House on Thurs., Feb. 26 to debut its clinical offices at its new administrative headquarters in Inverness Business Park. A new Child & Family Services office serves infants through 18-year-olds and offers individual and family counseling, group therapy, play therapy and treatment for adolescent substance abuse. Turning Points, A Couseling and Psychiatric Practice, serves adults who struggle with issues including depression, bi-polar disorder, grief & loss, relationships and parenting.

The Open House will be held from 4 – 7 p.m. at 155 Inverness Drive West, Englewood. A dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony will begin at 5 p.m. Enjoy harp music, hors d’oeuvres and beverages. Visit with ADMHN staff, administrators, board members and therapists. Representatives with National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI – Arapahoe Douglas) and Empower will be there. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is located on the corner of E. Dry Creek Rd., and Inverness Dr. W. To RSVP please call 303 779 9676 or visit admhn.org.

 

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Expands Clinical Services; Moves Administration Headquarters to Inverness Business Park

Englewood, Colo. (January 29, 2009) Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) has expanded its array of mental health services with the opening of two clinical offices at its new administrative headquarters in Inverness Business Park.

Services offered at the Inverness location include a new Child & Family Services office that provides mental health counseling and treatment services for infants through 18-year-olds and their families. Individual and group therapy; family therapy; play therapy; Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) counseling, and adolescent substance abuse treatment services are offered. Medicaid and most private insurances are accepted.

Turning Points, A Counseling and Psychiatric Practice, also has opened a second office at the Inverness site. Turning Points, a program of ADMHN, is a private-practice model geared to adults needing mental health treatment services for issues including, depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety, marriage and family counselling and parenting help. Private insurance and self payment are accepted.

The move to Inverness allows ADMHN to increase mental health services and be more accessible to people in its service area, especially those who reside in eastern Arapahoe County and Douglas County. “We serve a number of families within the Cherry Creek school system and this location east of I-25 is more convenient for them,” said Scott Thoemke, executive director and CEO, ADMHN. Another draw is our location next to the RTD Dry Creek Light Rail Station, which makes it easy for those who use public transportation.”

The 45,000 square-foot, three-story building also houses ADMHN’s administration offices, executive team, human resources, development, marketing and public relations, accounting and information services. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network rents space to affiliate healthcare organizations Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., and InNET, plus other tenants. The Arapahoe/Douglas chapter of National Alliance for the Mentally Ill (NAMI) enjoys donated space on the 2nd floor.

ADMHN, founded in 1955, is a private, nonprofit organization that provides mental health and substance abuse treatment services for individuals of all ages. ADMHN has 11 locations including Littleton, Parker and Castle Rock. For more information, visit admhn.org.

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network to Host “Raising Spirits” Wine Tasting and Auction

Englewood, Colo. (September 23, 2008) – Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN) will host its fourth annual “Raising Spirits” Wine Tasting and Auction on Thurs., Oct. 23 from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at The Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia. Proceeds from the event will provide mental health and substance abuse treatment services to uninsured and underinsured individuals in Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

Attendees can bid on a variety of once–in-a-lifetime experiences guaranteed to get the heart pumping. New auction items this year are a one-hour training for two people on United Airlines’ Flight Simulator; a session with the Douglas County Tactical Team, and a training riding session with Lone Tree motorcycle police. Other auction items include “tea for two” at The Brown Palace Hotel, hands-on science experiments donated by Steve Spangler Science, a chance to spend the day with the brewmaster at New Belgium Brewery and more. A short live auction with auctioneer Gary Corbett will feature an African Safari, a foursome of golf at The Sanctuary and other exciting items.

Guests can sample an abundant assortment of domestic and imported wines, provided by Davidsons Liquors and a variety of hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Individual tickets cost $50. For more information and to purchase tickets call 303 779 9676. For sponsorship opportunities contact Carolyn Moershel at cmoershel@admhn.org. The Sanctuary, located at 7549 Daniels Park Rd., offers free, on-site parking.

 

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Olympic Diver Greg Louganis to Speak At Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 7th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon

Centennial, Colo. (April 21, 2008) – Olympic diver and gold medalist Greg Louganis will deliver the keynote address at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s (ADMHN) 7th annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon on May 22 at the Inverness Hotel & conference Center.

Louganis will greet guests and sign copies of his book, Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story at 11 a.m. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. and will be followed by Greg’s inspiring message of tolerance and understanding as he shares his struggles with HIV, and his experience with domestic violence, dyslexia and substance abuse.

Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter will present two awards during the event. Individual tickets are $75. Proceeds from the event will benefit uninsured and underinsured individuals in need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services. For more information or to purchase tickets, 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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Can you predict when someone will become violent?

It is tempting and reassuring for us to try to identify some predictable explanation for violent behavior that is often random and senseless. However, predicting who will act violently is complex.
 
Saying mental illness is the cause of violence can be a knee-jerk explanation for violence.  In fact, studies show that mental illness is not a strong predictor of violence in itself. Statistically, people with serious mental illness, without other big risk factors, are no more violent than most people.
 
Researchers instead blame a combination of factors, specifically;
- Substance abuse and a history of violent acts. Substance abuse symptoms significantly raise the rate of violence with or without mental illness.
 
Other factors may include:
younger age
a history of violence
male gender
history of juvenile detention
divorce or separation in the past year
history of physical abuse
parental abuse
unemployment in the last year
being a victim of crime in the past year, etc
The only reliable predictor of violence is a history of violence.
As inviting as it may be to blame an individual with mental illness for violence, this does a grave injustice to most of the people with serious mental illness who live in our communities and who pose no threat to themselves or others.
What are some of the warning signs of possible violent behavior?  
history of violence
use of substances
thoughts or statements of suicide or wanting to harm others
drastic change in behavior
severe agitation

As a public service to the community, there are free online mental health screenings at www.admhn.org .

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

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.

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

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.”

download the pdf >

# # #

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

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.

download the pdf >

# # #

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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6th Annual “Raising Spirits” Wine Tasting and Auction Raised $29,000 to Help Those Needing Mental Health Services

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.

download the pdf >

# # #

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 to Host 10th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon Featuring Author Peter Earley

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
to Host 10th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon
Featuring Author Peter Earley

Pete Earley to share his family’s struggle
to find meaningful help for his son with bipolar disorder.

Englewood, Colo. (Oct 1, 2010) — Keynote speaker Pete Earley, renowned journalist, spy and crime writer, and author of Crazy: A Father’s Search Through America’s Mental Health Madness (Crazy), will deliver the keynote address at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 10th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon. The fundraiser will be held on Thursday, May 12th at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center in Englewood, CO. Proceeds from the event will benefit local low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals in critical need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

Beginning at the 11a.m. reception, Earley will greet guests and autograph copies of Crazy, which will be available for sale along with several of his other 12 books.

Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. April Zesbaugh, co-anchor of 850KOA Colorado’s Morning News, will introduce keynote speaker Pete Early. A former Washington Post journalist and national best-selling author, Earley will share his family’s struggle to help his son after he became ill with bipolar disorder and was arrested for taking a bubble bath in a neighbor’s home. Earley will use his personal story to illustrate the need to provide meaningful help for those with mental illness, the challenges of navigating some of the mental health and criminal justice systems in the U.S., and successful community models.

Individual tickets are $75. Sponsorships are available by contacting Carolyn Moershel at 303 793 9601. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, call 303 779 9676.

download the pdf >

# # #

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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NONPROFIT OFFERING PROVEN “MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID” WORKSHOP

NONPROFIT OFFERING PROVEN “MENTAL HEALTH FIRST AID” WORKSHOP

Englewood, Colo. (Oct 1, 2010) — Using a rolled-up sheet of paper as a makeshift megaphone, Monica Lujan holds one end near Sylvia Ramey’s ear and whispers: “Don’t listen to him. Don’t trust him. He’s out to get you.” Lujan continues her incessant barrage, repeating these and similar negative messages for only Ramey to hear.

Almost immediately, Ramey’s wide smile, directed at a fellow workshop member with whom she has been chatting, begins to fade. Her once-lively side of a conversation with him, complete with grins and hand gestures, becomes clipped, dull. Her hand gestures stop, and her eyes twitch, as her irritation from the relentless voice increasingly shows.

During the short hearing-voices exercise, focused on teaching people how people with this psychiatric symptom feel, participants were told to ignore the whispers and carry on their conversations unabated. It was one small part in a groundbreaking workshop on Mental Health First Aid held recently by the Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. More workshops are planned, as the non-profit organization joins a growing, nationwide effort aimed at teaching the public that mental illnesses are real, treatable, and amenable to first aid.

Based on clinical research and promoted by the National Council for Community Behavioural Healthcare, the workshop teaches participants to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance-use disorders. In the 12-hour workshop, delivered in either two or four sessions, many psychiatric disorders, including statistics, symptoms, and myths surrounding it, are covered.

“The hearing-voices exercise is powerful,” said instructor Julie Hoffman, adding that the entire, interactive program is well thought out and full of compelling exercises and information. “Every time I do this training, I see light-bulbs go off. People say things like: ‘Wow, I didn’t know that. I didn’t understand that. Now I can relate to my brother better,’” said Hoffman, a case manager at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. “If we can reach people and educate them, we can make a big difference in helping people with mental illness and emotional challenges.”

Many of the recent workshop-goers, who ranged from youth basketball coaches and education administrators to sexual-abuse counselors, said the statistics were even more surprising than the exercise in empathy.

In any given year, more than one-quarter of the adult population, or about 57 million Americans, lives with a diagnosable mental-health disorder, said Bock, a licensed professional counselor. And only one percent of that large number suffers from the most-publicized, often-sensationalized psychotic disorder called schizophrenia, in which one of the symptoms can be hearing voices, she said.

Much as medical first-aid programs are focused on teaching people to identify and respond to physical life-threatening situations, Mental Health First Aid teaches people to recognize and respond to emotional and psychiatric crises in other people. The workshop also helps to dispel common myths and misperceptions surrounding mental illness, Bock said.

“For instance, many people think mentioning suicide will put the idea into someone’s mind and should be taboo, or that if someone talks about suicide, then they aren’t serious about it,” she said. “Both are dangerously false.” Participants learn how to discuss suicide with a depressed person – an act that could in itself prevent a tragedy. And they learn how to provide initial help to a person showing symptoms of mental illness or in a mental health crisis, such as severe depression or psychosis, until appropriate professional or other help can be arranged.

“I’m learning tools that I can apply to everyday situations,” said Roosevelt Leslie, a wellness liaison with Behavioural HealthCare, Inc. On the job, depression and anxiety are often coupled with his target issues, such as weight, fitness, nutrition and smoking cessation. And his new skills even translate to home life, said the father of two. “We’re learning how to listen without being judgmental, and you can use that in any relationship, including with kids and spouses.”

Ramey, a senior administrative clerk with Head Start, hopes her new knowledge will help her communicate with her daughter through the often angst-filled teenage years, and help her raise awareness about mental-illness among parents and teachers on the job.

The Mental Health First Aid concept originated in Australia 10 years ago, and is rapidly expanding in the United States and other countries. In other states, some school districts and criminal-justice systems are mandating the workshop for employees.

“We think this will be huge,” Bock said of the nationwide effort to make mental-health first aid as common as medical first aid. Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network has already held workshops with professional groups, such as criminal-justice workers, and plans to expand to groups community-wide.

“Knowing mental-health first aid is just as important as knowing CPR,” Bock said. “It can reduce stigma, because you fear what you don’t understand, and lead people to help fellow community members, rather than run away. It can prevent many crises and save lives,” she said.

The next Mental Health First Aid sessions are scheduled for February and April 2011. For more information and to register for a workshop at the cost of $25, contact Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 7799676.

download the pdf >

# # #

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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9th Annual Mental Health Luncheon to benefit low-income and uninsured in need of mental health services

9th Annual Mental Health Luncheon
to benefit low-income and uninsured in need of mental health services

Keynote Jennifer Ayers-Moore, sister of the musician portrayed in the movie The Soloist,
will share her family’s journey dealing with schizophrenia.

Englewood, Colo. (April 21, 2010) — Keynote speaker Jennifer Ayers-Moore, sister of Nathaniel Ayers, the talented musician portrayed in the book and film The Soloist, will deliver the keynote address at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network’s 9th Annual Mental Health Benefit Luncheon on May 13th, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m., at the Inverness Hotel & Conference Center in Englewood, CO. The theme of the event is The Art of Recovery. Proceeds from the event will benefit local low-income, uninsured and underinsured individuals in critical need of mental health and substance abuse treatment services.

Beginning at 11a.m., Ayers-Moore will greet guests and sign copies of the DVD The Soloist, which will be available for purchase. Lunch begins at 11:30 a.m. Ayers-Moore will relate how her brother’s schizophrenia changed not only Nathaniel’s life – from Julliard scholar to homeless street musician – and her family’s life as well. She’ll share what she is doing to help reduce stigma and advocate for those with mental illness—especially for those who are artistically inclined.

Sponsors include Citywide Banks, Haven Behavioral Senior Care, Lockton Inc, Behavioral HealthCare Inc, Arapahoe and Douglas Boards of County Commissioners, Arapahoe House, Aurora Mental Health Center , Cherry Creek School District, City of Glendale, Community Reach Center, Intermountain Rural Electric Association, Kaiser Permanente, NAMI Arapahoe/Douglas Counties, Rocky Mountain Institute and Signal Behavioral Health Network, Inc.

Tickets are $75 online. For more information, call 303 779 9676.

# # #

Jennifer Ayers-Moore is available for interview prior to the luncheon. To schedule, contact Meryl Glickman at 303 793 9602.

download the pdf >

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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Support Available for Coping with Reactions to Deer Creek Middle School Shooting

Support Available for Coping with Reactions to
Deer Creek Middle School Shooting

How Adults Can Help Children and Youth Through Difficult Times

Englewood, Colo. (February 24, 2010) — Some people may experience physical and emotional reactions to the recent shooting at Deer Creek Middle School yesterday. To help people through this difficult time, counseling, referrals, and education are available through Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, the nonprofit mental health center serving our local community for more than 50 years.

During difficult times such at this, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and those close to you. Children are particularly vulnerable to exposure to traumatic events and they have different ways of expressing their reaction and may need some special help to cope.

Adults Can Help Children and Youth Through Difficult Times

Be open to your children’s questions, keeping in mind their age and level of understanding. Share some of your own feelings about it. It is not necessary to go into too many details. Children and teens need to feel informed when they see their parents and other adults reacting to a crisis.

  • Encourage children and teens to talk about their concerns and to express their feelings. Some children may be hesitant to initiate such conversation, so you may want to ask what your child has heard and how they feel about it.
  • Limit television viewing of news reports, particularly for younger children.
  • Let children know that tragic incidents are not common and that, day-to-day, schools are safe places.
  • Spend extra time with your children and your family. Hugs help!
  • If you are concerned about your reaction or that of someone you know, talk to someone you trust…a friend, family member, school counselor, clergy, physician, local mental health center or your own mental health professional.

download the pdf >

# # #

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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Random Acts of Kindness for the New Year

by Alyce Duckworth, LCSW
Supervisor, Prince St. Academy,
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
January, 2010

In the midst of what will most likely be a barrage of New Year’s resolutions and self-improvement articles, I am hoping that this one would stand out a bit. Given the typical success rate of New Year’s resolutions, I may be overly optimistic, but for 2010 I’m looking at making changes that have a wider impact on our community. I’ve written before about the multi-faceted value of committing random acts of kindness, but the rippling effects of these acts are so powerful that I couldn’t resist making them a part of this year’s challenge for 2010.

One of the coolest things about random acts of kindness is that they get easier, even becoming habitual, the more they are practiced. I’m hoping all of you will take on my challenge over the next year, causing waves of kindness that wash back over you regularly. The following are some random acts of kindness suggestions that I’ve gathered over the years from some of the kindest people I know:

  • Take the time to genuinely compliment someone. Recently, I was at the pharmacy picking up prescriptions. When I complimented the pharmacist technician—telling him how the service I received from that particular pharmacy was always delivered in such a cheerful, efficient, fast, and helpful manner — he seemed overwhelmed. He said that my compliment made his day. A sincere compliment can go a long way for people in direct service roles, since they so often hear only the complaints and frustrations of their clientele.
  • Increase positive energy. . This can be as simple as passing on a joke to a fellow member of your community, or walking away from negativity and gossip instead of participating.
  • Be thoughtful. In the fast food times we live in, baking obviously takes time and thoughtfulness, especially if you make a person’s favorite food and surprise them with it. It’s also a low-cost way of making someone’s day!
  • Surprise someone with something they like. Not that long ago, I was having a really bad day. One of my colleagues noticed and surprised me with a fancy cup of coffee (one of my favorite pick-me-ups). It totally made my week!
  • Give someone with a small, thoughtful gift. For instance, one of my co-workers collects bears. She would likely be pleasantly surprised by a new one for her collection.
  • Do random favors. Pick up friends’ kids and babysit them so that the hardworking parents can take some time for themselves. One of my co-workers explained that she and her husband often take their nieces and nephews on a moment’s notice to give the adults a break — another low-cost/no-cost random act of kindness.
  • Make it anonymous. As I was asking about others’ favorite random acts of kindness, a colleague mentioned that such acts have a whole new dimension of fun when they are done anonymously. She said that she has had anonymous gifts left in her mailbox; this gives her an optimistic feeling about the good in all people.
  • Fulfill a need. This year, on the Child and Family Services team at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network, a multitude of donations made the holidays special for kids who normally would not have received gifts. Especially during the challenging times we are facing as a nation, there are always areas of need to which we can donate.
  • Unexpectedly take care of someone when they least expect it. One of my best examples of this is the de-icing and “de-snowing” the cars of co-workers or patrons. It’s so comforting to leave work after a long hard day, enter the dark cold parking lot, and realize that there’s one less chore to do before you get home.
  • Treat someone who really needs it. I just heard the story of one of our student mentors who was out in the community with a young person and accidentally found themselves at a coffee shop counter without the means to buy a a treat on a really cold day. A woman overheard the situation and insisted on purchasing items for both the mentor and the young person. The student and mentor are now currently planning on paying the random act of kindness forward to someone. A simple variation of this act is paying for the person’s order behind you at the drive-through.

For further ideas on random acts of kindness, visit operationnice.com

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Alyce Duckworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. If you would like more information regarding the subject matter of this article or on mental health issues in general, please call Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 730 8858.

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World Loss

by Alyce Duckworth, LCSW
Supervisor, Prince St. Academy,
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
January 18, 2010

January 11, 2010 marked a significant loss for the world. On this day, only one month shy of her 101st birthday, Miep Gies passed away quietly in the Netherlands, also the country of her birth. Although she was a humble person in life, her unwilling entrance into world-wide public awareness occurred with the publishing of The Secret Annex in 1947. That book, later to be called The Diary of Anne Frank, represented one of the first human faces given to the Jewish people, the most highly represented victims of the Holocaust during World War II. Since its publication, more than 60 years ago, millions of people have empathised, laughed, cried, grown, and mourned with Anne Frank as she wrote about the two years she spent in hiding from the Nazi authorities. Yet, the famous Diary would not be in existence today were it not for the courage of Miep Gies who, along with family members and friends, harbored and sustained Anne and seven others in a secret attic hideaway.

On August 4, 1944, the eight occupants sheltered by Miep were arrested and sent to concentration camps, where all but one – Anne’s father Otto – perished. When Otto and Miep were reunited at the end of the war, Miep revealed that she had been harboring Anne’s personal writings, later to be published as her Diary, ever since the siege on the Frank’s hiding place. This time, however, the undertaking was one hundred percent successful, and Anne’s words were liberated to live on after her, touching people across generations, nationalities, and experiences.

Miep Gies risked her life, and those of her loved ones, on a daily basis during the time she sheltered eight Jewish occupants and subsequently, the writings of an adolescent girl. Amazingly, in her grief and sense of immense failure after the hiding place that she had guarded was raided, she never read Anne’s diary. Miep protected the privacy of the young author until she delivered the pages into the hands of her father. Years later, in fact, she explained that she would have been forced to burn Anne’s diary if she had read its contents. The writings unintentionally inculcated those directly involved in the protection of eight Jews, a crime carrying severe subsequent punishment (often involving imprisonment at the concentration camps).

Despite actions that many consider heroic, Miep denied adamantly and repeatedly that she should be seen as a hero. She continued to deny her hero status after being Knighted by Queen Beatrix, and receiving the Yad Vashem medal (a recognition of those who resisted Nazi rule during the Holocaust, awarded by the Israeli and German governments).

As someone who sees the value of advocating for today’s youth, especially those who are further marginalized due to their circumstances, I admire Miep for preserving the incredible voice of a young girl, and inspiring kids all over the world who face difficulty in multiple forms. In 1994, she visited a group of high school students in Los Angeles County, California. Those students, much like Anne Frank herself, had come to public attention through what they wrote about their authentic experiences (documented in the book The Freedom Writer’s Diary, by Erin Gruwell & students (1999); and the movie Freedom Writers based on that book (2007)).

In her visits to America over the years, Miep went out of her way to speak primarily to kids. She knew that the young people of the world are capable of impacting their own lives and the lives of others through their words. With the knowledge that today’s youth are the last generation having the ability to meet and learn from Holocaust survivors, Miep also knew that kids have the ability to preserve history across generations with their words. Miep Gies knew that young people could find liberation, justice, and catharsis through the power of their words, touching many others along the way. Because she knew these things about the potential of our younger generation, many more of us the world over, know this as well..

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Alyce Duckworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at Arapahoe-Douglas Mental Health Network. If you would like more information regarding the subject matter of this article or on mental health issues in general, please call Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 730 8858.

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The Value of Community Service

by Alyce Duckworth, LCSW
Supervisor, Prince St. Academy,
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
December, 2009

Since the beginning of this semester, the students at Prince Street Academy have been participating in an ongoing community service project through South Suburban Parks and Recreation. Every Tuesday, accompanied by their teachers, the group sets out for a park in Littleton wearing donated work gloves and t-shirts that identify them as South Suburban Parks and Recreation (SSPR) volunteers. Depending on the weather conditions, layers of warmer clothing often cover their work shirts, but to passersbys, it’s obvious that the kids are hard at work maintaining the outdoor space.

The first time I visited the site of our community service project, I wasn’t sure what to expect. So many of the excited Prince Street Academy volunteers had told stories about their work and seemingly impossible feats involved in the project, that I had begun to assume the tales were merely “fish-that-got-away” braggadocio. What I saw in the first two hours of the trip was overwhelming and humbling. In a few months, our Prince Street Academy volunteers had practically rebuilt the bank running along one side of a large lake. The shoreline where students had been working was eroding away gradually. Left unchecked, the erosion would have eventually taken out a well-used path around the lake, which divided the water from the neighborhood homes.

Our team, made up of young people and adults from Prince Street Academy and our fearless leader Susan, from the recreation district, had accomplished an incredible amount of work, both in and out of the water. Huge rocks had been carried and pieced together, like a puzzle, in the water along the banks. The rocks were secured by even larger logs, staked into the lake bottom with six-foot-long piece of steel rebar. The makeshift banks were filled in with dirt, shovelled and transported by our team, and then covered with pallets containing grass seed. It was all protected temporarily by fencing. The public pathway extending around the lake had been completely cleared of overgrowth by the pruning shears of our group.

Perhaps even more important, the kids around me were excitedly competing for my attention. In fact, I don’t think I had ever seen them so enthused about “education.” They knew the names of birds, trees and plants. They could explain why they had engaged in specific work activities, and how each of those activities helped preserve the surrounding natural resources. Every single student, no matter how often they had fallen asleep at their desk in the classroom, was flushed with the pride of accomplishment – and wide awake. For many, this project constituted the first goal to which they had committed and followed-through to fruition. The visible products of their hours at work were all around us, and the results of their hard work indisputable. The power of the community service project as a whole was just as palpable.

Through the community service project, the kids from Prince Street Academy learned about teamwork, goal-setting, job skills, and the importance of giving back to their community. They obtained knowledge about conflict resolution, environmental resources, and the meaning of a “work ethic.” One of the students participating in the project explained, “I have never liked school. The only way I can learn anything is when I’m moving and working too. I’ve learned the most from open space [the community service project].” Another participant put it like this: “Open space was great in every way. I learned a lot from Susan, and I feel really good about how hard we all worked and what we achieved.”

I would like to recognize the hard work of the students and staff at Prince Street Academy, particularly teachers Nadine Gill and Ben Ottoson. We all extend our sincere gratitude to Susan Smith and South Suburban Parks and Recreation for their partnership with us. Thank you, Susan, for your unending patience, and the time you took to get to know each of us. You have been a teacher to all of us, and your lessons are invaluable.

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Alyce Duckworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. If you would like more information regarding the subject matter of this article or on mental health issues in general, please call Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 730 8858.

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Bridge House Is Now the Only Licensed Acute Treatment Unit for Acute Psychiatric Care in Metro Denver

Bridge House Is Now the Only Licensed Acute Treatment Unit for
Acute Psychiatric Care in Metro Denver

 

The new unit provides a lower-cost solution to the critical shortage
of psychiatric beds in Colorado.

Englewood, Colo. (December 8, 2009) — Denver metro residents now have more options for the treatment of acute psychiatric episodes, with the new licensure of Bridge House as an Acute Treatment Unit (ATU).

Bridge House Acute Treatment Unit is a secure, locked facility operated by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (ADMHN). With its new license, Bridge House can now admit individuals who are required to undergo a 72-hour mental health hold1 — an involuntary evaluation to determine if they need further treatment and/or an involuntary stay at a psychiatric treatment facility. Previously, only psychiatric hospitals could provide this service to area residents — often at considerably greater expense, and with very limited availability.

Located in Littleton, Bridge House has 16 beds for adults in need of acute psychiatric care and crisis stabilization. Individuals treated here typically are experiencing either a severe mental health crisis for the first time, or a flare-up of an existing mental illness such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or major depression. Bridge House provides a structured, clinically focused treatment program with case management, psychiatric evaluation, medical management, licensed therapist interventions and daily psychiatric nursing care. Therapeutic interventions are provided around the clock, as are admissions and discharges. Psychiatrists are available 24 hours a day for consultation, and conduct thorough psychiatric evaluations and daily rounds. Bridge House adheres to stringent documentation standards and places a strong emphasis on coordinated care.

While patients at Bridge House receive all needed services, treatment can be more cost-effective than other options: a typical stay in Bridge House is about 60 percent of the cost of a typical hospital stay. As such, Bridge House is an attractive option for insurers and consumers alike.

Bridge House is helping to relieve the critical shortage of
acute psychiatric beds in Colorado.

In recent years, the Denver metro area has seen a severe reduction in the number of psychiatric beds available for people who are experiencing a psychiatric crisis. Psychiatric units in local hospitals have closed and 59 beds at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Fort Logan were recently eliminated due to state budget cuts. The situation has reached a critical stage: Colorado has the lowest psychiatric bed count in the nation: just 11.8 psychiatric beds for every 100,000 people, compared to the national average of 30.2

The new Bridge House ATU — the only ATU in the Denver metro area and one of only four ATUs in the state — is helping to relieve this critical shortage.

Nationwide, ATUs are becoming a preferred choice for providing psychiatric care for those in crisis. They are typically found in community settings and offer a pleasant atmosphere for both clients and visitors. Bridge House is located next to the Carson Nature Center, and clients and visitors enjoy views of the Colorado Rockies. “We know that environment plays an important role in the recovery process,” says Scott Thoemke, Executive Director and CEO of ADMHN. “Bridge House provides a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere that enhances the recovery process.”

The new licensure is the culmination of a nine-month long effort by Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. Last year, we realized the community was in critical need of more options for acute psychiatric treatment, as well as more cost-effective options. We began the rigorous process of securing the ATU licensure, which included a significant commitment of staff time and resources to meet state requirements for the facility (at a cost of nearly $80,000); the creation of comprehensive policies and procedures; and the provision of extensive staff training. Bridge House staff increased from 13 to 22 people.

In addition to its new status as an Acute Treatment Unit, Bridge House continues to offer a 23-hour observation service to determine if admission to the ATU or a higher level of care is required, as well as longer-term stays.

1. A mental health hold can be administered only by certain professionals: physicians, licensed psychologists, advanced practice nurses, licensed therapists, and law enforcement.
2. Source: American College of Emergency Physicians.

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# # #

Available for Interview

ADMHN Executive Director and CEO Scott Thoemke is available to discuss the implications of Bridge House’s new status, its importance to the community, the critical shortage of psychiatric beds in Colorado and the Denver metro area, and why ATUs are rapidly becoming a preferred choice in providing psychiatric care for those in crisis.

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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Celebrating Gratitude

by Alyce Duckworth, LCSW
Supervisor, Prince St. Academy,
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
November, 2009

“Happiness is a journey, not a destination.” That is one of my all-time favorite quotes. It reminds me that happiness doesn’t magically arrive out of nowhere when we reach a final goal (such as a promotion, getting that degree, purchasing the next got-to-have-it toy, making more money, or going on vacation). Instead, happiness is a state of mind — in many cases, it is a conscious choice that we get to make daily, hourly, or even by the minute. Research tells me that one of the ways to be happy is to be happy on the journey, instead of always reaching for the elusive next horizon that represents happiness. That is, it is to be thankful on a daily basis for what we already have.

Speaking metaphorically, it’s difficult to see the brown cloud of smog when we focus on the mountains. That doesn’t mean that we should just ignore the smog. That wouldn’t be realistic. From time to time, we need to come down from the mountain and problem solve. We need to remove barriers that have arisen. Yet focusing on the many things that are already in our lives – for which we are grateful – is something we can try to do each day.

During this Thanksgiving season, when the nationwide economy continues to struggle, I believe, perhaps more than ever, in the power of being grateful. I asked some reliable sources about which particular Thanksgiving memories stand out in their minds. The memories range across people and cultures, ages, backgrounds, and spiritual beliefs. But, they all hold one very important thing in common: none of them focus on materialistic themes. Every single memory is about togetherness; helping others in need; and embracing happiness in the moment despite circumstances outside of our control. I hope the following memories of others uplift you:

  • “When I was a kid, my mom would pile us all into the car (a huge station wagon with wood panelling on the sides) and drive us to the shelter on Thanksgiving. All of us worked all day serving food to people in need. We shared the meal with them, socialized, and talked about our families and memories. I resented spending the day like that at times when I was a kid, but now I look back on those times as wonderful! I carry on the tradition with my kids now, and they love it!” – Aliasha, 46
  • “One year I was a teacher in a school for kids with abuse issues. At Thanksgiving time, we had a feast that the kids and staff prepared. Before we ate, everyone gathered in a circle and took turns saying what they were grateful for. Kids were saying things like, ‘I’m thankful for my school,’ ‘I appreciate my clothes,’ ‘I’m grateful for turkey, and delicious food,’ ‘I’m glad my dad is home safe.’ “I was completely overwhelmed by the simple things, often taken for granted, that meant so much to the kids. I felt so much gratitude for everything in my life.” – Sam, 32
  • “My family would write down things we were grateful for in a journal every year. It was so much fun going back and reading from the journal what we had written in past years. The things we listed would basically stay the same, but there would be enough of a difference for us to fondly recall people and situations from past years.” – Steve, in his 50s
  • “The long weekend of Thanksgiving would bring about a friendly competition among my sisters, me, and my mom. All of us would try to personally thank as many people as possible for various, seemingly mundane, actions. One year, my older sister outdid us all. She asked to borrow the microphone from an employee at a fast food restaurant. She thanked all of the employees for their hard work and excellent service. Everyone in the restaurant ended up giving the employees a standing ovation!” – Tiffany, 41
  • “I’ll never forget the ‘Peanuts dinners’ I would have with my closest friends in college when money was real tight. All of us would be on campus over the holidays for one reason or another. We would all prepare and bring our favorite food to share. If the favorite was popcorn, that’s what we’d bring. We called them ‘Peanuts dinners’ because they were just like the meal the kids ate in the old Charlie Brown Thanksgiving special. Many of the people who stayed on campus for the holidays were from overseas and unable to travel back home. That made for some very interesting food items and excellent conversation.” – Susan, 38

I wish you a happy season full of many things for which to be grateful.

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Alyce Duckworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. If you would like more information regarding the subject matter of this article or on mental health issues in general, please call Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 730 8858.

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Never Judge a Book by its Cover

by Alyce Duckworth, LCSW
Supervisor, Prince St. Academy,
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
November 9, 2009

“Never judge a book by its cover.” Most of us have heard the adage countless times in our lives. It seems to make so much sense, and few of us would disagree. But recently I was hit upside the head (fortunately not literally) with the realization that adages, even those that reflect our values, can become so familiar that the original wisdom they were based upon is lost. I believe reflect life philosophies, value statements and personal mantras; they are one’s compass for life. In fact, lots of people must agree with me, because there are multiple resources available (on the World Wide Web, in books, and at seminars) that teach about developing your own personal life mission statement. But, I’ll get back to this a little later when I finish the original story.

I was in my new neighborhood, which I adore for its diversity, among many other things. I was packing the car for a short road trip to the mountains for a wedding. Two teenagers I didn’t recognize were walking past my house down the middle of the street. As I made eye contact with them, I asked how they were doing. The two were dressed similarly, in a way that many people would automatically stereotype as “scary.” They admitted they were very lost…not a surprising situation considering that the streets in my neighborhood curve, loop, and change names several times within a mile. (In truth, the first four times I drove to my new residence, I got lost!) I gave them directions, and wished them well.

By the time my friends and I got on the road, the two guys had made their way to the final turn of their destination, probably a mere mile away. We stopped to make sure they were okay, and one of them offered a bit more information about their dilemma. In short, the two had been left unexpectedly without a ride home when their friend (and ride) had been summoned to a family emergency. Stuck in a strange neighborhood alone at their friend’s house, the two boys decided to set off on foot to the nearest bus station, not realizing how maze-like the streets were in the area. They also explained that they didn’t have enough money for both of them to ride the bus home. The smallest bill my boyfriend and I had between the two of us was a $5 bill, so we handed that over to the guys. They seemed overwhelmed with gratitude.

We didn’t think about it again, that is, until the envelope without a return address arrived about a week later. The envelope contained a $5 bill and a note. The writer of the note thanked us profusely for the $5 loan, saying that most people wouldn’t even make eye contact with the two that had been lost a week ago, let alone stop by the side of the road and hand over $5. He said that most people would have been concerned about having their car jacked or being mugged because of the way the two of them looked. The young writer then wrote a blessing to us, saying we were kind and compassionate, obviously here on this earth to do good work. In writing, he prayed that the two of us would continue to be blessed exponentially with kindness and compassion, friendship and happiness. He added that his mom, the actual one who repaid the loan, was very grateful to us for helping the two boys return safely home. As far as I’m concerned, the small debt was repaid, with interest, above and beyond what I ever would have expected. The note included with the $5 reminded me of the importance of having my own life’s guiding principles in the forefront of my mind as much as possible so that I’m more likely to repeatedly act accordingly. How many times have I judged someone based on the way they looked on the outside, or acted as though my assumptions about a person were the absolute truth?

In fact, my guiding philosophy is expressed in part by a quote from Anne Frank’s Diary: “I keep my ideals because in spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart” (assume positive intent). One of my favorite quotes is from Gandhi: “Be the change you wish to see in the world” (walk your own talk). However you prefer to say it, I think we get closer and closer to living in accordance with our value systems in our daily actions when our personal mission statement, summing up those adages we believe but take for granted, is in place.

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Alyce Duckworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. If you would like more information regarding the subject matter of this article or on mental health issues in general, please call Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 730 8858.

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Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Offers Free Monthly Parenting Classes for Foster and Adoptive Parents

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network Offers Free
Monthly Parenting Classes for Foster and Adoptive Parents


Englewood, Colo. (November 2, 2009)
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network will host free monthly parenting classes for foster and adoptive parents, beginning Nov. 9.

The interactive classes are designed to help parents with some of the unique challenges of raising foster children and children who have been adopted. Resources will be shared and parents will learn from experts and other parents alike. Topics presented through July 2010 include Grief and Loss, Trauma, Attachment, Social Skills, Anger/Emotions, Discipline, Culture and Crisis Intervention. Foster parents can receive two credit hours per class towards foster care license maintenance.

Classes meet one Monday per month (typically the second Monday of the month) from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network (155 Inverness Drive West, Englewood, 80112). Childcare is available for a nominal fee. For more information and to register call 303 797 9432.

Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network is a private, nonprofit organization that provides comprehensive mental health and substance abuse treatment services for individuals of all ages. ADMHN has 10 locations throughout the south metro area.

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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. Services include counseling, psychiatry, crisis services, case management, substance abuse treatment, victim services, an adult acute treatment unit, adult supported and residential housing, services for the criminal justice system, vocational and social rehabilitation, a day treatment therapeutic school, school-based services and an on-site pharmacy. For more Information and an initial appointment, call 303 730 8848. Community education, wellness programs and a Speakers Bureau are available upon request at 303 793 6602.

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Take Time to Celebrate

by Alyce Duckworth, LCSW
Supervisor, Prince St. Academy,
Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network
September 29, 2009

Yesterday, I turned 38 years old. The fact that it was my birthday is not very notable all by itself. After all, people have birthdays every day. The interesting thing to me about this particular birthday was my attitude. Unlike the other 37 birthdays before it, I attempted to dig in my heels and avoid the day altogether. I figured that if I were able to ignore the fact that the day marked another year in my life, I would be able to avoid getting older. I’m not sure what turning 38 meant in the far recesses of my mind, but I didn’t want to do it. Maybe I had decided subconsciously that I “should have” accomplished a few more things in life by age 38…like having children. But I’ve always believed that things happen, or don’t happen, for a reason; that we need to focus on those things we can control…like our attitude. So, my own “Birthday Scrooge” perspective befuddled me. I certainly wasn’t expecting to have an epiphany like the original Scrooge on the big day, but that’s exactly what happened, without the ghosts.

Right off the bat, I have one friend insisting on getting together in the evening at one of my favorite restaurants. On my way out the door to work, I receive a phone call from another long-time friend asking to meet me for lunch. It wasn’t even 8 a.m. and it was very clear that I would not be able to ignore this birthday.

I’m not sure who tipped off the kids at Prince Street Academy that it was my birthday, but I walk in the door to a hand-colored Wonder Woman picture on my door wishing me a happy day. (In case you happen to be unaware, I am Wonder Woman’s biggest fan – more on that later). Amidst repeated wishes of “Happy Birthday,” I manage to get some work done, and Iam pleasantly reminded of how much I love my job! (The fact that I have a job in this economy is cause to be grateful all by itself.)

I go to lunch and my friend has her 3-year-old nephew with her. I get to do one of my favorite things in the world: play. He and I take pretend pictures of each other all over the restaurant. We giggle. He shoots the straw paper at me. I manage not to get indigestion.

Upon my return to Prince Street Academy, I am given the best birthday card EVER…handmade by everyone at the school. The card has magazine clippings pasted all over it. I get to do another one of my favorite things: laugh. The pictures make me laugh until my eyes are teary, and in the whole process, I do something else that I love: making other people laugh. Throughout the day, I am absolutely inundated with happy birthday wishes from friends and family all over the country, from all periods of my life, on Facebook. I feel overwhelmed. In the evening, there’s a crowd wanting to celebrate with me at the restaurant. I have an unbelievably phenomenal group of loved ones. We are loud and raucous. But later, when I try to apologize to the tables seated around us, they are laughing and insisting they were having fun right along with us. Right behind me, there’s a quiet table for two. He’s in a wheelchair, a disabled Veteran of the Vietnam War. Today is also his birthday. He’s celebrating just like me. Except, there’s no indication that he has had even a trace of reluctance heading into this new year. We talk for a while, he and I and his wife, and their perspective is inspiring. They tell me they were completely enjoying the fun that was emanating from our table, despite the decibel level. I tell them that I am privileged to share my birthday with him.

In speaking with this couple, I got to do another one of my favorite things: see the world through two different sets of eyes. The minor details of the rest of the night aren’t important. Suffice it to say, I got to sing and dance – two more of my absolute favorite things in the world. I fall asleep knowing that I wouldn’t want to give up a single year of my life, nor even a single day. Those days, all 13,870 of them, have brought the people and experiences into my life that I can’t imagine living without.

I will never be dragged, kicking and screaming, into my birthday again. Here’s wishing all of you, no matter when you celebrate the marking of a new year in your life, happiness regardless of your circumstances, wealth no matter the balance of your bank account, and gratitude for everything you have NOW.

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Alyce Duckworth is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) for Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network. If you would like more information regarding the subject matter of this article or on mental health issues in general, please call Arapahoe/Douglas Mental Health Network at 303 730 8858.

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