Finding Balance

Feeling as if your body and your life are in good balance is an important aspect of wellness. And it’s a state of being that is not present for everyone.

The Tuesday, October 24th, meeting of the Behavioral Health Alliance of Grundy County will feature two presenters examining “balance” in different ways.

Dan Martin, New Lenox’s Safe Community Coordinator, will discuss an evidence-based educational program that his community uses to help keep residents in a higher state of physical balance that reduces falls and injury.

“A Matter of Balance” targets people 60 and over to teach them strategies to boost balance, strength and confidence in an 8-week program offered free to New Lenox residents. The program is made possible by a partnership between the New Lenox Safe Communities Coalition and New Lenox VFW Post 9545 and Ladies Auxiliary.

Fear of falling can be just as dangerous as falling itself. People who develop this fear often limit their activities, which can result in severe physical weakness, making the risk of falling even greater. Many older adults also experience increased isolation and depression when they limit their interactions with family and friends. A Matter of Balance can help people improve their quality of life and remain independent.

Fear is also an ingredient in another kind of imbalance caused by a psychological disorder: Hoarding. People who have this disorder experience great difficulty and distress in discarding possessions, regardless of their value, and this often creates messy and potentially dangerous living conditions for them.

Melissa Wasko, mental health therapist at the Grundy County Health Department will focus on difficulties with the “executive” brain functioning in people who hoard. This will help to expand our understanding of what contributes to hoarding behaviors.  Melissa will also explain how this is addressed with clients in their treatment, particularly with the senior population.

Join the BHA at the October 24th meeting to learn more. The 3 p.m. meeting will be held at the Canalport Conference Room, 518 W. Illinois Ave., Morris. For more information, email bhagrundy@gmail.com

Download our October 2017 BHA Meeting Flyer for more information about the meeting.

 

QPR Suicide Prevention

Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR (Question- Persuade-Refer) learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade and refer someone to help.

The BHA of Grundy County and Grundy County Veterans Assistance Commission are partnering with the Sertoma Centre to bring a QPR training to Grundy County on Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 2 to 3:30 p.m., in the Grundy County Administration Center, 1320 Union St., Morris IL.

The training by itself is free.  If you would like to purchase CEUs for $15, they are available for social workers, respiratory therapists, psychologists, occupational therapists, nutritionists, nurses, nurse practitioners, dietitians, dental hygienists, counselors, athletic trainers, administrators, and accupuncturists. CEU payment should be made to Continuing Education Institute of Illinois.

Please register for the QPR training by November 13, 2017 by contacting Devan at 815-941-0852 or devan@cfgrundycounty.com.  Please see the Grundy QPR Flyer 11.15.17 for more information.

 

“MISSING PIECES” Assessment

The Behavioral Health Alliance of Grundy County sponsored a community dialogue and information gathering session on Tuesday, January 24, 2017, at the Grundy County Administration Center, 1320 Union St., Morris IL.  The meeting was themed “Missing Pieces.”

About 40 stakeholders—from referrers to providers to clients—in Grundy County’s behavioral health system took part in this discussion of needs and gaps, especially in regard to youth and young adults.  Insights gathered in the 2016 Community Health Needs Assessment will be shared as part of a process that suggests potential collaborations to address gaps and challenges.

You can get a copy of the “Missing Pieces” assessment summary by emailing your request to bhagrundy@gmail.com.

Youth Mental Health First Aid

In Fall of 2015, the Grundy County Health Department was selected by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) as a grant recipient for their Now is the Time Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education) program.  The program is designed to build and expand the capacity of state and local agencies to increase awareness of mental health and substance abuse issues among school-age youth.  Under this initiative, the Health Department is providing Youth Mental Health First Aid training to adults who work with youth.

What is Mental Health First Aid?

Mental Health First Aid originated in Australia in 2001 by Betty Kitchener, a nurse with specialization in health education, and Anthony Jorm, a mental health literacy professor.  Its development has evolved into an 8-hour public education course that introduces participants to risk factors and warning signs of mental illness, helps build participants’ understanding of the impact of mental health disorders, and also overviews common supports.  The course made its debut in the U.S. in 2008 and is coordinated by The National Council for Behavioral Health, the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Missouri Department of Mental Health.

Mental Health First Aid USA worked with experts at the National Technical Assistance Center for Children’s Mental Health at the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development to create the youth program.  Youth Mental Health First Aid was introduced in 2012 to focus on how to assist youth ages 12-18 that may be developing or experiencing a mental health challenge. Participants learn about the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents and utilizes role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess for a mental health crisis, select interventions and provide initial help, and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.  Participants do not learn to diagnose, nor how to provide therapy.  Rather, they learn to support youth by applying a five-step action plan:

  • Assess for risk of suicide or harm
  • Listen nonjudgmentally
  • Give reassurance and information
  • Encourage appropriate professional help
  • Encourage self-help and other support strategies

Who should take the course?

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed for adults who regularly interact with youth.  This includes teachers, school personnel, coaches, youth group leaders, parents, recreational group staff, as well as medical staff, employers, business leaders, faith communities, and first responders, and the general public!

Since its inception, Mental Health First Aid courses have resulted in over 600,000 adults being trained and is included on SAMHSA’s National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices.  The program itself was included in President Obama’s plan to reduce gun violence and increase access to mental health services.  In 2014, Congress appropriated $15 million to SAMHSA for training teachers and school personnel in Youth Mental Health First Aid and the program continues to receive broad bipartisan support.

What will this program do for Grundy County?

It is expected that over the course of three years, this initiative will include training 400 adults in Youth Mental Health First Aid, thereby positively impacting the lives of 8,000 Grundy adolescents, ages 12-18.  The Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Division of the Grundy County Health Department plans to maximize community partnerships and referral systems in order to better intervene with youth who are demonstrating early warning signs and symptoms of mental health conditions.   With 50% of all lifetime cases of mental illness beginning by age 14 and 75 % by age 24, our goal is to increase knowledge, combine that with community resources and referral sources, and aim to have Grundy youth directed to needed services at earlier ages, thereby reducing more serious behavioral health issues later on in life.

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Membership Information

If you are interested in becoming a BHA member, download the BHA membership form here.


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