AMHC News

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year. Here are some facts about the prevalence and impact of mental illness.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S.—43.8 million, or 18.5%—experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • Approximately 1 in 25 adults in the U.S.—9.8 million, or 4.0%—experiences a serious mental illness in a given year that substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities.
  • Approximately 1 in 5 youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.
  • 1.1% of adults in the U.S. live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% of adults in the U.S. live with bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% of adults in the U.S.—16 million—had at least one major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 18.1% of adults in the U.S. experienced an anxiety disorder such as posttraumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults in the U.S. who experienced a substance use disorder, 50.5%—10.2 million adults—had a co-occurring mental illness.

Social Stats

  • An estimated 26% of homeless adults staying in shelters live with serious mental illness and an estimated 46% live with severe mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
  • Approximately 20% of state prisoners and 21% of local jail prisoners have “a recent history” of a mental health condition.
  • 70% of youth in juvenile justice systems have at least one mental health condition and at least 20% live with a serious mental illness.
  • Only 41% of adults in the U.S. with a mental health condition received mental health services in the past year. Among adults with a serious mental illness, 62.9% received mental health services in the past year.
  • Just over half (50.6%) of children with a mental health condition aged 8-15 received mental health services in the previous year.
  • African Americans and Hispanic Americans each use mental health services at about one-half the rate of Caucasian Americans and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14; three-quarters by age 24. Despite effective treatment, there are long delays—sometimes decades—between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.

Consequences Of Lack Of Treatment

  • Serious mental illness costs America $193.2 billion in lost earnings per year.
  • Mood disorders, including major depression, dysthymic disorder, and bipolar disorder, are the third most common cause of hospitalization in the U.S. for both youth and adults aged 18–44.
  • Individuals living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of having chronic medical conditions. Adults in the U.S. living with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than others, largely due to treatable medical conditions.
  • Over one-third (37%) of students with a mental health condition age 14­–21 and older who are served by special education drop out—the highest dropout rate of any disability group.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death for people aged 10–34.
  • More than 90% of people who die by suicide show symptoms of a mental health condition.
  • Each day an estimated 18-22 veterans die by suicide.

What Is Stigma?
People experiencing mental health conditions often face rejection, bullying and even discrimination. This can make their journey to recovery longer and more difficult. Stigma is when someone, or you yourself, views you in a negative way because you have a mental health condition. Some people describe stigma as shame that can be felt as a judgment from someone else or a feeling that is internal, something that confuses feeling bad with being bad.

Navigating life with a mental health condition can be tough, and the isolation, blame, and secrecy that is often encouraged by stigma can create huge challenges to reaching out, getting needed support and living well. Learning how to cope with stigma and how to avoid and address stigma are important for all of us.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (now Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcohol addiction by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, genetically predisposed and fatal if untreated. However, people can and do recover. In fact, it is estimated that as many as 20 million individuals and family members are living lives in recovery from alcohol use!

According to the NCADD, “Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol.” Warning signs of alcohol abuse include:

  • Drinking to calm nerves, forget worries or boost a sad mood
  • Guilt about drinking
  • Unsuccessful attempts to cut down or stop drinking
  • Lying about or hiding drinking habits
  • Causing harm to oneself or someone else as a result of drinking
  • Needing to drink increasingly greater amounts in order to achieve desired effects
  • Feeling irritable, resentful or unreasonable when not drinking
  • Medical, social, family or financial problems caused by drinking

 

How is AMHC addressing the issue?

  • Individual Outpatient Therapy (IOP)
  • Outpatient and Intensive Outpatient Treatment programs, which require regular attendance for a set period of time.
  • Maine Mothers Network https://www1.maine.gov/dhhs/samhs/osa/help/mainemothersnetworkflyer.pdf
  • Driver Education and Evaluation Program (DEEP) services for individuals seeking to regain their license following an operating under the influence charge.
  • Peer support
  • MAT services including Opioid Health Home
  • DMS (Detox management services)
    • Money available for medication
    • Treatment IOP, individual, residential
  • Residential Treatment Facility “The Farm”
  • Criminogenic treatment services
    • Working with local probation services
    • Diversion Academy
    • Mark Nelson working in Jail (Breaking Free program)
  • The Roads to Recovery Community Center services in Caribou and coming soon to Houlton
    • Various recovery meetings
      • AA
      • NA
      • Al-anon
      • Refuge recovery
      • men/women group
      • father/mother group
      • Recovery writing, art groups, music
      • Families Anonymous
    • Substance use and domestic violence
    • Maine can work
    • Narcan training
    • IOP has been attending every two to three weeks
      • High-power box
      • Jeopardy
      • music
      • Benefits are that our customers have increased confidence to participate in various recovery meetings

 

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Join AMHC for the 20th Annual Denim Day on April 24th in support of Sexual Assult Awareness Month!

STAND UP, SPEAK OUT: WEAR DENIM TO BREAK THE SILENCE

Wear Denim for your mother, sister, brother, grandmother, uncle, neighbor, cousin, cashier, teacher, father, friend… Wear it for all those who have been affected by Sexual Violence. Show your support. As a Community, we can end violence.

HISTORY:

In 1992 an 18-year-old Italian woman was picked up by her driving instructor to begin her driving lesson. Soon after her instructor sexually assaulted her on the side of the road. She reported the incident and he was convicted. The instructor appealed the case to the Italian High Court. In 1999 the court overturned the conviction, with a member of the High Court declaring that since the victim was wearing very tight jeans, the instructor could not have removed them himself, therefore the victim must have been a willing participant. Women of the Italian legislature protested the decision by wearing jeans. As news spread so did the protest. In April 1999 the first Denim Day was established in the United States.

 

For more information please contact  AMHC Sexual Assault Services at 1-800-871-7741

 

Library hosts art created by people suffering brain injuries

Staff from the Center for Integrated Neuro Rehabilitation in Caribou stand in front of a display at the Caribou Public Library showcasing artwork created by clients for Brain Injury Awareness Week. Those pictured here, from left, are Pamela Searles, Keely LeBlanc, David LeTourneau, Betty Hendrickson, and Kevin Huston.

For over a decade, people in The County suffering from brain injuries have turned their experiences into art as part of the Center for Integrated Neuro Rehabilitation (CINR) program based in Caribou. Now, that art is on display at the Caribou Public Library for the entire month.

Pam Searles, a clinical consultant with CINR, said this is the first time the facility has ever showcased their clients art via a public display.

Keely LeBlanc, a CINR brain injury support specialist, said she often uses art as a medium through which her clients can both express themselves and re-develop skills that may have been lost due to a neurological condition.

“They did such a great job,” said LeBlanc,” that Pam suggested we contact the library and see if they would like to hold a display.”

Caribou Public Library Director Hope Shafer said she and the library staff were “thrilled” and “excited” to bring awareness to the public about both the center and people in the area dealing with brain injuries.

“We hope to bring awareness by having this group showcase the incredible art their clients have done,” she said, “and to help others recognize why this artwork is so incredible.”

Searles said CINR, which is part of the Aroostook Mental Health Center (AMHC), primarily focuses on helping those with trauma or an acquired brain injury to get back into and functioning in society. That goal is accomplished through many outlets, such as art, she said.

“Art helps them manage their emotions,” said Kevin Huston, a rehabilitation technician at CINR, “and to express things that otherwise can’t be expressed. Some of our people have aphasia, or the inability to use words, so it’s a useful outlet. If a right-handed person has a stroke and loses the ability to use that side of their body, they really have to concentrate on things like drawing and using their motor skills.”

LeBlanc said she hopes the exhibit will help members of the community learn more about the experiences of people with brain injuries.

“I hope people will know that those with a brain injury can do the same things others can,” she said. She wants folks “to look at them as a human being, and know that while sometimes they may look OK, you may not be able to tell visually that something has happened to them. Often times people don’t take into account that there are things below the surface.”

Huston said this is one of the primary misconceptions about brain injuries, adding that it “is not always evident,” and that people with brain injuries sometimes exhibit different characteristics.

The art pieces themselves were drawn as part of the program’s efforts to improve motor function, the following of directions, and problem solving. For one project, clients had to draw straight lines and follow a pattern, while another involved placing beans over a tracing of an image.

LeBlanc said that some aspects that go beyond the directions, such as which colors to choose, can be overwhelming to certain patients and may cause them to stop. Other clients, however, began with specific patterns in mind and ended up becoming so absorbed in the project that the end result did not resemble their original intention.

“For some people,” LeBlanc said, “it can be hard to plan out. It can be overwhelming.”

David LeTourneau, a CINR brain injury specialist, said the organization’s specific mission is to work with people so they can become “as independent as they can possibly be.”

“We want to help people acquire the skills needed to obtain their own apartment,” he said, “or to do their own grocery shopping.”

CINF is CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) accredited, and while it specializes in brain injury rehabilitation, staffers also are able to help clients get in touch with other mental health professionals working under AMHC.

Jamie Owens, director of marketing and development at AMHC, said the organization has been providing services to people in Aroostook, Washington, and Hancock counties since 1970. AMHC now serves about 6,000 clients annually.

Searles said that if a client comes in with issues related to mental health counseling or substance abuse, CINR staff will make referrals to the appropriate organization.

“We all collaborate together,” she said, “to help support our clients’ needs.”

While the library exhibit had only been up a few days, Shafer said she’s already heard a great deal of positive feedback from patrons.

“Most are drawn immediately because of the artwork,” she said, “and will say that they need to bring their mom or relative back so they can see it. The display brings out a lot of stories from people with family members who have had injuries, and I’ve heard people say they wish this had been available for their uncle, aunt, cousin, sister, or friend. We are blessed to have this available in Aroostook County.”

Source: https://thecounty.me/2019/03/14/living/arts/library-hosts-art-created-by-people-suffering-brain-injuries/

Social Work Month 2019

Aren’t you glad there are social workers in the world? What would the world be like without them?

Social Work Month is in March and this year’s theme is ELEVATE SOCIAL WORK.

Each day, nearly 700,000 social workers nationwide work to elevate and empower others, giving them the ability to solve life’s problems, cope with personal roadblocks and get the services they need. Social workers are needed now more than ever as the nation grapples with serious issues such as income equality, preventing suicide, ensuring access to good health care for all, as well as addressing the growing opioid addiction now gripping the nation.

You may not realize it, but social workers are everywhere—and they work across AMHC in most all of our service locations. For generations, social workers have worked tirelessly to improve our wider society and make our nation a better place to live. For example, they work in mental health facilities and clinics and hospitals helping place people on the path to recovery from sickness and mental illness. They support our brave military personnel, veterans and their families. They are in schools, helping students overcome issues that prevent them from getting a good education, and they protect children who have been abused or neglected. They also help children find new families through adoption.

International Women’s Day

March 8th is recognized as International Women’s Day.  In the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, the fight for equality was very real – equal pay and women’s right to vote.  AMHC is lucky to employ extremely talented and exceptional women who work diligently each day to provide excellent service to each other and our community.

Today, Central Office staff celebrated women empowerment, and success within our agency and our lives.  We wear purple to support International Women’s Day, including the women we are all fortunate to have in our lives each and every day.

National Sleep Awareness Week (March 10-16)

Join AMHC and the National Sleep Foundation in celebrating its annual Sleep Awareness Week, March 10 to 16, 2019. This year’s theme “Begin with Sleep” highlights the importance of good sleep health for individuals to best achieve their personal, family, and professional goals. To calculate how much sleep you need to be the best you can be and articles about good sleep health, sleep problems, and how each affects your lifestyle, visit https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/bedtime-calculatortm.

National Nutrition Month® 2019

National Nutrition Month® is an annual nutrition education and information campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. The campaign, celebrated each year during the month of March, focuses attention on the importance of making informed food choices and developing sound eating and physical activity habits.

During National Nutrition Month®, help the Academy achieve its vision of a world where all people thrive through the transformative power of food and nutrition.

Key Messages:

  1. Discover the benefits of a healthy eating style.
  2. Choose foods and drinks that are good for your health.
  3. Include a variety of healthful foods from all of the food groups on a regular basis.
  4. Select healthier options when eating away from home.
  5. Be mindful of portion sizes. Eat and drink the amount that’s right for you, as MyPlate encourages us to do.
  6. Keep it simple. Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated.
  7. Make food safety part of your everyday routine.
  8. Help to reduce food waste by considering the foods you have on hand before buying more at the store.
  9. Find activities that you enjoy and be physically active most days of the week.
  10. Consult the nutrition experts. Registered Dietitian Nutritionists can provide sound, easy-to-follow personalized nutrition advice to meet your lifestyle, preferences and health-related needs.

AMHC Welcomes New CFAO

AMHC is pleased to welcome Christy Daggett, MPP, as AMHC’s new Chief Financial and Administrative Officer. As the Chief Financial and Administrative Officer, she is responsible for providing leadership for the financial and administrative systems of the organization. Prior to joining AMHC, she has worked in public service in Maine for close to a decade, holding program-oriented and leadership roles at MCD Public Health, the Maine Center for Economic Policy, and the Aroostook County Action Program. She has served as Board President of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Maine Affiliate, President of the Aroostook Training and Education Coalition (ATEC), and Board Member of the Maine Children’s Alliance. A native of Presque Isle, Christy earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Maine and her master’s in Public Policy and Management from the Edmund S. Muskie School of Public Service at the University of Southern Maine. She has testified as an expert on rural public policy issues before the Maine Legislature, and her pieces have been published in many statewide and national forums, including health policy research on Medicaid expansion, health care price transparency, cancer screening access for rural Mainers, and the correlation between school-based health clinics and better graduation and attendance outcomes for K-12 students.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Millions of Americans are affected by mental health conditions every year. Here are some facts about the prevalence and impact …

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (now Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol …

April is Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention Month

In Maine, over 4,000 children in 2018 were victims of abuse. Visit the Prevent Child Abuse America (PCAA) website at https://preventchildabuse.org …