Archive for October 2013

Help the We Care People Pass the Levy

We’ve been talking a lot about the levy recently.  That just goes to show how important it is.  On November 5, voters will have the opportunity to support the proposed levy for the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board for Allen, Auglaize, and Hardin counties. 
There is a strong need for mental health care in our communities.  Addiction is becoming more and more prevalent, for one thing, and the funds available to help those fighting addiction is decreasing.  That cannot continue if we want to help those in need of help the best we possibly can.

It is not necessarily addiction, however, that we need to address and help to improve.  Overall mental health is something the passing of this levy will focus on.  Whether you know it or not, chances are that someone in your life is struggling in some way, either with addiction, or an issue with mental health.  The reason you might not know about it is because our society is not yet fully comfortable with this issue.  There is still a stigma associated with mental health, and the MHRSB (We Care People) is attempting to erase that stigma.  Passing this levy, which will provide more funding, which in turn will provide more people with adequate treatment, will help to get rid of the stigma society has placed on mental illness.  The more people ask for help, the more the stigma disappears.  And the only way to help those who ask for help is to have enough funding to be able to help everyone.  That, in turn, produces better citizens and a better society.

SAFY (Safe Alternatives for Families and Youths) is a non-profit organization providing services for children and youth, and adults in some cases.  SAFY utilizes proven, evidence-based programming and offers, just to name a couple, substance abuse counseling and group counseling.  The more funding the MHRSB receives, the more people SAFY can help.  Diane Gable, director at SAFY, said of the levy’s passing, “We would be able to touch the lives of many instead of the few that present themselves to our mental health offices. Everyone has been touched by mental illness in some way, shape, or form, and it is important for people to know that there is help and it is manageable as well as preventable.”

Another valuable resource for children and adults alike, is PAX.  This is a research-based, proven classroom management structure involving kids “competing against” each other to earn rewards by refraining from class disruptions, inattention, or aggressive behavior.  Twenty studies have shown that classrooms that have implemented PAX reduced classroom disruptions 50-90%, and longitudinal studies show that children who have been involved with PAX are less likely, down the road, to demonstrate violent behavior or engage in drug use.  With the passing of this levy, more classrooms can be equipped with PAX.

Sara Dieringer, who is a PAX coach for grades K-12 in the St. Marys school district, said of the levy, “Well, the levy is important to me because it will allow expansion of programs in schools, including PAX. Obviously it's different for everyone, but I think we can all agree that with the passing of the levy more people will get services they need to address their mental health or substance abuse issues. PAX has proven to be beneficial to teachers and students in a short period of time. In the classrooms I'm involved with I have already seen less disruptions which allows for more teaching time. PAX brings out the best in the kids, and peer relations are improving. 

The passing of the levy means something different to everyone.  The one common thread, however, is that it will improve the lives of many.  Drastically.  Please help us care by voting to pass the levy on November 5.

Let's All Help to Improve the Community

I just celebrated my two-year sobriety anniversary on October 8.  That same day, I had a three-hour interview at Wright State University in Dayton, to get into their Rehabilitation Counseling:  Chemical Dependency Program.  At the end of the interview, I was told to expect to get a letter between one and three weeks, confirming if I’d been accepted or not.  I got an e-mail an hour and a half later, stating that I’ve been accepted.

Part of the reason I want to become a counselor for people with chemical dependencies is because I’ve had my own issues, and I want to help people with theirs.  I can relate to them.  Another reason I want to do it is because since I’ve been writing for the We Care People, it’s reinforced my passion for mental health awareness and wanting to help people.  Everyone who works for them wants to help people.  It’s in the title.

This is why the upcoming levy is so crucial.  The need for treatment of people with mental illness has risen, while the funding to provide that need has gone down.  We can’t help people to our best capacity in that situation.  And everyone deserves the opportunity to receive help and to become a fully functioning person in society.

Some people may think the levy doesn’t affect them, so why should they vote for it?  Well, it affects everyone.  The people who make up the society we live in will be affected in a positive way, and those people are the same ones who will hold jobs that will directly affect us.  Whether they go into nursing, retail, or the food services industry, they will affect us in some way.  Everyone we come into contact with us.  And wouldn’t you want the people who are affecting you day in and day out to be working up to their potential?  The passing of this levy will increase funding for the We Care People so that the people who are helped by us get the best possible treatment, improving the overall atmosphere in which we live.

This is also about the Golden Rule.  If you were an addict, someone with depression, or someone with PTSD, wouldn’t you want to be helped as much as you could?  We should want the same thing for our fellow citizens.  I have bipolar disorder.  I can say firsthand that, had I never received treatment, I don’t even know if I’d be here right now.  Care is so important.  

I hope to one day work somewhere like Coleman Behavioral Health, in part because I’ve seen how dedicated and caring the staff is.  They don’t turn people away.  They could do even more, serve more people, and serve them better if this levy passes.  
This is about equal rights.  We should all have the right to thorough health care, including mental health care.  This November, please help us by supporting this levy.

Please help us care.

Help Us Care So We Can Better Care For You

We are the We Care People, and we need you – everyone – to help us care. 

A lot of people don’t really know who we are when I tell them I work for the We Care People.  When I say it’s the Mental Health and Recovery Services Board, they usually start to recognize better who we are and what we do.

This election is about getting the word out to everyone, exactly who we are, what we do, and why it is so important that we have the funding we need to help the people in our communities.

One organization which is funded by the We Care People is PVFF, or Partnership for Violence Free Families.  PVFF is made up of over 40 organizations which range in purposes from preventing bullying to preventing drug and alcohol abuse.

This is the key.  Prevention.  This levy will provide each organization which is funded by the MHRSB what they need to better serve our communities by preventing something like substance abuse, as opposed to treating it.  What we want, ideally, are communities that are thriving, full of individuals who are not addicts being treated for substance abuse, but rather, people who might be seeking resources that will help them cope with life issues in a healthy way.  We will be closer to achieving this dream with the passing of the levy.

Something else PVFF does is provide support groups for our communities.  I am a facilitator for one of the support groups, Shelter from the Storm.  This group is for people who are depressed or bipolar, and the group has been meeting for about 16 months now.  I can say from my own experience that this group has helped me so much.  These people have become my second family.  Even though I facilitate the group, I need it as much as any of the people who attend.  And I know how much some of them need it.  I know that this group has saved a life or two since it started.  I think it’s saved mine many times.  We just meet up and talk about what’s going on in everyone’s lives.  Our frustrations, our emotions, our depression.  Our depression.  It’s the one place we can all go and feel safe, and feel understood.  I look forward to my support group every time.  I love these people.

So that is another example of what can continue to be offered through PVFF, which is funded by MHRSB, which, of course, is why this levy matters.

It is so vital that we start talking about the importance of mental health.  That we start understanding a little better what would best serve our communities regarding mental health.  That we start caring about mental health.

On November 5, help us care.

About Me

I have an MA in literature from Eastern Michigan University and I write a couple of regular columns for The Delphos Herald. I am the mother of two young girls, and the wife of a firefighter. I am also bipolar (with generalized anxiety disorder) which somewhat accounts for my occupied mind. I rely on sarcasm the way others rely on oxygen.
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