APRIL 2020
It is officially Spring! Happy April, Empowering Minds Community! We are proud to announce the opening of our Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and Residential Rehabilitation Program. This month, EMRC raise awareness to COVID-19, Child Abuse Prevention, Sexual Assault, and Autism. Below you'll find a helpful article on Spring and mental health, agency news, and updates.
Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak

Use your head — Slow the spread

All Marylanders are advised to take precautions to slow the spread of COVID-19:
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water
  • Cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Avoid contact with sick people
  • If you are sick, stay home and call your health care provider
  • Practice social distancing — keep distance between yourself and others and avoid crowds
All Marylanders are also advised to practice social distancing . Social distancing is a way to keep people from interacting closely or frequently enough to spread an infectious disease. Social distancing can take many forms, depending on your lifestyle and your family and work situation, and can include the following habits and steps:
  • Avoid handshaking, hugging and other intimate types of greeting
  • Avoid non-essential travel (your health care provider may have specific guidance for your situation)
  • Avoid crowds, especially in poorly ventilated spaces
  • Work from home if possible for your work situation
  • Avoid unnecessary errands — consider ways to have essential items, like food and other household supplies, brought to your house through online delivery services or through family or social networks
CARES Act: Revisions to the FFCRA, Expansion of Unemployment Benefits and Coverage
The much anticipated “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” or the “CARES Act” was signed into law on March 27, 2020, revising some provisions of the March 18, 2020, Families First Coronavirus Response Act, as well as providing for a federal expansion of state unemployment benefits.
Revisions to the Family First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”)

1. Revisions to the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act
The CARES Act clarifies that a covered employer is not required to pay more than $200 per day and $10,000 in the aggregate for each eligible employee who takes leave provided by the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (i.e., leave to care for children due to school closures or unavailability of childcare as a result of COVID-19).
Pursuant to the revisions, in addition to current employees who have worked for the employer for the last 30 days, expanded family and medical leave is now available to employees who (1) were laid off by that employer not earlier than March 1, 2020, (2) had worked for the employer for at least 30 of the last 60 calendar days prior to the layoff, and (3) were rehired by the employer.
2. Revisions to the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act
The CARES Act clarifies the obligations imposed on employers who are required to provide paid sick leave:
  • An employer is not required to pay more than $511 per day and $5,110 in the aggregate for each employee who takes paid sick leave because the employee:
  • Is subject to a Federal, State, or local quarantine or isolation order related to COVID-19;
  • Has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine related to COVID-19; or
  • Is experiencing COVID-19 symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis.
  • An employer is not required to pay more than $200 per day and $2,000 in the aggregate for each employee who takes paid sick leave because the employee:
  • Is caring for an individual who is experiencing symptoms of and seeking diagnosis for COVID-19 or is subject to a governmental order or medical recommendations to quarantine or self-isolate;
  • Is caring for a child whose school, place of care, or childcare provider is inaccessible because of COVID-19 related reasons; or
  • Is experiencing any substantially-similar condition specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Secretaries of Labor and Treasury.
3. Revisions to Provisions Concerning Tax Credit Allowed for Paid Leave
With the enactment of the CARE Act, the anticipated refundable amount of the tax credit allowed for paid leave under the FFCRA, calculated through the end of the most recent payroll period in the quarter, can now be advanced in accordance with forms and instructions that will be provided by the Department of Treasury. Additionally, a covered employer will not be penalized for failure to make a deposit of payroll tax if such failure was in anticipation of the tax credit generated from payment made to employees who take paid leave under the FFCRA.
4. Revisions to Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020
To receive immediate additional emergency administrative grants in fiscal year 2020 to state Unemployment Trust Fund accounts under the Emergency Unemployment Insurance Stabilization and Access Act of 2020, the states must, among other things, ensure that unemployment compensation claimants have at least two ways to apply for benefits (e.g., in-person, by phone, or online), but only to the extent practicable.
Federal Expansion of State Unemployment Benefits
The CARES Act provides Federal funding to each state’s unemployment insurance agency and requires that states pay out additional unemployment benefits to individuals who become unemployed for COVID-19 related reasons.
1. Who is Covered?
The CARES Act expands the definition of a “covered individual,” to provide unemployment benefits to those who:
  • Have already exhausted their state’s unemployment benefits;
  • Have or are seeking a diagnosis for COVID-19;
  • Have a household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Are providing care for a household member, relative, or relative’s household member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • Have a child who is unable to attend school or daycare due to a COVID-19 closure order;
  • Cannot go to work because they have been quarantined or because their place of work is closed due to a closure order (it does not include those who can telework);
  • Had to quit their job as a direct result of COVID-19; or
  • Are self-employed, seeking part-time employment, or would not have a sufficient work history under State law to otherwise qualify.
2. What Benefits Are Provided?
Each covered individual will be entitled to the amount they normally would have received under their State’s unemployment law, plus an additional $600 per week for up to four months in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation. 
The CARES Act unemployment benefits will extend for the time period during which the individual remains unemployed for a COVID-19 related reason up to 39 weeks. The inability to work for a COVID-19 related reason must be between Jan. 27, 2020, and Dec. 31, 2020.
3. How Will Payments Get Distributed?
Existing state-based unemployment agencies will be required to issue the additional payments. The states will have the option of adding Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation to an already-existing unemployment benefit check, or processing two separate checks to the covered individual. The federal funding for this expansion is not a loan to the States and includes funding for a state agency’s expanded administrative duties. 
4. As an Employer, What Does This Mean for My Unemployment Tax Liability?
While not addressed in the CARES Act, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued  Executive Order 2020-24 , which includes a provision that employers who ordinarily would be charged for benefits due to a lay-off or leave of absence for COVID-19 related reasons will not be charged. That executive order also extends the time-period for expanded Michigan unemployment benefits from the  prior order ’s cut-off of April 14 to April 22, 2020.
This is part of a series of Miller Canfield  COVID-19 alerts  providing clients with practical advice on measures they can take to navigate through these challenging times. If you have questions about the Department of Labor guidance, please contact your Miller Canfield attorney or any of the authors of this alert.
Written by: Prevent Child Abuse

April is Child Abuse Prevention (CAP) Month, a time to act collectively to raise awareness and empower people across the nation to play a role in making great childhoods happen. Throughout CAP Month, we’re reinforcing the message that “Everyone can make great childhoods happen—especially you, especially now!” You don’t have to be a movie star or a professional athlete…all you need is a desire to make a difference.
Equally important is recognizing that the time to act is now! COVID-19 has made life difficult for everyone—especially children and families. Here are a few ways you (yes, you!) can to raise awareness and impact positive change during CAP Month:

Get Involved Visit our calendar of virtual events  to discover a wide range of fun activities for you and your family, including a  Wear Blue Day  contest, windowsill pinwheel gardens, take-out and delivery fundraisers,  virtual yoga classes , and a nationwide social media singalong, on April 30, among others.
Be Vocal —Let your leaders know you support family friendly policies, such as paid sick and family leave, that help reduce stress on our parents and caregivers. Learn about our year-round  Public Policy work  and mark your calendar for our nationwide  Digital Advocacy Day , on Tuesday, April 28.
Be Generous Make a donation  and learn how our work helps ensure that children and families continue to receive the resources and support they need today and throughout the year.
Spread the word—Follow us on  Facebook Twitter , and  Instagram , and share our posts widely—and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Use the hashtags #GreatChildhoods and #CAPMonth to let us know you’re committed to helping children, families, and entire communities to thrive.
Together, we can prevent child abuse, America…because child hood lasts a lifetime.
Seven Tips to manage your mental health and well-being during the COVID-19 outbreak
Written by: Desiree Dickerson
Coping with isolation in the COVID-19 pandemic is unquestionably a challenge. But there are steps you can take to manage your well-being.

I am a clinical psychologist who specializes in academic mental health and well-being. In mid-March I was due to run a resilience and well-being workshop in Sweden for doctoral candidates, but was instead facing day eight of quarantine with two small children in my apartment in Spain. Like many people’s, my sense of resilience feels increasingly frayed. When our minds are consumed by the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on our health, loved ones, home countries, economy and students — not to mention our research programme, funding or employment status, and an abrupt transition to e-learning — how do we maintain our own mental health and well-being and that of our community?
Here are some tips that have resonated from discussions I have held with academic leaders and students about responding to COVID-19:

Manage your expectations
This is unlikely to be the writer’s retreat that you have long dreamt of. The suggestion that periods of quarantine might bring unprecedented productivity implies we should raise the bar, rather than lower it. Do not underestimate the cognitive and emotional load that this pandemic brings, or the impact it will have on your productivity, at least in the short term. Difficulty concentrating, low motivation and a state of distraction are to be expected. Adaptation will take time. Go easy on yourself. As we settle into this new rhythm of remote work and isolation, we need to be realistic in the goals we set, both for ourselves and others in our charge.
Proactively manage your stress threshold
Try to lay a solid foundation for your mental health and well-being by prioritizing your sleep, and practise good sleep hygiene (for example, avoid blue lights before bed, and maintain a routine around your sleep and wake times). Eat well (be conscious that you might be inclined to lean on alcohol, or other indulgences, to manage stress — this is understandable, but potentially damaging in the long run). Exercise: it will lower your stress levels, help you to better regulate your emotions and improve your sleep.
Know your red flags
One way to manage moments of distress is to identify key thoughts or physical sensations that tend to contribute to your cycle of distress and feelings of being overwhelmed. Our thoughts (“Why can’t I concentrate?”), feelings (frustration, worry, sadness), physical sensations (tension, upset stomach, jitters) and actions (such as compulsively checking the latest COVID statistics) each feed into and amplify these negative emotional spirals. Addressing one aspect of this loop by, for example, actively reducing the physical symptoms (I use box breathing: breathe in for four counts, hold for four, breathe out for four and hold for four, then repeat) can de-escalate the cycle and help you regain control.
Routine is your friend
It helps to manage anxiety, and will help you to adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your head space. Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help to maintain your clarity of thought.
Be compassionate with yourself and with others
There is much that we cannot control right now, but how we talk to ourselves during these challenging times can either provide a powerful buffer to these difficult circumstances or amplify our distress. Moments of feeling overwhelmed often come with big thoughts, such as “I cannot do this,” or “This is too hard.” This pandemic will cause a lot of stress for many of us, and we cannot be our best selves all the time. But we can ask for help or reach out when help is asked of us.
Maintain connections
Even the most introverted of us need some sense of connection to others for our mental as well as our physical health. Many working groups have created virtual forums where you can contribute or just sit back and enjoy the chatter. Staff teams have instigated virtual coffee groups, online book clubs and co-working spaces where you can work in the (virtual) presence of others. We are in social isolation, but we need not feel alone. Reach out to those who might be particularly isolated.
Manage uncertainty by staying in the present
Take each day as it comes and focus on the things you can control.  Mindfulness and meditation can be great tools .
This will probably be a stressful time for all of us, and will test the mental-health policies and practices of many research institutes, just as it is testing much else in the world. By embracing good mental-health and well-being measures, and by relying on others when necessary, we can protect ourselves and those around us.
How to get involved
Article written by Autism Society Staff
There are many ways to get involved in the autism community. The Autism Society encourages its members and supporters to keep current on and active in ongoing advocacy issues regarding autism, stay abreast of the latest in autism-related news and issues through our online newsletter,  Autism Matters , and make an effort to attend autism events and conferences in your area. The benefits of being involved in the autism community are many—not the least of which is educating yourself about the most appropriate treatments and resources available to help your loved one on the spectrum.
Search Nationwide Autism-Related Services and Supports With Autism Source
The Autism Source™ Resource Database, created in 2004, is the most comprehensive database of its kind. The Autism Society strives to offer only credible and reliable resources to our constituents, therefore we have employed our nationwide network of affiliates and collaborated with other autism organizations and professionals throughout the U.S. It is because of these collaborative relationships that the Autism Source™ Resource Database continues to grow and is kept current with comprehensive resource listings.  Click here  to start your search.
Reach Out to Your Local Affiliate
The Autism Society’s affiliates provide a number of ways in which individuals and families to get involved, obtain support and share their experiences with others in their communities. Our affiliates are an obvious place to turn for encouragement, accurate information and education.  Find an affiliate near you.
Sign Up for Autism Society’s Free E-Newsletter
Autism Matters  is the Autism Society’s free monthly e-newsletter, with the latest updates on news, advocacy, research, education, conferences and resources.  Sign up to receive Autism Matters.
Sign Up for Autism Society Action Alerts
The Autism Society’s history and mission are grounded in its grassroots efforts to empower individuals and families to educate and advocate for themselves and their loved ones. In addition, the Autism Society is active in the public policy arena and encourages our members to get involved and take action on important issues through Action Alerts on  our website  and in our online newsletter. The Autism Society’s Action Alerts will inform you of important national legislation, giving you a chance to make your voice heard by your congressperson.  Contact us to receive Action Alerts.
Attend an Event
The Autism Society sponsors the largest gathering of people with autism, families and professionals at its annual National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders. For information about this year’s conference,  visit our conference page.  The Autism Society has a network of over 80 affiliates in almost every state, many of which sponsor their own group meetings, programs and events.  Contact your local affiliate  to get involved and find an event or meeting near you.
Sensory Friendly Films 
AMC Theatres (AMC) and the Autism Society have teamed up to bring families affected by autism and other disabilities a special opportunity to enjoy their favorite films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis with the “Sensory Friendly Films” program. In order to provide a more comfortable setting for this unique audience, the movie auditoriums will have their lights brought up and the sound turned down, families will be able to bring in their own gluten-free, casein-free snacks, no previews or advertisements will be shown before the movie, and AMC’s “Silence is Golden®” policy will not be enforced. To find a theatre near you,  click here .
Take a Free Course
Our website offers an online course for users to increase their knowledge of autism in general. Autism 101 takes approximately 30 minutes to complete and participants can download a certificate of completion when finished.
Groups are being offered via Tele-Health
Call your local EMRC office for more info!
Baltimore City Groups
Mondays 6-7 PM 
Women's Group, Teen's Group, and Youth Group
Tuesdays 6-7 PM
Men's Group
Anne Arundel County Groups

Empowering Minds Resource Center is proud to announce there is currently  NO WAIT LIST at the agency. We work hard everyday to ensure referrals are quickly processed and clients are engaged by our staff and partnered therapists immediately. We are ready, willing and able to accept new clients TODAY.

Empowering Minds Resource Center has no waitlist for our CARE COORDINATION FOR MINORS and our PSYCHIATRIC REHABILITATION PROGRAM in Harford County
Empowering Minds recognizes Roselle Mcphearson
as the Direct Service Coordinator of the Month.   Congratulations,  !

Empowering Minds is looking to add some new members to our wonderful team. Check out the link below for more information!