| December 2012|
New Program Offers Nutrition, Budgeting, and Other LifeSkills to Individuals Managing Chronic Mental Illness
Program "Starts Where Patients Are" to Remove Barriers to Healthy Lives
From the outside, the classes at the newly opened Illness Management and Recovery Program may look almost commonplace - adults learning everything from cooking to fitness to medication management, together. What's really happening is anything but common; it's individuals reaching personal goals toward maintaining a quality, full and functional life despite a diagnosis of persistent mental illness.
The new program recently launched by Family Guidance Center is one of several across the nation for Illness Management and Recovery (IMR). Through life skills classes and a social environment, individuals who are receiving treatment for a chronic mental illness learn new skills for coping successfully in their everyday lives.
"Many times people with chronic, persistent mental illness like severe depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia haven't been able to successfully gain the daily living skills they need to reach their goals in their lives or in the community," says Jennifer Paul, social worker and clinical coordinator, Foundations IMR. "We want to find out what each person's interests and needs are, and help them move forward to a brighter future."
Skills classes offered daily are voluntary, but participants must be currently receiving service from Family Guidance Center. They can pick up a schedule ahead of time for the week, such as fitness, nutrition and cooking, medication information and management or budgeting. Participants are also welcome to walk in and stay as long as they like.
Foundations will soon offer classes co-led by area pharmacists to help participants know the ways their medications work, any possible interactions and to share strategies for keeping on a regular medication schedule.
"Having a list of medications can be complicated and overwhelming at first - but with guidance and an encouraging atmosphere of learning, individuals are charting their own ways to successfully stay on track," says Paul.
"This is a long-term solution. Whenever they want to come in through our door, whether it's one day a week or every day, our doors are open."
Foundations is located at 1322 N. 36th St. (lower level) and can be reached at 816.233.1335.
Battling Stress During the Holidays
December can be a time when it feels like the calendar is out of control. As the holiday season approaches, it can also be a time of high stress. And when stress goes up, so does the risk that many people will experience some form of depression. This year, instead of living with symptoms of tension or depression, a healthy lifestyle article suggested following a few simple guidelines that can help a sense of well-being remain during and beyond the holidays:
1. Set a schedule
Planning ahead of time when activities or socializing will take place can establish a sense of control under pressure. Taking out the calendar and choosing when you will accomplish certain tasks can help avoid holiday blues.
2. Maintain a budget
Stress sets in for many when they realize they are going overboard. Setting a budget and keeping it close can bring a sense of peace.
3. Be honest about emotions
Although the holidays are always presented as happy family occasions, the reality is that, for many, the holidays can be a time of negative emotions. The holidays can confront individuals with many types of loss. Allowing yourself, and others, the permission to be real about feelings is a healthy attitude.
4. Connect with others
Instead of giving in to a temptation to retreat when stress gets high, experts suggest trying to attend a holiday event, or volunteering to help others. Giving to others and sharing experiences is a natural mood elevator.
Feelings of sadness, anxiety or hopelessness that continue after the holidays have past may indicate symptoms of persistent depression. With an assessment and diagnosis, many people will return to wellness and maintain their quality of life. Please contact Family Guidance Center for information about an assessment to help you or a loved one begin the path to recovery.
Alcohol Recovery During the Holidays
Recovery from alcohol addiction is an everyday event for thousands, but the holidays can sometimes feel like a period of particular battle. For many reasons, the holidays can bring stress, and when a person has used alcohol to cope with the stress, the cravings may be even stronger.
Holiday events that include alcohol can be especially challenging when you or a loved one are working through recovery.
- It may be helpful to go to each situation prepared with a response to invitations to drink. Knowing what you'll say, and how you'll handle the situation ahead of time, are strong tools.
- Take along a support person who is on board with your recovery.
- Many times, it is perfectly okay to say 'no' to invitations where the pressure will be too great.
- Look for support groups in cities you may be traveling to - many provide an open invitation to newcomers, even on holidays themselves.
These ideas and more were presented in a recent article on maintaining recovery from alcohol addiction through the holidays. If you or a family member are struggling with addiction to alcohol, don't hesitate to contact Family Guidance Center. Talking face to face with a mental health professional trained in addiction, or becoming involved with others experiencing the same situation, can give you the strength you need to maintain sobriety into the New Year.
"Family Guidance continues its proud history of making a major
difference in the mental health of our citizens and our communities. Nothing is more important for individual happiness than our physical and emotional well-being. Family Guidance is having an impact on both fronts."
- Gary Myers, Family Guidance Center Board Chairman
Did You Know?
96% of individuals served by Family Guidance Center's Addiction Treatment program said they chose their treatment goals.