January 2016
Next in our Challenging Child Project initiative...  

Following up on the Think:Kids Collaborative   Problem Solving Workshop...
We are organizing discussions and support groups focused on the book The Explosive Child by Dr. Ross W. Greene. Whether you attended the workshop or wish you had, these groups will help you better deal with your challenging child. 
First published in 1998 and now in it's 5th edition, The Explosive Child radically changed the way families, teachers, mental health professionals and anyone working with the youth looked at children and adolescents with challenging behavior.
In the preface of the most recent edition Dr. Green wrote, " To be perfectly honest, I've never been a huge fan of the term (explosive). First, explosive implies that the outbursts of these kids are sudden and unpredictable and - this may be a little hard to believe at first- that's not true most of the time. Second, while many behaviorally challenging kids explode (screaming, swearing, hitting, bitting, spitting and so forth) many others implode (crying, sulking, pouting, having anxiety attacks, and being blue and withdrawn or cranky and irritable)." If that describes a child in your life, this book will provide you insight and tools to help. 
Call or email the NAMI CC&I office if you would like to be part of a NAMI CC&I Book Discussion Club in your area. 
Part of the mission of NAMI Cape Cod & The Islands is to help families, caregivers and professionals better understand the challenging behaviors our loved ones may demonstrate. Because of this, we have put considerable effort and resources into NAMI Family to Family Courses and the Family Support Groups. In 2015 we added a specific focus to the needs of children and adolescents which continues into 2016 as The Challenging Child Project.NAMI Cape Cod & the Islands is committed to providing the tools needed to help children and adolescents succeed. 

                             Review of Workshop: 
          Tools to Help Challenging Children Succeed

NAMI sponsored a free workshop on January 9, 2016 at the Hampton Inn  to help build a toolbox to held challenging children succeed.


A group of 40 parents, educators and mental health professionals gathered to hear:

Elizabeth Griffin, School Adjustment Counselor at Upper Cape Tech & licensed mental

 health counselor

Tina Qvarnstrom, educational and parent advocate, Cape Cod Advocate

Michelle Wesley, parent advocate, NAMI facilitator and special education instructor


With both specific information and moving anecdotes, Ms. Griffin & Ms. Qvarnstrom discussed critical issues in navigating through the educational system, differences in 504 accommodations and formal IEPs and the rights of parents in advocating for children.


Ms. Wesley emphasized the critical importance of record keeping and worked with participants to set up their own binders with tabs for such issues as treatment records, school information, behavior & mood notes, personal feelings, etc.  Each person left with an organized binder ready to use.


We were delighted to hear exit comments such as "I'm so thrilled that I came"  "thank you for having these sessions"  "I was enraptured."


NAMI plans to host this workshop as well as the workshop with Dr. Ablon again in the spring.  If you are interested in attending, email ahoxie@namicapecod.org to put your name on our waiting list.



Everyone experiences anxiety.
Going on a job interview makes most people anxious, but that kind of anxiety may motivate us to be better prepared. Driving in a heavy snow storm can make us anxious, but it may also keep us more alert and ultimately safer.
But when anxiety causes feelings of intense fear and distress that interfere with everyday activities, an anxiety disorder may be the cause.
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental health struggle in the United States. It is estimated that almost 20% of adults and nearly 10% of children have an anxiety disorder.
There are many different anxiety disorder. But according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) those dealing with an anxiety disorders have one thing in common: "persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening". Feelings can range from dread to irritability to being tense or jumpy. Physical symptoms can include upset stomach, tremors, insomnia, diarrhea and shortness of breath.
The most common anxiety disorders are Panic Disorder, Phobias, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder and some of which may co-occur with Agoraphobia.
Panic Disorder is characterized by what is commonly called a "panic attack". It is described as a feeling of terror which often strikes suddenly and without warning. A panic attack causes strong physical symptoms which may include chest pain, shortness of breath and heart palpitations.
For someone with phobias places, events or objects create strong fear and irrational reactions. The fear and the desire to protect themselves from these situations can dominate the life of someone with this disorder.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) creates a chronic, exaggerated worrying about everyday life.   A woman attending a NAMI Family to Family class on Cape Cod whose daughter was diagnosed with GAD at 23 said, "I had no idea how overwhelming her anxiety was. She lost weight because she couldn't keep food down, she was chronically nauseous. I tried to talk her out of her feelings which wasn't right. She needed professional help."
Social Anxiety Disorder is not shyness. This disorder causes intense fear usually based on the irrational fear of social humiliation. Afraid of saying something wrong, those with a social anxiety disorder may isolate to avoid the risk of humiliation.
Agoraphobia, the intense fear and anxiety of any place or situation where escape might be difficult, leads to avoidance of situations. Some avoid being outside of the home, others find traveling in a car, bus, or airplane impossible. Nearly half of those who suffer from panic attacks have agoraphobia.
Each anxiety disorder has its own treatment plan which may include psychotherapy, medications and relaxation techniques.
Talk with a mental health care professional if anxiety begins to interfere on a daily basis.
Reprinted from the most recent To Your Good Health written by Deb Rausch 

On the Advocacy Front...
The Treatment Advocacy Center is the only national nonprofit focused exclusively on eliminating legal and other barriers to treatment for people with severe mental illnesses such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.            

    to read about the infectious/inflammatory theory that has become the first major new addition to schizophrenia study in the last half-century.
         Diabetes and Depression
                      A New Collaboration
             NAMI CC&I and YMCA Cape Cod
We at NAMI CC&I are pleased to announce a new collaboration with YMCA Cape Cod's Weny Diabetes Resource Center in an effort to address both the physical and mental health needs of the large number of people living with Type I and
Type II Diabetes in our community. Our respective programming directors will start working together next month to design and implement a series of free educational classes and supportive events for the diabetic and pre diabetic. The center will also offer free literature on the many aspects of living with diabetes.
The programs and classes will be held at the Weny Diabetes Resource Center located in the YMCA building on Route 132 in Hyannis. One does not need to be a member of the Y to take part in these free programs and classes focusing on a healthy physical and mental approach to living with diabetes.
Stay tuned for more information as the new programs are developed and as the YMCA and NAMI CC&I work together on the Weny Diabetes Resour ce Center. 

                         New At NAMI CCI
Jackie Lane, Executive Director, announces a new staff position
I am very pleased to announce that we have hired Kim Lemmon to fill the newly created part time position of Outreach Coordinator. She has been volunteering with the organization for the past two years as Volunteer Coordinator and recently as a F2F  teacher.  She has a background in Elementary Education, Neurodiagnostics, and  Elder/Hospice care.  She will be working closely with Jud Phelps, Director of Client Services, to provide on going outreach support.
Family to Family Teacher Training on Nantucket.

Deb and Rocky Rausch started the New Year leading our first ever Family to Family teacher training on Nantucket. Eight new teachers were trained and four formerly trained teachers came to be "recertified".
Half of the attendees were from off island. Among the attendees were several recent Cape Cod and Nantucket Family to Family graduates. Two were sponsored by their local affiliate and NAMI Mass from NAMI Latino. They were a wonderful and fun addition to our group. They will be leading Family to Family courses on the north shore this spring in the Spanish version of the program.
Held at the Nantucket Hotel and Resort on January 2 and 3rd 2016, it was a wonderful way to start off the new year. NAMI CC&I are excited to have six new teachers and four recertified teachers ready to teach this spring and summer. Thanks to all who attended and congratulations!
Martha's Vineyard's Family to Family class began Jan 19.  A class will begin on Nantucket at the end of January.  Look for announcements on Family to Family classes starting on the Cape late February and March and a class in Orleans in April.  A 2nd teacher training will be held in April.  Contact the office or email info@namicapecod.org
 Family Support Groups
How They Can Help You

By sharing your experiences in a safe and confidential setting, you gain hope and develop supportive relationships. This group allows your voice to be heard, and provides an opportunity for your personal needs to be met. It encourages empathy, productive discussion and a sense of community. You'll benefit through other's experiences, discover your inner strength and learn now to identify local resources and how to use them.

A Family Support Group will help you:
  • See the individual first, not the illness
  • Recognize that mental illnesses are medical illnesses that may have environmental triggers
  • Understand that mental illnesses are traumatic events
  • Aim for better coping skills
  • Find strength in sharing experiences
  • Reject stigma and not tolerate discrimination
  • Not judge anyone's pain
  • Forgive ourselves and reject guilt
  • Embrace humor as healthy
  • Accept that we cannot solve every problem
  • Work for a better future in a realistic way

"The most beneficial thing for me was that I am not alone. I found the NAMI Family Support Group at the time I really needed it!"

We presently have monthly support groups for families and friends dealing with a mentally ill loved one  in the following towns: Barnstable, Falmouth, East  Harwich, Sandwich, Nantucket & Martha's Vineyard.  Groups for people with a mental illness are in Orleans and Martha's Vineyard.  Visit our website under "support" for days and times.
The Illustrated Happiness Trap
     by Russ Harris & illustrated by Bev Aisbett
The Illustrated Happiness Trap is a simplified illustrated version of the bestseller, The Happiness Trap also by Russ Harris. Using clever, descriptive drawings it provides a great tool to become familiar with Acceptance Commitment Therapy (ACT) prior to reading the original and longer version or act as a refresher for anyone trained to use ACT.

Acceptance Commitment Therapy is a widely used and is based on two main principles, mindfulness and values. Used together, ACT helps deal with painful feelings and thoughts to ultimately create a fuller, more meaningful life. In this illustrated version you will learn what mindfulness is and what skills need to be learned. Through "defusion", expansion and connection the book illustrates how to start living in the present instead of worrying about the future or thinking about the past. With ACT you learn to focus on how your values give your life purpose, meaning and direction.

If you want to learn to reduce stress and worry, deal with painful memories and feelings, and reduce anxiety this short introduction to ACT and the concept behind mindfulness might be the place to start.
healthy living for your body, mind and spirit

Book reviewed by Deb Rausch

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Did You Receive a MassHealth Renewal Letter and Need Help Applying? Attend a Free Special Enrollment Event 

     MassHealth, with assistance from the Health Connector, will be hosting a renewal event in Hyannis to assist individuals and families with renewing their health benefits.

                    Thursday, February 4, 2016  10:00 am - 4:00 pm
        Harbor Health Services at the Harbor Community Health Center
                            735 Attucks Lane, Hyannis, MA  02601

Dance In the Rain... 
Dance in the Rain Whole Person Approach Peer to Peer Services and NAMI Cape Cod & The Islands launched the first meeting of their collaborative peer and family program "Bridging the Gap".
This program is designed for peers and family members to begin dialogue, heal and find unique solutions families face when there is a mental health challenge within the family unit. ( A peer is a person who has mental health challenges.  When we engage with each other that is the term we use.) The unique conditions of this illness can put tremendous stress upon the family unit causing 'gaps' or difficulties.
Dance in the Rain has designed a unique approach for family members and peers to begin dialogue about the difficulties faced. Family members and peers can anonymously ask those difficult questions, things they worry or are concerned about and share experiences. In return the group offers varied perspectives to these questions. Because of the diverse levels of experience and healing on both the family and peers part the dialogue is very engaging.
Our first meeting held January 12th was a positive experience for all who attended. Unique and challenging questions were brought up and discussed such as  "I feel my family member manipulates the system to get what they want."  "How do I get my family member to engage outside of the home?"  "I don't like it when my family acts as my doctors soldiers." "Just because I'm sad it doesn't mean I'm depressed. I also can be happy and excited without being considered manic."  "How can I initiate conversation with my family member if I'm concerned?".   The combined knowledge and experience of the group brought varied answers, solutions, comments and thoughts.
Bridging the Gap is offered the second Tuesday of every month. Join us This coming February 9th from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at the Dance in the Rain Office 145 Barnstable Rd. Hyannis. Bring a dessert to share.
Come as a family or by yourself. Join the dialogue of healing and strengthening the family unit.
Mary E. Munsell
Founder/ Executive Director/Peer
Dance in the Rain Whole Person Approach
Click to read:
Inclusions in the Newsletter
We have recently been asked for last minute inclusions of events in our newsletter.  We have instituted a new policy:  It is at the discretion of the Executive Director to determine whether content being submitted for distribution to the membership is aligned with our mission.  If the content is determined to be appropriate, it may be included in the monthly e-newsletter if it is submitted prior to the first of the month.