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This Friday we celebrate the 24th Annual Women Helping Women!

Sally Pederson, former Lieutenant Governor and longtime friend of the Center, at the 2016 event. 

Sally (left) pictured above

with 2016 honoree

Marsha Ternus (right).

"Women Helping Women is a powerful event not only for the money raised, but also for the opportunity

to recognize women who've

contributed to the community and

hear their inspiring stories." 

-Sally Pederson

Sally's son has autism and received services from the Center, which is how she originally became connected. She has stayed involved over the years in various capacities, including co-leading the capital campaign for the building we use today.

Since she became involved in the first Women Helping Women in 1999, the event has grown exponentially from less than 100 attendees to more than 500 and over $1.6 million raised. Sally explained that the unique opportunity to be in a room full of mental health advocates and supporters only furthers the event's expansion.

Last chance to RSVP!

It's not too late to contribute to the event!

A brief reflection, recommendation, or informative piece written by a member of the Center each month

How have conversations about mental health changed since 2020?

"We have done a much better job of talking out loud about the mental health needs of children and teens since the pandemic. We have also underestimated the magnitude of collective grief that families have experienced in losing a loved one to COVID."

- Teri Hughes-Paulline, LISW

"Beginning in the fall of 2021 I noticed a recognition by the general population that the pandemic has had, and will have, lasting effects on the mental health of individuals of all ages. In my office, I see the after effects of depression and anxiety the most in teens and the elderly." - Laura Meade, t-LMHC

"Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic the topic of mental health has received needed attention and recognized as being a long-standing endemic in society. Every person has endured and experienced the common influences that impact so many persons' emotional and mental health. The real toll of the pandemic is having made it impossible to keep mental health out of sight and out of mind." - Chris Ogle, LISW

"I think mental health has always been a taboo topic or has had a stigma attached to it, but with the pandemic, the conversation of mental health awareness has greatly increased. I'm hearing more and more people open up about their struggles and challenges with mental health or someone they know. We need to continue this conversation to normalize it."

- Nina Pack, Development & Marketing Assistant

"Karla and I have noticed more of what she refers to as an increase of "existential trauma" -- which is raising the baseline of anxiety for many folks even amidst their personal and emotional challenges. This does not just include the pandemic but also angst about climate change, political dissension, racism, war, etc. -- with greater suffering for many, especially affecting the poor."

- Mark Minear, PhD, and Karla Minear, LISW

"For my child/adolescent clients at the beginning of the pandemic there was a lot of fear and anxiety. As the pandemic lasted much longer than anyone anticipated, the mental health conversations evolved to depression, hopelessness, and loneliness. When the omicron variant caused an upsurge, the anxiety returned in addition to depression. For the past few months, I have heard very little from the kiddos and youth about the pandemic." - Kelli Hill, PhD, HSPP

"I have noticed a change from the surge energy language of 'taking advantage of this change to improve myself' to the survival stance of 'let’s just get through this healthy and whole.'"

- Chris Waddle, Director of Leadership and Spiritual Life

"It seems to me like everyone is struggling with more burnout in their professional lives." - Erin Storm, MDiv, LISW

"Post-pandemic, I have noticed an increased need for couples counseling, as relationships have clearly been strained. I also have gladly observed that caring for one's own mental health is losing its stigma and becoming much more acceptable by our culture."

- Jodi Steger, Intake Coordinator

"Everyone is talking about the shortage of mental health professionals needed to work with all the grieving and struggling children and adults. My personal take on this is that we were in a crisis for a very long time and now that we are coming out of that crisis we are all grieving what was lost. It continues to be a really hard time for our community. It is also a great opportunity for us to come together and support one another regardless of religious, political, or social views." - Shannon Welch-Groves, PsyD, HSPP

Monthly recommendations or reflections for parents, kids, and teens from the Center's C.O.O.L. clinicians

Parenting with unconditional presence

I have a little book about Hebrew words that I look to sometimes that provides a unique perspective about the human interaction with the Spirit, God. I recently consulted this book of mine as I was contemplating the fears and worries I hear our youth expressing routinely in the privacy of a counseling session, if I take the liberty of generalizing a bit on their behalf. 

I was introduced to the Hebrew word for rest, “nuach,” which means to be settled and comforted. I learned that when God said,

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)

He was quoting from the book of Exodus, when Moses asked God to teach him how to know the Father better. According to my little book,

“in response to this request (from Moses), God replied,

‘My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.’" (Exodus 33:14)

Or we could extrapolate, "My Presence will go with you, and I will settle and comfort you."

What does this have to do with our youth? I believe one dimension is that it could speak to what we as parents can strive to do with our own children—to be unconditionally “present,” meaning to accept and love our children through all their insecurities, mistakes, and learning without enabling or withdrawing, so that we can be the secure base, or the compassionate reality check, needed to “settle” and “comfort” our children through the ups and downs of real life. 

This is the stuff that real trust is made of—I will be with you no matter what, you can trust me to settle and to comfort you, no matter what is going on. 

Wow. Seems like really big shoes to fill. What could be more daunting? And how do I be “settling” and “comforting” when the wrong things are going on? 

Sometimes settling and comforting might mean telling the truth about reality and its expectations and holding boundaries, while being sensitive about how difficult some things can be for our children to learn and accept, without compromising boundaries and appropriate expectations. 

Yes, it can be complex. It can also be simple. 

When I can be a source of comfort and stability, as my children experience the ups and downs of life, my presence goes with them out into the world as a resource of strength, hope and encouragement, hopefully to comfort and settle them as they navigate the complexities of their own lives. 

As a parent, I find comfort in that as well.

Elaina Riley is a licensed independent social worker at the Center.

Learn more about her HERE!

Thank you, Prairie Meadows!

A generous 2021 grant enabled us to make important health and safety upgrades to our building -- including 2 new water bottle filling stations that were installed last week!

Register for upcoming classes!

Check out current groups, classes and events,

including a monthly support group for survivors of suicide loss,

a spring congregational care series, mindfulness-based stress reduction and MORE!

Learn More

50th Anniversary Staff Reunion: June 16

Learn More and RSVP by 6/1

Fall 50th Anniversary Event: October 18

Save the date for an evening of celebration! More details to come.

Spring has finally sprung!

We hope you'll come visit the Center and enjoy the gorgeous scenery!

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