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News from NAMI of Snohomish County, WA
Second Quarter 2020
Self Care – Some Fundamentals

No question, these are tough times. Each of us, in one way or another, finds ourselves facing challenges that we have never encountered or even thought about before. In this period of stress, we must dig deeper for ways to stay grounded. Being still is more important now than ever. Meditation and prayer are important and effective for many. Music helps. We are really just striving to enter into a place of contemplation and reflection. Being in nature is especially effective. The combination of fresh air and activity are very powerful. Taking in spring with a walk in the sunshine or finding a place to just watch the waves can be magical. Please seek out the tools that bring you to this special place, this place of calm. Birds in the early morning always do it for me.
Keith Binkley
  • Drop-In Clinic. If you are in need of in-person mental health support during these trying times, the Behavioral Health Urgent Care Drop-In Clinic at the Providence Hospital Colby campus in North Everett is still open daily Mondays through Fridays. No appointment is necessary but given the current health crisis, it is advisable to call ahead if possible.You can avoid entering through the 13th Street emergency department entrance by walking through a separate door to the Medical Office Building from 14th Street. You can also enter the parking garage at 13th Street, park on the third floor and walk across the pedestrian walkway where you will immediately see the clinic entrance which is on the ground level. HeraldNet article on the clinic 
  • Coping. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has posted some ideas for dealing with stress during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read them here.
  • Internet Access. The internet is a vital source of information and much-needed entertainment while everyone is in isolation. But not everyone has access to a connected computer. If you know someone in our community who is isolated due to lack of connectivity, please let them know about the new free hotspots and free two-months eligibility for low-income individuals from Comcast and other providers. Details
  • Video Classes. Our NAMI Family to Family classes and NAMI Basics classes are currently taking place using Zoom, the popular video conferencing for remote office and school work. Soon, we hope to resume support groups with Zoom also.
  • Headspace. is a website that provides info on meditation and improving sleep. During these stressful times, they are offering a free section called "Weathering the Storm" with sleep, exercise, and meditation exercises for anyone. 
  • It's Grief. While not usually a source for emotional support, the Harvard Business Review wrote an excellent article titled "That Discomfort You're Feeling is Grief" that features an interview with David Kessler, cowriter with Elisabeth Kübler-Ross of On Grief and Grieving: Finding the Meaning of Grief through the Five Stages of Loss. Kessler shared how what we are all going through right now is similar to grief and how to manage it. 
  • Share. You may have found some new apps to help us through these times which we hope you will share with other readers of The Beacon by responding to this message.
  • 2020 Census: Why Does It Matter? Census statistics are used to distribute billions in federal funding for everything from roads and schools to housing and human services.  More than most people, we understand the importance of community services and public infrastructure, specifically for those affected by mental illness. We have a once-in-a-decade opportunity to count every person residing in our communities. Getting counted in the Census is vital for our community to receive the resources it needs to thrive. In addition, getting counted tells politicians that you matter and that you care about our community’s future. Washington State estimates that $4,800 per year for 10 years is at risk for every household that isn’t counted. For these reasons, we strongly encourage all residents of our community to be counted in 2020. The Census questionnaire can be completed online, telephone and by mail. For more information go to the website or call 844-330-2020.
  • Learning to Lead. Last month four NAMI Snohomish County board members completed a day-long workshop, Tools for Running an Effective Nonprofit. Our goal was to walk away with concrete information on how to strengthen NAMI Snohomish County to better achieve our mission. There were six primary topics covered. We left feeling very inspired to develop new programs, improve our volunteer program and be a little less afraid of fundraising. The course was offered by Washington Nonprofits and they offer free online courses and webinars, too. Visit their website for more information.
  • Article on Schizophrenia. On January 13, 2020, The Washington Post Magazine published an extensive story on schizophrenia titled "What Schizophrenia Does to Families."  Among the 751 reader comments, several Seattle and Snohomish county families responded to the article. UW professor Dr. Sarah Kopelevich referred to published research that shows CBTp (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Psychosis) can be effective for those living with psychosis.
  • New Mental Health Technician Course. Edmonds Community College has a new certificate program to train individuals for employment as part of a treatment team in behavioral environments. The Mental Health Technician curriculum of six courses includes an externship, some of which are also listed as course offerings within Social and Human Services as well as Allied Health.  Check the college website.
  • Video Medicine. Telemedicine or using video conferencing to communicate with a provider began in rural Washington communities far from treatment providers. However, in this new world of medicine, counseling, and psychiatric care in the time of Covid-19, it is becoming the standard even in our Puget Sound area. Read More. We would like to hear from readers on their experiences with Telecounseling or Telemedicine; just hit "reply" to this e-mail.
Important Changes

Thanks to the many NAMI members who contacted their representatives following alerts from NAMI WA on key behavioral health bills during last WA state legislative session. 

For example, in the past year there have been significant changes to family involvement concerning their children over 13 years of age. Details. Families of children over 13 were relieved that they can now initiate outpatient treatment for their children in need thanks to HB 1874.  Details

Senator Manka Dhingra of Redmond, also a board member of NAMI Eastside, led effforts to make changes to the involuntary treatment act, primarily to allow more time to make medical evaluations and behavioral health assessments for five days instead of the present 72 hours, as well as inserting language of “safe behavior” into the threshold for involuntary treatment. Details. “The bill updates civil commitment procedures and removes barriers to people getting the help they need,” said Sen. Manka Dhingra (D-Redmond), the bill’s sponsor. “It prioritizes patient assessment and aftercare.” KING-5 News Article

Jerri Clark of Vancouver, WA, founder of MOMI ( Mothers of Mentally Ill), has been active in many of these initiatives to protect mentally ill by changing the language of the ITA (Involuntary Treatment Act) in Washington State. “We are letting people die with their rights on” was one of her frequent catch-phrases.  Related Story 

Seth Dawson, previously Prosecuting Attorney in Snohomish County and formerly state lobbyist for NAMI WA, reported on the status of behavioral health bills as of March 14, 2020.  He is now Government Relations Liaison for Compass Health, and represents WA State Psychiatric Association and WA Association for Substance Abuse & Violence Prevention (WASAVP). 

Finally, here is a summary of behavioral health legislation as of March 14, 2020.
Help Needed

We are in challenging times, clearly unprecedented by all measures. There are currently multiple stressors acting upon the entire world and our local community is not immune to the impact. This type of situation truly impacts our resiliency. The challenge is especially pronounced for the most vulnerable in our community including those who live with a mental illness. We all need to identify tools and use them to help us weather this storm. Fear and isolation can be particularly devastating and we need to do everything we can to maintain our social connection.

This type of support is crucial to our well-being as a society and ClubHouses play a HUGE role in our collective well-being. Maintaining the financial stability of our local ClubHouses has NEVER been more important. This is a dire situation and a critical need for us to effectively recover from this pandemic. Although we do not often use The Beacon to solicit special contributions, we are asking you now to consider donating to Everett Clubhouse (Hero House NW) as well to NAMI Snohomish County. Thank you!
NAMI Snohomish offers an array of free classes and support groups throughout the month. Here is the Full Schedule, and below are descriptions of each group with links to more information.

NAMI Connection is a recovery support group for adults with a mental health diagnosis that offers respect, understanding, encouragement, and hope led by trained facilitators living in recovery themselves.

NAMI Family and Friends Mental Health and Spiritual Support Group is for individuals who wish to share their life experiences, spirituality, and coping skills in living with a mental illness.

NAMI Family Support Group is a peer-led support group for any adult with a loved one who has experienced symptoms of a mental health condition.

NAMI Peer-to-Peer is a recovery-focused educational program for adults who wish to establish and maintain wellness in light of their mental health challenges.

In Our Own Voice provides an opportunity for a person living with mental illness to speak with community groups and share what it is like to live with mental illness.

NAMI Basics Class is a free, six-session education program for parents, guardians, and other family members who provide care for youth (age 22 or younger) who are experiencing mental health symptoms.

Family to Family Class is a free, eight-week course for family and friends of people with a mental illness.
24-Hour Crisis Hotline: 1-800-584-3578

  During [these] times of stress, pay attention to your own needs and feelings.
– World Health Organization
Banner photo of Mukilteo Lighthouse courtesy of David R. Irons Jr.