Tag Archives: Lincoln County Mental Health

Pat Neal…2011 Oregon Rural Health Hero of the Year! A selfless community service leader and trailblazer for mental health…

 

Mental Illness is a Medical Problem, by Patricia Neal, Mental Health Advocate, Lincoln County Oregon…Newport News-Times, Viewpoint, Wednesday, March 9, 2016

We have heard a great deal about people with mental illness in connection with mass shootings and sometimes when police are trying to deal with the mentally ill. Many people know very little about mental illness and because of the stigma associated with mental illness there may be a reluctance to learn about it or discuss it. There was a time when parents were blamed for raising their kids wrong and causing mental illness. In the 1970’s a few of the medications used for mental illness were in use and we knew mental illness was a medical problem. The early medications did not work for everyone and although many more medications have been developed there still are people who are not well served by the existing medications. Medications sometimes seem to be more effective if given as a shot rather than a pill. More research is being done to develop medications and to better understand how the brain works and what affects the development of the brain.

Emphasis is now beginning to integrate treatment for mental illness with primary care. Physicians are not normally trained to work with mental illness and efforts are now being made to provide them with training on the subject.

We hear of schizophrenia frequently in connection with police involvement. It affects people differently. Some can’t sleep, get agitated and angry, may hear things that are not real and others may go into a catatonic state. My nephew stood in front of the refrigerator and did not move for three hours. He said his mind was going so fast that he could not make a decision to move. Paranoia may be part of schizophrenia and they think everyone is watching them, threatening them, or trying to do things to them.

Many of the medications have undesirable side effects. Weight gain and type two diabetes are two “side effects”. The medications also may leave them perpetually ’tired’ and slow to wake up in the morning. .

There is a program now being taught here and elsewhere in the country called Mental Health First Aid. It is used with first responders, physicians and other medical providers, and parents. There is a version for students and that is very important because mental illness frequently strikes during the high school years. (It can be found online—use a well-known website like Mayo Clinic or some universities for medical information. Wikipedia is not necessarily reliable.)

Mental illness—depression, bipolar (once called manic depressive because of the mood swings) and schizophrenia frequently start in the high school or puberty years. As young people begin to have symptoms they may not understand what is happening and self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. Then when they are diagnosed with mental illness they have two problems.

Recent research seems to indicate that Gluten (associated with Celiac Disease) may attack the brain rather than the digestive system and cause schizophrenia and perhaps other mental problems. Both Celiac Disease and Schizophrenia are inherited diseases. Type 1 diabetes is also frequently found with Celiac Disease.

Mental illness has a physical medical association or medications would not help deal with the illness. We need to recognize it as a medical problem, remove the stigma associated with it and begin to learn about it and deal with it.

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I’m so pleased and honored to have Pat Neal as a guest blogger, especially on the topic of mental health.  She has been making a huge difference in Lincoln County for over 20 years since her retirement.  Pat’s life experience and family circumstances fuels a passion to make a difference.  Pat and I are now teaming up serving on the Lincoln County Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC). Pat Neal really cares!  I can only hope that my work in post trauma growth can help carry her significant contributions and passion forward.  She intends to stay engaged and active in the community for as long as possible.  I feel lucky to know her as a friend and neighbor.  Thank you, Pat Neal, for all you do!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1&2… Please Click the highlighted text for my author page and to order books.

My Post-Trauma Growth project and workbook, “I Worry About the Kids,” for parents, teachers, mentors, and others.  Please click the highlighted text and for the project video clip.  Support and backing as a donation and sharing is most appreciated.  Thank You!

 

 

Katie’s Way…A safe place of healing and treatment for young adults with mental health challenges…

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The Mathis Family Lost Katie to Depression…

Katie’s Way… Click on the highlighted text, and take a moment to see the powerfully moving video clip…

“Katie’s Way was established in cooperation with The No Stone Unturned Foundation to provide services that promote social-emotional development, prevent development of mental health challenges, and address social-emotional problems that currently exist.”

“Katie’s Way was developed to overcome barriers by providing:

  • A non-institutional setting to overcome the stigmatism associated with an institutional model
  • Team-Based Care – psychiatry and psychology professionals all working together
  • All staff are specialty credentialed in child and adolescent psychiatry/psychology”

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We live in the rural community of Depoe Bay, Oregon in Lincoln County on the Central Oregon Coast.  We are blessed to live out our dreams in this beautiful and stunning coastal community.  We have big challenges just like many rural towns, including the lack of resources to help those who are mentally challenged, especially kids.  The stigma of mental health hits us hard just like everywhere else in America.  Most hesitate or even avoid telling parents and loved ones about feelings of severe depression and anxiety for fear it will not lead to a helpful outcome, or even worse, could keep them from achieving dreams of college, career, and building loving relationships.  We are devastated and traumatized whenever there is word of a death, suicide or accident connected with the need for vastly improved mental health treatment and healing resources.

One of the most recent tragedies in our community is the story of little London McCabe, who’s mother tossed him over the Yaquina Bridge in Newport, Oregon because she was hearing voices.  Other examples we can’t mention names in order to protect victims, include child abuse, sexual abuse and maltreatment.  My own life experience includes a severely toxic and sometimes violent home culture while growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s before leaving to join the US Navy in 1963… “I got away!”

The State of Oregon acknowledges the need to improve mental health support and treatment resources by making it a legislative priority.  Our local Depoe Bay, Oregon City Council formally put mental health on its agenda.  We participate in the local community governing process by sitting on both the Local Public Safety Coordinating Council (LPSCC) and the Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC).  We are making room in our new Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital expansion to include space and beds for a detox treatment center.  Where we have a sticky problem is trying to build resources within our smaller communities similar to Katie’s Way, where getting help comes from a safe and secure setting managed by non institutional professionals and volunteers.

Katie’s Way is a non-profit public private partnership business model we need to get serious about right now!  There have been attempts in the past that have either failed or struggled to achieve sustainability.  We have the compassion, passion, and talent in Lincoln County to make it happen, we just need to go the extra mile.  I hope the story of Katie’s Way will give us the extra energy and commitment to move forward more quickly.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1…  Click the highlighted text for my author page.

Depoe Bay City Councilor

https://www.facebook.com/councilorsparks     Please “like” my page…

 

 

Mental Health Awareness Month of May… Take advantage of Mental Health First Aid training in your local community…

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May is Mental Heath Awareness Month…  Quote from this website…

For more than 60 years, May has been nationally recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month.

“Mental wellness is essential for peak cognitive and physical performance and ensures the readiness of our service members. This month the Military Health System (MHS) focuses on the mental wellness of service members, their families, retirees, and DoD civilians. We will highlight the tools and resources available for the prevention and treatment of the DoD community’s overall mental wellness.”

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I am pleased to share that Mental Health First Aid training has arrived in Lincoln County Oregon!  I was happy to take the lead to bring the Mental Health 1st Aid training to our City of Depoe Bay, Oregon with the help of Lincoln County Health & Human Services.  We are scheduling an overview introduction to the Depoe Bay City Council, and to the Neighbors for Kids (NFK) Board of Directors during this month.  Near future training for selected staff in both organizations will be schedule.  Following are a few highlights of the training quoted from the website…

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Mental Health First Aid

is an in-person training that teaches you how to help people developing a mental illness or in a crisis.

Mental Health First Aid teaches you:

  •  Signs of addictions and mental illnesses
  •  5-step action plan to assess a situation and help 
  •  Impact of mental and substance use disorders
  •  Local resources and where to turn for help

The State of Oregon is making mental health a top priority going forward with a campaign  slogan, “Can’t We Do More?”  It is the responsibility of local and county government, private, and public leadership to take advantage of this training.  Lincoln County Mental Health offers the availability of two highly trained staff members to conduct training on a selected basis.  I have written previously in this blog about the need to do more in rural communities for mental health awareness... click on highlighted text for more…

You can make a difference during the month of May and all year by taking a look at the Mental Health First Aid program for your own needs as a business, school or public service organization.  Please review the references and resources available and take action.  Mental Health 1st Aid is just as critical as getting training for first-aid best practices in general.  Lives are saved through a higher level of awareness of all health and wellness challenges in local communities everywhere.

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life after Trauma, Part 1…  Click highlighted text for my author page…

Vice Chair, Neighbors for Kids & Depoe Bay City Councilor