Take Care of Yourself During These Difficult Times – A Checklist To Help You

COVID – 19 and Mental Health Checklist

____ Call or video chat with friends and/or family

____ ZOOM meal or meeting with friends and/or family

____ Speak with someone I haven’t spoken to in long time

____ Relaxation/Breathing exercises; meditation, yoga

____ Indoor physical exercise; workout; virtual workouts

____ Outdoor exercise – walk, hike, run, bicycle (wear mask, social distance)

____ Outdoor get together friends or family (backyard, large porch with proper distancing, masks)

____ Long Car Ride

____ Enjoyable and distracting activities:  ___Reading __ Listening to music ___ Dancing/Singing ___ Art/Painting ___Gardening/Planting ____Play instrument ____ Puzzles/Games ___ Other

____ Watch movies or shows I missed

____ New project (s)

____ Comic Relief i.e. watch funny show, YouTube or Netflix comedians, read joke book)

____ Take a nap, rest

____ Reminisce – watch family videos, look at albums

____ Clean the ______;   Organize the _______

____ Help someone; make a charitable contribution or gesture

____ Journal, establish a gratitude document

____ Eat healthy

____ Remind self of positive attributes

____ Treat partner, children, others with respect; let them know the things you appreciate about them

Add others as you see fit.

Limit: Watching or reading news; substance use; compulsive (comfort) eating; compulsive shopping

Try to do at least 3-5 of these depending on circumstances

Take Care of Yourself During These Difficult Times

COVID -19 has had a profound impact on all of us and the longer the pandemic continues the worse it feels.  We have never experienced anything like this in our lives. People are feeling very anxious and irritable due to the fears of contracting the disease, fears of losing loved ones, the loss of our routines, the restrictions in what we could do, and the uncertainties of the present and future.

Following are some suggestions to try to help you during these difficult times:

  1. Recognize that your anxiety, fears, and/or depression are absolutely understandable and you are definitely not alone. Accept these understandable emotional states as best as possible
  2. At the same time, try to practice relaxation exercises. There are many relaxation, meditation apps that could be downloaded on your phone for free. Find the one that suits you best and practice it a couple of times a day.
  3. Physically exercise in some way (s) if you are able. We are unable to attend gyms currently, but most gyms offer virtual classes for free. Also physical exercise, yoga, cardio videos could be found on YouTube. If you have equipment at home, please use it.
  4. You do not have to stay in your home all the time. Go for car rides, go out for walks, runs, or bicycle rides. Please be safe. Wear masks and practice social distancing.
  5. Social distancing prevents direct social involvement which is frustrating for many. However, you can speak to your friends and family regularly. Use video chat options. Reach out to friends that you have not spoken to in a long time. It is also possible to get together with family or friends by gathering outside i.e. in a backyard, while practicing appropriate social distancing.
  6. LIMIT watching or reading about news. People state that they want to be informed. You could be informed checking for a relatively short period of time a couple of times a day. Watching continuously raises anxiety, uncertainties, depression etc.
  7. Identify and participate in activities that you will enjoy and keep you distracted. This could include some of the suggestions above, watching TV shows documentaries that interest you, reading, listening to music, dancing, doing creative or artistic things, gardening.
  8. Use humor when possible and appropriate. Watch shows that make you laugh. YouTube or Netflix comedians that you like.
  9. Take the time to clean or organize areas that you haven’t been able to get to. When things feel out of control, cleaning and organizing provides some sense of control and accomplishment.
  10. Help others in need, If you can, make charitable contribution, support local restaurants,
  11. Avoid substance abuse, excessive comfort eating, and other negative compulsive behaviors.

The COVID-19 pandemic and quarantining has increased the tension for many couples and families. It is critical for partners and parents to manage their frustrations without hurting (verbally, emotionally, or physically) your partner or your children. The above suggestions apply. In addition:

  1. Try to remember that you partner and/or children are feeling a great deal of tension also.
  2. Remind yourself of the positive qualities that attract or attracted you to your partner.
  3. Relationships can be very challenging. Work hard at treating your partners (and children) with respect and consideration.
  4. With your partner, identify things that you enjoy doing together. At the same time, you don’t need to do everything together. In these situations, it is usually better for each person to be apart at times and engaging in alone time and participating in their own comforting activities.
  5. Try to find some creative and fun activities to do with your children. YouTube can help.
  6. Remember you (and your children) can go out as long as you practice safety guidelines.
  7. Try not to “sweat the small stuff” Couples I work with have said that the coronavirus and tragedies associated with it have helped them put things in perspective.

Do the best you can. Remember, it is natural to have some level of anxiety and depression. Try not to get down on yourself.

We’re Hiring!

Therapists (2) – Outpatient Mental Health

Job Description

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides direct clinical services to clients in a nonprofit mental health agency.
  • Performs comprehensive assessments to obtain sufficient information to complete Family & Community Services of Somerset County’s (FCSSC) intake and establish treatment goals.


· LCSW, LMFT, or LPC preferred

· Experience working with families and children

· Must be able to work 3 or 4 nights a week Monday-Friday from 4p-9p

· English speaking as well as Bilingual – Spanish therapists needed

Masters required

Please send resumes to rschumann@fcssomerset.org

Family and Community Services of Somerset County celebra 60 años de excelencia

FCSSC aspira a recaudar $60.000 para el año 2020

Bound Brook, NJ – 2 de enero, 2020 –  Family & Community Services of Somerset County (FCSSC) es calificada 501 c (3), una agencia comunitaria sin fines de lucro. Dicha agencia se destaca por su función en contribuir servicios económicos y profesionales de salud mental y adicciones para la familia, niños, adolescentes y adultos necesitados durante los últimos 60 años.  Fundada en el año 1960, FCSSC (según sus siglas en ingles), ofrece servicios de apoyo para abordar cada una de las transiciones y dificultades  de la vida. 

FCSSC tiene como misión propia ofrecer servicios eficaces y económicos de salud mental y contra el abuso de drogas. Dichos servicios se ofrecen a un costo económico basados en una escala de pago graduada, e incluyen terapia individual, para familias y para parejas, como también terapia en grupo en inglés y español, un programa para abordar la violencia doméstica y recientemente  se agregó uno específicamente para veteranos de las fuerzas armadas.

“Family & Community Services of Somerset County ofrece servicios esenciales para los residentes de la comunidad que de otra manera no tendrían donde recurrir para recibir la atención que necesitan”, según Richard Schumann, director ejecutivo de la agencia. “Aunque somos una organización pequeña, hemos tenido un impacto favorable y continuamos teniéndolo, en la salud mental  y en el abuso de drogas de la comunidad.  El año pasado ofrecimos 8.700 horas de servicios en salud mental y abuso de drogas para más de 780 clientes. 

Para poder continuar sirviendo a la comunidad de Somerset y sus alrededores por 60 años más FCSSC busca recaudar $60.000 en el transcurso del año en homenaje al aniversario de la agencia.  Entre los eventos planificados están, una noche de comedia en el teatro Villagers, bingo con premio de carteras, un día de golf en el club Royce Brook, una carrera de 5K en el parque Duke Island y también nuestra campaña navideña para recaudar fondos.  

Según, Lori Manduley, presidenta de la junta de la agencia, “La salud mental y el abuso de drogas que siguen sin atención son unos de los problemas más grandes que enfrenta el país. Son la raíz de muchas otras  dificultades y problemas. Ser voluntaria y poder contribuir hacia esta agencia magnifica me hace sentir que formo parte de la solución”. Manduley fue instalada recientemente come presidenta de la junta de FCSSC. 

Para informarse sobre la agencia y los eventos planeados visite a la página http://fcssomerset.org

Family and Community Services of Somerset County Celebrates 60 Years of Excellence

FCSSC Sets a Fundraising Goal of $60,000 for 2020

Bound Brook, NJ – January 2, 2020– Family and Community Services of Somerset County (FCSSC) a 501(c)(3) non-profit community agency that has been providing professional and affordable mental health, family and addictions counseling services to children, adolescents, adults, and families in need for 60 years. Founded in 1960, FCSSC provides support services to address each of life’s many transitions and problems.

FCSSC’s mission is to provide affordable and effective mental health and substance abuse services. These services, provided on a sliding scale basis, include individual, family, and couple therapy, as well as group treatment for people of all ages in English and Spanish. FCSSC offers a Domestic Violence program and recently added a program specifically for U.S. Veterans. 

“Family & Community Services of Somerset County provides essential services to people in the community who might not otherwise receive the help they need.” said Richard Schumann, Executive Director, Family and Community Services of Somerset County. “We may be a small organization, but we have made and will continue to make an impact on mental health and substance abuse services in the community.  Last year we provided over 8,700 hours of mental health and substance abuse services to 780+ clients”

In order to continue for another 60 years of service to the Somerset County and New Jersey community, FCSSC is seeking to raise $60,000 in honor of the non-profit’s anniversary over the course of 2020.  Events planned include; A Night of Comedy at the Villagers Theatre, Handbag Bingo, Golf Outing at Royce Brook Country Club, Taking Strides Towards Wellness 5K run/walk at Duke Island Park and our Holiday Giving campaign.  

“Untreated mental illness and substance abuse are 2 of the biggest problems we face in this country. Indeed, they are the root cause of so many other problems” said Lori Manduley, Board President. “Volunteering for and donating to this terrific agency makes me feel like I am part of the solution.”  Manduley is Family and Community Service’s newest Board President after Howard Hessel served for 9 years.

FCSSC has a positive impact on the well-being of the community it serves.  Listed below is information from the past year’s services: 

  • FCSSC saw 330+ clients for patients suffering an addiction and served 3,000+ hour
  • FCSSC saw 400+ client for patients experiencing a mental health concern and served 5,400+ hours
  • FCSSC supports Spanish trauma groups and served 30+ clients and served 160+ hours

For more information on Family and Community Services of Somerset County and to learn about our events, visit: http://fcssomerset.org

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

The 2019 theme, “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow,” is designed to draw attention to the pervasive impact that alcohol, alcoholism and alcohol-related problems have on young people, their friends, families and communities — and to highlight the reality that help is available and recovery is possible.

  • excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year
  • more than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year
  • young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21
  • drinking by persons under the age of 21 is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits


Alcohol-Free Weekend, traditionally observed during Alcohol Awareness Month in April, is scheduled for April 5-7, 2019.

Alcohol Awareness Month, founded and sponsored by Facing Addiction with NCADD since 1987, is a national grassroots effort observed by communities throughout the United States to support prevention, research, education, intervention, treatment and recovery from alcoholism and alcohol-related problems.

During Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 5-7, 2019), Facing Addiction with NCADD and Family & Community Services of Somerset County ask parents and other adults to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages for a 72-hour period to demonstrate that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time. If participants find it difficult to go without alcohol during this period, they are urged to call 732-356-1082 for information about alcoholism.

Family & Community Services of Somerset County (FCSSC) offers mental health, addictions, and other community-based services to those who live and work in Somerset County and other surrounding communities. We specialize in providing support, guidance, and counseling to individuals and families in need.  If you think you need help, please call 732-356-1082. 

Make Family & Community Services of Somerset County your AMAZON SMILE organization!

Hello Friends of Family & Community Services of Somerset County

One really easy way you can help support Family & Community Services of Somerset County is to use AMAZON SMILE when you order anything on AMAZON.


Make sure you select Family & Community Services of Somerset County as your organization of choice.

AMAZON PRIME DAY is July 16th – 17th (part of 17th)!!

Ask your family and friends to name FCSSC as their organization on AMAZON SMILE

Spread the word on social media

Thank you!

Every little bit helps!!


But they always seemed so happy

Suicide is becoming a far too common theme in the headlines these days. Depression, like so many other illnesses, does not care about the size of your bank account or how much success you have in your chosen profession. The struggle with depression for so many people is very real and death by suicide is on the rise.

Suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016, according to research published Thursday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%.
More than half of those who died by suicide had not been diagnosed with a mental health condition, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC.

“These findings are disturbing. Suicide is one of the top 10 causes of death in the US right now, and it’s one of three causes that is actually increasing recently, so we do consider it a public health problem — and something that is all around us,” Schuchat said. The other two top 10 causes of death that are on the rise are Alzheimer’s disease and drug overdoses, she noted.
In 2016 alone, about 45,000 lives were lost to suicide.
“Our data show that the problem is getting worse,” Schuchat said.

Warning signs
According to the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, some of the warning signs of suicide are:
• Talking about wanting to die. About 50%-75% of people who attempt suicide tell someone about it first.
• Finding ways to kill themselves, like hoarding medicine or buying a gun.
• Insomnia
• Losing interest in things and becoming withdrawn from family and friends.

What to do
If you know someone who is thinking about suicide, you should not leave them by themselves. Also, remove anything that might be harmful to the person, such as guns, according to NIH.
“Try to get your loved one to seek immediate help from his or her doctor or the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911,” NIH says on its website.
You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Tragic events in the news – What do we tell the children?

In light of the recent events in Florida, it seemed appropriate to repost these words that were written only a few months ago after the Las Vegas shooting.  

Dear Friends,

I woke up Monday morning to the devastating news out of Las Vegas. As a kindergarten teacher, I knew I needed to prepare myself for questions from my students. A parent asked me, “how can I explain this to my child?”

In my experience, it’s best for parents to be honest with their children, in an age-appropriate manner, of course. Television and radio are just a few ways that children might hear about troubling world events- they will also overhear people talking about it in public, from other students, and from other family members. When parents are proactive and purposeful in discussing current events and hard topics, this limits the spread of misinformation (which may be even more distressing than reality). Additionally, parents should emphasize that it is always a good idea to talk about how you’re feeling. When we provide opportunities for open dialogue, it helps children feel safe, mentally and physically.

In terms of events like what happened in Las Vegas, the goal is to make your children feel safe. Focus on a few important things: 1) the danger is gone, because the police took care of it, and 2) look for the helpers. If you’re ever in a scary situation, look for ‘helpers’ like police (or call 911), teachers, and trusted adults.

Books are a wonderful resource for parents to start a meaningful, age-appropriate conversation. It gives children an opportunity to process, ask questions, and share their emotions in a safe environment.

– “Flood” by Alvaro Villa is a picture book which depicts a family preparing to evacuate their home before a flood, and then returning to rebuild. This book gives an opportunity to talk about natural disasters; also, how listening to adults, following the plan, and sticking together helps us make it through a big challenge.

– “A Terrible Thing Happened” by Margaret Holmes and Sasha Mudlaff does not describe a particular ‘bad thing,’ but talks about how fear and anxiety may make our body feel sick.This can help children verbalize how they are feeling physically and emotionally.

– “Jenny is Scared: When Sad Things Happen in the World” by Carol Shuman is recommended by the American Psychological Association. It describes the confusion that children feel when they hear about bad things on the TV/radio but don’t understand what happened. It tackles a lot of normal childhood anxieties, as well as larger, more disruptive events like acts of mass violence or natural disaster.

Finally, for the adults… in case nobody told you, it’s okay to feel scared or hopeless. These are hard times, and being strong for others is a heavy burden to carry. Remind yourself to “look for the helpers,” like Mr. Rogers told us to do. Mental health clinicians at SANE recommend the “Three C’s:” control what you can (making dinner, being kind to a stranger, what you put on TV), connect (with loved ones, professionals, your child’s teacher), and comfort (meditate, go for a run, take a bubble bath).

If you are overwhelmed or need further resources, please call us here at Family and Community Services, or reach out to your doctor or counselor. We are here for you.

With best wishes,

Mary Cole

Board Member – Family & Community Services of Somerset County

Domestic Violence Groups Offered in Both English and Spanish

• More than one in three women and more than one in four men in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.
• 74 percent of all murder-suicides involved an intimate partner (spouse, common-law spouse, ex-spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend). Of these, 96 percent were women killed by their intimate partners.
• One in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.
• Interpersonal violence is the leading cause of female homicides and injury-related deaths during pregnancy.
• The percentage of women who consider their mental health to be poor is almost three times higher among women with a history of violence than among those without.
• Women with disabilities have a 40 percent greater risk of intimate partner violence, especially severe violence, than women without disabilities.
Source: American Psychological Association

Though many people believe the term “batterer” implies physical abuse, domestic abuse/violence is more than just physical abuse. Many couples are either unable to identify or are in denial when the abuse is about “control”. Control is one of the most destructive forms of abuse and is the reason that so many abusive situations end in murder/suicide.

By gathering and using appropriate accountability measures and self-awareness tools, abusive partners can eventually have healthy, respectful relationships if they accept responsibility for their actions, identify and challenge the belief systems which contributed to their unhealthy behaviors and learn healthy, non-violent ways to interact with their partners.

Our trained staff are certified instructors in the RESPECT program and are here to help support those individuals currently identified as a “batterer” in his or her journey to shed the label of a “batterer” and engage in healthy and respectful relationships. Please call 732-356-1082 or email rschumann@fcssomerset.org for more details.