Feb 15

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

Feb 09

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.

Dec 19

Job Opportunity – Bilingual Therapist – Fee For Service

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Provides direct clinical services to clients under scheduled supervision.
  • Work with clients with mental health and/or addiction related issues.
  • Performs comprehensive assessments to obtain sufficient information to complete Family & Community Services of Somerset County’s (FCSSC) intake and establish treatment goals.
  • Maintains accurate and current client records and completes agency documentation as required.
  • Supports agency policies and procedures.
  • Prepares written reports for and makes referrals to other community agencies and resources as appropriate.
  • Attends necessary continuing education courses to obtain or maintain certifications and licenses.
  • Carries out other duties as assigned.

Qualifications

  • Must be bilingual – Spanish
  • LCSW, LMFT, or LPC required
  • Experience working with families and children
  • Must be able to work evening hours

Job Type: Part-time

Click here and apply at Indeed

Dec 18

Be a hero today

Be a hero and donate to Family & Community Services of Somerset County

The Holiday Blues

The holiday blues are a real phenomenon, but they are likely to have different effects than you might think. While the data are limited, there is some evidence about the causes and consequences of the holiday blues.

One survey by the American Psychological Association uncovered some interesting data about the holiday blues:

  • While the majority of people in the survey reported feelings of happiness, love, and high spirits over the holidays, those emotions were often accompanied by feelings of fatigue, stress, irritability, bloating, and sadness.
  • Thirty-eight percent of people surveyed said their stress level increased during the holiday season. Participants listed the top stressors: lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, the pressures of gift-giving, and family gatherings.
  • Surprisingly, 56 percent of respondents reported they experienced the most amount of stress at work. Only 29 percent experienced greater amounts of stress at home.

Another poll of more than 1,000 adults by the Principal Financial Group — a global investment company — found that 53 percent of people experience financial stress due to holiday spending, despite the fact more than half set budgets for their holiday spending.

A donation to Family & Community Services of Somerset County helps ensure that help will be available to those who need assistance but may not be able to afford the help he or she so desperately needs.

 

 

 

 

 

Excerpts from Psychology Today Online December 7, 2018 were used

 

Nov 28

Giving Tuesday

 

Today I Will Be A Hero

“We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility. It’s easy to say, ‘It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.’ Then there are those who see the need and respond. I consider those people my heroes.”  –Fred Rogers (Spoken in 1994, quoted in his obituary in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

During the summer of 2017, we witnessed, and were quite possibly impacted by, the incredible destruction that took place in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico, Mexico, and California.  In response to the events that caused that destruction, we saw people help each other without regard to political affiliation, race, sexual orientation, or immigration status. We saw people come together with one goal – to save the lives of other people.

As a country, we are at our best in a time of crisis and we become heroes.  So why wait until a major crisis to become a hero?  Become a hero today!

Depression, anxiety, family conflict, and substance abuse are but a few of the daily crises many friends, family, and neighbors face each and every day.  Since 1960, Family & Community Services of Somerset County (FCSSC) has provided professional outpatient mental health and addiction services to many folks who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment.

Like so many nonprofit organizations, FCSSC needs heroes like you to allow us to remain in the community and continue to help others.  A small gift from you can make a big impact on others.  Please take a few moments and consider sending a donation to FCSSC.

Please donate now #GIVING TUESDAY

Wishing you and your family a happy holiday season,

Richard W. Schumann

Executive Director                                                           

“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.”   –Gerard Way

Oct 10

World Mental Health Day – October 10, 2017

World Mental Health Day is observed on October 10th every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health.  The theme of World Mental Health Day 2017 is “Mental health in the workplace”.

Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, and 260 million suffer from anxiety disorders—many of whom live with both conditions. A study by the World Health Organization found that such disorders cost the global economy $1 trillion in lost productivity each year.

Here’s a deeper look at how mental health issues affect Americans:

  • 1 in 5 (or 43.8 million) adults experience mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 25 (or 10 million) adults experience a serious mental illness.
  • 1 in 100 (or 2.4 million) live with schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% (or 6.1 million) of Americans have bipolar disorder.
  • 6.9% (or 16 million) suffer from severe depression.
  • 18.1% (or 42 million) live with an anxiety disorder.
  • 90% of those who die by suicide have an underlying mental illness.

And yet:

  • Only 41% of adults with a mental health condition received help and less than 50% of children 8-15 received mental health services.
  • Only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety receive treatment.
  • Less than 20% of Americans with moderate depressive symptoms sought help from a medical professional.
  • And 4% of young adults with self-reported mental health needs forego care.

We can help.

Call us at 732-356-1082

Statistics compiled from the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), the American Psychological Association (APA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH).

 

Oct 05

October 5, 2017 – National Depression Screening Day

FACTS ABOUT DEPRESSION

General

  • Depression is the leading cause of disability in the U.S. for ages 15 to 44.
  • Depression affects more than 15 million American adults, or about 6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older in a given year.
  • Only about half of Americans diagnosed with major depression in a given year receive treatment for it and one fifth receive treatment aligned with current practice guidelines.
  • Up to 80% of those who receive treatment for depression show an improvement in symptoms, usually within four to six weeks, of beginning treatment.

Youth

  • About 20% of young people will experience depression in their teen years and between 10% to 15% of teens will have symptoms of depression at any given time.
  • About 30% of tends with depression develop problems with substance abuse.
  • Depression in youth can lead to problems at school, running away, low self-esteem, eating disorders, self-injury or disinterest in career or educational opportunities.
  • Three times more female adolescents developed depression than their male counterparts.
  • About 8% of teens suffer with depression for at least a year at a time, compared to the roughly 5% of the general population.
  • On average, 64% of youths with major depression don’t receive mental health treatment. This varies by state from 42% in New Hampshire to 77% in Arkansas.

Men

  • The lifetime rate of depression is 8% in men and 12% in women, but the difference may be due to fewer men seeking help for depression.
  • Men are more likely to seek treatment for the physical symptoms of depression, than the typical symptoms associated with the disorder.
  • Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
  • Suicide is the leading cause of death for men under 35, although middle aged men have the highest risk of death by suicide.

Veterans

  • Veterans have rate of suicide 50% higher than the rate among other civilians with similar demographic characteristics.
  • About 50% of veterans who need mental health services seek it out, but only a little more than half of those veterans receive adequate care.
  • In 2005, 22% of veterans sought mental health treatment through the private sector rather than from the VA.
  • The Veterans Crisis Line (800-273-8255, Press 1), has had more than 2 million callers since it was established in 2007, with nearly a quarter of those calls — 490,000 — coming in last year.

If you would like to donate to Family & Community Services of Somerset County, please click here

If you need services, please contact us at 732-356-1082

Data Source: mentalhealthscreening.org

 

Oct 03

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

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

Sep 29

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Presidential Proclamation — National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, 2016

NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AWARENESS MONTH, 2016 

– – – – – – – 

BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 

A PROCLAMATION 

White House Presidential Proclamation Domestic Violence MonthThe physical and emotional scars of domestic violence can cast a long shadow. Too many individuals, regardless of age, ability, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, circumstance, or race, face the pain and fear of domestic violence. During National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, we shine a light on this violation of the basic human right to be free from violence and abuse, pledge to ensure every victim of domestic violence knows they are not alone, and foster supportive communities that help survivors seek justice and enjoy full and healthy lives.

Over the past two decades, rates of domestic violence against females have dropped by nearly three-quarters — but there is still much work to do to build on the progress we have made. Nearly 1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have suffered from domestic violence by an intimate partner. All people deserve to feel safe with loved ones, and my Administration is committed to eliminating this scourge and supporting survivors’ healing — and we must ensure that survivors and their families have access to the resources, care, and support they need to do so.

My Administration is dedicated to ensuring that all people feel safe in all aspects of their lives, which is why I proposed significant funding for responding to domestic violence in my most recent budget proposal. We have also championed legislative action like the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, and the Affordable Care Act — which ensures that most health plans cover domestic violence screening and counseling services at no additional cost. And the Violence Against Women Act, which was reauthorized in 2013, has enhanced and expanded protections to Native Americans, immigrants, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals, and victims who reside in public housing.

This is progress we must continue to invest in and carry forward. Earlier this year, I announced a series of commonsense steps my Administration is taking to reduce gun violence, including work to renew our domestic violence outreach efforts. Building on the work of our Police Data Initiative, the White House is promoting smart approaches to collecting data on domestic violence offenses that balance transparency and accountability with victim safety and privacy. And victim safety should also be a priority in the workplace — a truth that extends to the Federal Government. That is why I directed all Federal agencies to adopt domestic violence workplace policies and encouraged employers to do the same.

Our agencies have taken many critical actions to advance this cause. For example, the Department of Justice has invested millions of dollars in new initiatives to prevent domestic violence homicides, urge law enforcement agencies to identify and prevent gender bias when responding to domestic violence and sexual assault, and expand services to underserved victims. And the Department of Housing and Urban Development recently issued guidance to prevent housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence.

Vice President Joe Biden’s leadership has helped guide our progress and worked to change our national culture — which too often tolerates and condones domestic violence. We are challenging harmful stereotypes associated with victims of domestic violence and striving to bring the practice of victim-blaming to an end. We must continue to recognize survivors who experience disproportionate rates of domestic violence, and who have been placed at the margins for generations, including women of color, Native Americans, individuals with disabilities, members of the LGBT community, immigrants, and older adults. Along these lines, we also joined with Canada and Mexico to create the North American Working Group on Violence against Indigenous Women and Girls, working together to enhance responses to violent crimes against indigenous women and girls in North America.

Our Nation’s character is tested whenever this injustice is tolerated. When anyone is targeted by someone they place their trust in, we have a responsibility to speak up. We all have a role to play in building a bright and safe future for each other and for future generations. This month, we recommit to standing with survivors of domestic violence and to doing our utmost to extend hope and healing to all who need it. If you or someone you know needs assistance, I encourage you to reach out to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which recently engaged in its 4 millionth conversation with victims and survivors of domestic violence, by calling 1-800-799-SAFE, or visiting www.TheHotline.org.

1-800-799-SAFE
www.TheHotline.org

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim October 2016 as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I call on all Americans to speak out against domestic violence and support local efforts to assist victims of these crimes in finding the help and healing they need.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.

BARACK OBAMA

Sep 11

National Suicide Prevention Week – September 10-16 2017

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website,

“There’s no single cause for suicide. Suicide most often occurs when stressors exceed current coping abilities of someone suffering from a mental health condition. Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. Yet it’s important to note that most people who actively manage their mental health conditions lead fulfilling lives.”

A change in behavior and/or the presence of entirely new behaviors is a key indicator that a person could be in trouble.  This is of particular concern when the new behaviors are related to loss, change, or a painful event.  Look for the warning signs – Make a difference.