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.

Aug 31

International Overdose Awareness Day

Accidental or intentional, August 31st is a day to remember all of our family members, friends, colleagues, and others whose lives were cut short as a result of an overdose.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reports:

“The United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. More people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any other year on record.

Deaths from drug overdose are up among both men and women, all races, and adults of nearly all ages.

More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve an opioid. Overdose deaths from opioids, including prescription opioids and heroin, have nearly quadrupled since 1999.

Overdoses involving opioids killed more than 28,000 people in 2014. Over half of those deaths were from prescription opioids.

During 2014, a total of 47,055 drug overdose deaths occurred in the United States, representing a 1-year increase of 6.5 per cent, from 13.8 per 100,000 persons in 2013 to 14.7 per 100,000 persons in 2014.”

The struggles are indeed very real so please take some time to remember that this day is devoted to emphasizing the seriousness of the problem, helping to destigmatize the disease of addiction, and encouraging people to seek help in their struggle with addiction.

Aug 10

Executive Director: The Challenges of Parenting in the World Today

Parenting – Are you ever truly ready?
Just about ten years ago, my wife and I embarked on the wonderful journey known as parenthood. We had all those deep and meaningful conversations that couples have prior to taking on this life-changing milestone. We discussed how we would discipline our children, what activities we would emphasize and encourage them to pursue, and we discussed how we would prepare them for a world that presents new challenges daily. The truth is that there are days I am not sure I am prepared for a world that presents new challenges daily so how am I going to get my children ready. I have already had conversations with my daughter that my parents could have never imagined having with me when I was her age.

How much information is too much information? Do I hover too much? Should I hover more? There is no “perfect parent” so stand firm and do not yield to societal pressures of perfection. If you do feel that the rigors of parenting overwhelm you at times, I encourage you to reach out for help. At Family & Community Services of Somerset County, we have licensed, experienced clinicians who will provide professional assistance to you when you need it.

Call us for an appointment (732) 356-1082

Mar 06

National Professional Social Work Month

March is recognized as National Professional Social Work Month. 

On behalf of the FCSSC Board of Trustees, I want to take a moment to recognize the incredible professionals at Family and Community Services of Somerset County who provide critical and compassionate care to the residents of Somerset County and the surrounding areas.  Each day our dedicated clinicians create a healthy counseling environment that provides encouragement and essential support to the individuals and families we serve.  While others focus on lifelong earnings as a way to measure success, our clinicians focus on being experts in care coordination, case management, and treatment.  They confront some of the most challenging issues facing individuals, families, and society and forge solutions that help people reach their full potential and make our community a better place to live.

Did you know..

  • Social work has been around since 1750 BC. The Babylonia “Code of Justice” was the first recorded requirement for people to help one another during times of hardship.
  • Professional Social Workers are the nation’s largest providers of mental health services. Social workers provide more mental health services than psychologists, psychiatrists and psychiatric nurses combined.
  • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the need for social workers is expected to grow twice as fast as any other occupation, especially in gerontology, home healthcare, substance abuse, private social service agencies, and school social work.

Thank you for your efforts toward FCSSC, they are much appreciated.

Richard Schumann, FCSSC Executive Director

Feb 06

Find your purpose and make it count in the community

IMG_1374

Mary Cole featured left at FCSSC 5k.

I have been on the Board of Family and Community Services of Somerset County for several years now. During my time with the organization, I have learned that I have a lot to learn. FCSSC is fortunate to have Board members, staff, and volunteers who all possess a wealth of knowledge and talent. Each person involved on the team came to FCSSC with different motivations and with a different perspective on life.

My motivation was to give back to the community that I live and work in. I live in the neighboring town to FCSSC, and have for almost my entire life. I moved away briefly for college, but came back, and saw the world with new eyes. My job as a Program Assistant in the Therapeutic Recreation Department, at the Somerset County Parks Commission puts me into daily contact with people who are struggling to cope with the demands of daily life, and who need the type of emotional and practical support that FSSC provides. I have always been involved in community service in some way, from Girl Scouts all throughout school to literacy tutoring in college, but volunteering my time at FSSC has given me a new perspective. Helping others is less of an abstract idea when you consider that so many of our neighbors, co-workers, friends and family members may be in need.

Part of my newfound perspective has been finding what I am passionate about. The staff and volunteers at FCSSC truly lead by example, and have a passion for what they do. My work and involvement at FCSSC has inspired me to go back to college for a second Bachelor’s degree, so that I can become even more involved in the community, and contribute in a tangible way. I am studying to be a high school English teacher, and hope to work towards a Master’s degree in Special Education.

I have found my purpose, and the opportunity to engage with FCSSC and working towards those goals are invaluable. Follow your passion, find your purpose, and find a way to make it count. If someone has even a spark of interest in volunteering their time and talents to FCSSC, they would be welcomed by the Board and staff—we all share a desire to serve the people in our community and we hope you’ll join us!

-Mary Cole, FCSSC Board Member