On Aug 5, 2019 I attended the yearly Mental Health Summit put on by the VA. The speakers were good and the information very targeted. It is always clear in this conference that the VA has spent significant effort, time and money to address suicide and suicide prevention. However, it is important for us to understand that the majority of Veterans do not use VA services. And as a result, this clinical problem falls on local resources.
Suicide statistics are sobering: 20 veterans suicide each day, 1,000,000 + suicide attempts per year on a national basis with 50,000 deaths. Suicide is the 8th cause of death in Minnesota. As a psychologist, I know that many suicides are not officially documented as suicides, e.g. some MVAs, medication errors, non-compliance to diet, meds or diabetes management and other circumstances that “hide” what really happened. Suicide stats are larger than they appear!
It is critical that we need to understand that local community resources (like PBYR), other non-profits, employers, police and other community partners are critical in suicide prevention efforts. The VA clearly acknowledges they can’t address this problem without assistance and partners. Veterans returning to college often have predictable adjustment problems in the academic environment and college staff needs to be educated on the range of issues that may be encountered. I encourage all to consider attending the VA Mental Health Summit workshop in 2020.
Gary Goldetsky, Psy.D, LP, President, Plymouth Beyond the Yellow Ribbon
As you are well aware, we are in the midst of a crisis involving the high rate of veteran suicide. The American Legion is focused on understanding the causes and ensuring that effective treatments and resources are available to all veterans.
That is why the Legion is conducting a national online mental health survey, which was launched on May 16, 2019, in an effort to find effective ways to reduce and prevent veteran suicide. Hundreds have responded so far, but many more are needed.
Now, The American Legion needs your help to address this issue. Learn more about why this survey is so important.
We need to understand the causes and ensure that effective treatments and resources are available to all veterans. The American Legion is dedicated to help all veterans suffering from thoughts of suicide regardless of where they live. Traumatic Brain Injury, depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder are some of the serious issues that this survey can help us better understand.
I implore you to take a few minutes of your time to fill out the mental health survey. All responses are confidential, and no personal information is collected.
This research is critical in our effort to address this crisis and improve mental health treatment for veterans and their caregivers. Our policy and resolutions on these important issues have the power to save the lives of our brothers and sisters. Encourage other post members, veterans, and caregivers in your community to take the survey as well, because the only way forward is together.
Veterans, servicemembers and caregivers can go directly to the online survey here.
Thank you for potentially saving lives and giving this your full support. And remember if you or a loved one are having thoughts of suicide, the VA crisis line operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Contact the Veterans Crisis Line at (800) 273-8255 and press 1. Or text 838255.
For God and Country,
The Minneapolis VA HCS Community Mental Health Summit is focused on mental health awareness and promoting healthy military communities. We will have speakers and discussions regarding strategies and actionable ways we can create supportive, recovery oriented organizations and connections. We welcome veterans, service members, family members, DOD partners, and representatives of local community groups to join us. Located at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN.
Please join us Monday, August 5, at the University of St. Thomas, in collaboration with the Veterans Resource Center, for this FREE conference.
For more information, please contact Amy Wood at 612-629-7614 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health (MACMH) is looking for parents and professionals to participate in an upcoming focus group. The purpose of this activity is to gain insight and feedback into the online children’s mental health content that MACMH will soon be offering.
Please join us at the MACMH offices, 23 Empire Drive, STE.1000, 1-3pm, Saturday, August, 11th from 1-3pm. Light snacks will be offered and gift card drawings will be held. If you are a children’s mental health professional or a parent/caregiver of a child that has a mental health diagnosis and would like to participate, please register here.
Please fee free to contact me at the information below with any clarification needed or questions!
Thank you for the consideration!
Director/Development and Programming
Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health
23 Empire Drive, Ste. 1000
St. Paul, MN 55103
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The Minnesota National Guard has hosted the annual Power of One Suicide Awareness Fun Run for the past 3 years. This year we are taking a holistic approach to wellness! The Minnesota National Guard would like to invite military members (past and present), military families, employers, and community members to our family friendly and free, Power of One Wellness Run/Walk/Ruck 5k.
Military OneSource Webinars (Interactive Webinars)
Have a Healthier Summer
Summer is almost here! This can mean lots of BBQs, vacations, and plenty of sun. Join us for a webinar presentation to learn tips to stay healthy and safe during the summer months.
June 14th 8:00 pm – 9:00 pm | June 20th 2:00 – 3:00 pm
Link: https://connect.militaryonesourceconnect.org/iwebs/ (link for both event dates)
Presenter: Liz Gray and Alyson Lilley
PTSD Care and Support: Real Warriors Campaign Resources
Post-traumatic stress disorder can develop after experiencing, witnessing or learning the details of a traumatic event. Join this webinar to learn about the care and support available to those suffering with PTSD.
June 21st 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Presenter: Air Force TSgt Bradley Blair
Michael J. Meier | Minnesota Military OneSource State Consultant
email@example.com | Office: 612-751-4290
Visit www.militaryonesource.mil or call: 800-342-9647
Monday, June 4th, 9-10:30am
IOCP, Shannon Hall
Coffee and bagels will be provided. 🙂
Alison Wobschall, M.A.
Partners in Prevention, Director
Partners in Prevention is a community coalition working to prevent and reduce youth substance use. We are nearly all volunteers representing more than twelve different sectors within the community, including: business, civic/volunteer organizations, health care, government, law enforcement, media, other substance abuse organizations, parents, religious organizations, school, youth, and youth-serving organizations. We rely heavily on collaboration to support our efforts to positively impact our community. We are hoping to reduce substance use by addressing the factors in our community that increase the risk of use and also by promoting the protective factors that minimize the risk of use.
PIP serves the Wayzata School District, consisting of all or parts of Corcoran, Maple Grove, Medicine Lake, Medina, Minnetonka, Orono, Plymouth, and Wayzata. The district educates over 11,000 students made up of eight elementary schools, three middle schools and one high school.
Who: Open to the public
What: Dr. Stevan Hobfoll (Speaker)
Where: College of St. Scholastica Science Center Auditorium
When: May 3rd at 6 pm (time may change slightly)
POC: Jeff Pearson at Jpearson3@css.edu or 218-723-5944
**Synopsis of lecture:
Dr. Hobfoll will speak regarding the background of human stress response as well as PTS. He will highlight his research and treatment successes of PTS among the veteran population, as well as how combat, experience and social factors affect PTS among US and Isreali Defense Forces veterans.
Attached is a flyer for a Youth Mental Health First Aid class that we are offering on May 11th at the North Memorial Health Specialty Center located at 3435 West Broadway Ave in Robbinsdale. This class is free, but space is limited – register early! To register for this class, please visit northmemorial.com/events.
Maple Grove Hospital and North Memorial Health are partnering with
the Minnesota Department of Health to offer this Youth Mental Health
First Aid class in our community.
As of April 1, Crisis Text Line is offering Text-based suicide prevention services across Minnesota. People who text MN to 741741 will be connected with a counselor who will help defuse the crisis and connect the texter to local resources. Crisis Text Line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Now we need your help in getting the word out!
As adults struggle with their own reactions to the school shooting in Parkland, Florida—the 29th mass shooting in the United States in the first two months of 2018 alone—young eyes and ears are watching and listening.
This is an important time to talk to children about what they are seeing and hearing, even when they did not directly witness the event. While it can be difficult to know what to say, evidence from research and clinical practice can help us with these difficult conversations. We begin with a few suggestions for adults who care for children indirectly affected by a school shooting:
Talking to children about school shootings
Honesty is important when speaking with children about school shootings, but that doesn’t mean they need to know the details. What children need to know, and how we talk with them about such tragedies, is best considered through a developmental lens. How we answer their questions, for example, should depend on what they can understand and process without heightening their distress.
For a child of any age, it is important to begin by finding out what they already know. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network recommends gently correcting inaccurate information, encouraging children to ask questions, and answering them directly. Adults can respond by acknowledging the child’s experience and feelings about the event, rather than focusing on the event itself. Parents can use a number of resources to find the right words to say, including apps such as Help Kids Cope. However, conversations should be tailored to the age of the child:
- Infants and toddlers are comforted when caregivers are warm, sensitive to their needs (e.g., feeding, sleeping, comforting), and maintain predictable routines. Conversation about the event can be harmful to very young children, who are highly sensitive to adults’ emotions. Even if they can’t understand the content, they can sense that something is wrong and experience distress
- Preschoolers do best when adults use a calm voice, simple language, and respond to their questions honestly but with limited detail. Death should not be a taboo subject with young children just because it is upsetting to adults. Most important, preschoolers need reassurance that they are safe. Safety can also be communicated nonverbally—for example, by participating in normal, everyday activities and receiving extra attention from adults. Early childhood programs and parents can jointly support children who experience a school shooting.
- School-age children understand more than younger children and may want to talk about events at length with a trusted adult. Still, it is important not to offer disturbing details or to assume that children’s concerns are the same as those of adults. Like younger children, they need comfort and reassurance of their safety. They may want extra attention from adults and friends, and time to talk about subjects other than the school shooting. Schools can also serve as important sources of support by understanding and responding to a school shooting in trauma-informed ways.
- Adolescents benefit when adults take time to listen, without judgment, to their thoughts and feelings about the school shooting. Teenagers can think abstractly and may struggle with larger issues, such as the meaning of life and death and social justice. They tend to value honesty and are quick to point out hypocrisy. However, it is important not to force adolescents to discuss the event until they are ready, as they are likely to resent when adults appear push their own agenda.
Other helpful hints
Talking to children and adolescents is not the only way to help them negotiate tragic events such as a school shooting. Here are a few additional tips:
- Protect children from too much information. It is critical to carefully monitor adult conversations, limit media use in children’s presence, and seek support from other adults in private—exposure to disturbing images and conversations about the school shooting can stir up difficult feelings in children of all ages.
- Keep children busy. Boredom can intensify negative thoughts and behaviors, but children are less likely to experience distress when they play and interact.
- Ensure that adults receive the attention, support, and care they need. Parenting in the wake of a trauma can be difficult. Adults also need time and space to cope with their own reactions, as well as social support from family, friends, clergy, mental health professionals, and other adults.
- Seek professional help. Seek professional help if a child’s difficulties do not improve. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) recommends seeking help if problems persist longer than six weeks.
- Find age-appropriate ways for children to help. Even very young children benefit from being able to make a positive difference in others’ lives while learning important lessons about empathy, compassion, and gratitude.
- Emphasize hope and positivity. Children need to feel safe, secure, and positive about their present and future. Seeing and hearing stories of people helping people in difficult times is both healing and reassuring.
Children with direct exposure to a school shooting
Children who directly experience school shootings are at the highest risk of developing posttraumatic stress and related symptoms (e.g., nightmares, trouble eating and sleeping, academic difficulties, excessive crying, clinginess, irritability, withdrawal, aggression, or avoiding the issue altogether). Moreover, upheaval among families, the school, and the community after a shooting can make it especially challenging for adults to maintain the predictable routines and calm demeanor that help children feel safe. In these instances, comprehensive approaches grounded in research on risk and resilience after trauma, such as Psychological First Aid, can be implemented. This may enhance both parents’ and children’s sense of safety, orient and soothe survivors, provide assistance to address a family’s immediate needs, and connect survivors with social support and services.