7 posts categorized "Mental Health Awareness" Feed

Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic coming to West Michigan

In the near future, our office will be opening an Urgent Care Mental Health Clinic. We believe it will be the first of this type of service for our area.  I want to take a moment today and share with you why we are doing this and what we hope to accomplish with such a clinic.

I once heard a clinician brag about charging client's extra in order to see them on the weekend.

That is something we have never done or embraced here at JMCN.  Over the years, I've seen clients in crisis whenever possible, including weekends.  I know that is also true of other therapists in our network.

Just last weekend, one of our therapist came in on a Saturday morning to see a client who was in crisis.

But, we can't all be on call twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

And yet, there are always going to be times when someone needs help, now. JMCN Urgent Care

We want to attempt to meet that need. This clinic is our attempt to do that. The Urgent Care Center at JMCN will provide urgent care mental health therapy for people who feel they are in a mental health crisis  but cannot see their normal clinician for a period of time. We also want to serve those who do not have a normal clinician and cannot get in to see their preferred clinician in a timely manner.

Take for instance, my friend Bob.*  He and I were talking about this a few days ago. His wife Sarah has a regular therapist that she sees three to four times a month. She is dealing with some significant losses recently in her personal life and the grief that accompanies those losses.

Two weeks ago, a beloved pet passed away unexpectedly. Sarah was frantic to see her therapist. The only problem was that her therapist does not see client's on Mondays. On Tuesday, her therapist left for a two week vacation.

Bob felt that having some place where Sarah could have gone to talk about her grief would have been important and helpful.

Or consider for a moment, if you will Wendy and Dave.*

They've been having trouble communicating lately and late last week they had a fight that they both felt might have put their relationship over the edge into a downward death spiral from which it might never recover.  As they desperately call around the area looking for a marriage or relationship therapist to help them, they discover that they have a minimum of a one week wait.

We see this Urgent Care clinic as a potential resource for all the Dave and Wendy's of the area.

And for anyone who is feeling depressed and lost...or hurt and abandoned. We want to help.

You can find more information about our Mental Health Urgent Care Clinic by clicking here.

 

 

 

*Not real name.


Your Health Insurance Company is Working Against You

They probably send you a happy birthday every year and they probably kill half of a Forrest sending you information about how they are for you but let me tell you an honest truth:


Your insurance company is working against you. Especially, when it comes to your mental health.  

Let me give you an example.
Recently, I was informed by my personnel director that a local health insurance company had “closed” their application process. They simply are not taking new providers until they catch up with the process. Incidentally, this insurance company is owned by a hospital conglomerate that also shares a name with cable company. If you work in the mental health agencies in that are a part of that Spectrum, this insurance which would like you to think that your health is their priority will panel those providers.


I said to her, “I’m going to blog about that.”
She replied, “Insurance companies do it all the time.”
But should they?
That is my response and my question.


Think about this. If you know a licensed counselor in the great state of Michigan who for whatever reason hasn’t been able to go through the ridiculous and long credentialing process, you can’t see them for therapy because your insurance company is currently closed. Of course, you could see her and just pay cash but you’re probably already dropping hundreds, if not thousands of dollars a month to your insurance company so why go that route?


Why should insurance companies be able to go beyond the state requirements and say, “These are the people, we will pay for and these people we will not pay for services when both are licensed through the same state?”


Why not just have a process that says, if the person you want to see has a legal license in the state, you can see her?  


Because your insurance company is about making money, not about helping you.
Our whole medical insuring process is not reasonable.
The ACA in its current form isn’t helping the process. It’s giving more power to the insurance companies by guaranteeing them customers.


If we are really going to help people, we need a simplified insurance system on the provider side. If a person has a license, you should be able to see them.
As a provider, insurance companies are one of my biggest headaches.
Claims get paid, then they don’t and the reason isn’t clear.

Frustrated_man_at_a_desk_(cropped)

Clients call and ask about coverage, what they’re told is often light years way from what happens.
We need real, honest reform to the policies.


Right now, we are turning away clients that have a certain insurance company because we simply cannot take them. It’s not that we don’t want to take them, it’s that we can’t because some insurance company decided that they are closing the people they reimburse for services.
Because at the end of the day, it’s about them, and not you.


This needs to change.


Only you, as a consumer can make that change happen.


What do we do with Ray Rice, Domestic Violence and how do we talk to our kids?

Yesterday, I was interviewed by a local news agency regarding domestic violence and hero worship. You can see the interview below.
By now, you've probably seen the video of Ray Rice knocking his then fiance out. It's a violent and disturbing video.

800px-Ray_Rice

Perhaps more disturbing to me is how we handle the reality of domestic violence in our society.

First, let's look at some numbers that honestly cause my stomach to tighten in knots.


    •    1 in 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
    •    Women experience more than 4 million physical assaults and rapes because of their partners, and men are victims of nearly 3 million physical assaults.
    •    Women are more likely to be killed by an intimate partner than men
    •    Women ages 20 to 24 are at greatest risk of becoming victims of domestic violence.
    •    Every year, 1 in 3 women who is a victim of homicide is murdered by her current or former partner.
    •    Every year, more than 3 million children witness domestic violence in their homes.
    •    Children who live in homes where there is domestic violence also suffer abuse or neglect at high rates (30% to 60%).
    •    A 2005 Michigan study found that children exposed to domestic violence at home are more likely to have health problems, including becoming sick more often, having frequent headaches or stomachaches, and being more tired and lethargic.
    •    A 2003 study found that children are more likely to intervene when they witness severe violence against a parent – which can place a child at great risk for injury or even death (All numbers from here).

Those numbers disturb me. With those numbers, it is probably safe to assume that someone you know, someone your children goes to school with, maybe multiple someones is the victim of domestic violence.


Someone is going to sleep tonight afraid of the person sleeping next to them.
I think one of our biggest problems is that for too many people, domestic violence is something that is just in the background of life. It's not actually something we engage or try to change.

I'm on record as loving Facebook. Yesterday, Facebook was disturbing to me. So many people wanted to defend what Ray Rice did and some went so far as to say that he shouldn't lose his job.
One person even said that they (the Ravens) are playing the hated Steelers this week and that "lot's of men have hit their women and still had a job."
I think another problem highlighted by this incident with Ray Rice is that we tend to excuse the worst of behaviors from our sports heroes. I am afraid we do this in too many high schools and colleges.
We want to feel like winners. Badly.
In order to feel like a winner, we want to pretend that these athletes exist purely on the field.
But they don't.
And this not so subtle message of it's OK to beat your woman if you're on my sports team tells our kids there are some poeple who have a different set of rules.
We need to explain to our kids that domestic violence is never OK. It's never Ok to hurt someone because they have made us mad.


Winning isn't the only thing.


There are many things that are way more important than winning. If your team loses because a key person isn't on it because he's been suspended for beating his wife/girlfriend/fiance, then so be it.
Winning a sports game just isn't that important.


Lastly, we need to stop villifying Janay Rice and all victims of domestic violence. I don't know what she said in that elevator. I don't know the current situation but she seems to believe it was a one time event.


She has the right to do whatever she wants to do with her life in regards to this situation, even if you or I think it's wrong. We need to treat her with respect.


We tend to go to extremes with our responses to the victims. Too often, we imply that they must have done something to deserve it (Stephen A. Smith, anyone?) or we call them gold diggers and other derogatory names because we don't understand why they are choosing to stay.
I do not believe that any person should stay with a person who is abusing them and men get abused as well, but I have to give each person the dignity afforded to every human being to make their own choices.


Domestic violence is real. It is tearing at our society and it needs to be addressed.

To watch my interview, click here.


It's time to move past comparative pain and passions

I admit the world is an interesting place to me. I’m not typically someone who laments life.
I don’t always agree with stuff I hear and I’m often willing to engage it with the person. I joke with my friends about poking the bear.  Interacting with others about how they feel and think is sometimes, like poking a bear. Sometimes, we need to poke another bear or we need our bears poked.


It’s how we grow. Face_male_kodiak_bear


But yesterday I saw something I admit I don’t understand. I was sitting in my office and one of our Sr. Associates who was sitting next to me said, “Oh boy!” Of course, I asked what was up.
“Well, this guy’s newsfeed reads, “An actors death has dominated the newsfeed but how about all of the kids dying in _______.”  


This intrigued me  so I went looking at various places in the beautiful place called the world wide web. Sure enough, there were people lamenting all sorts of causes that weren’t getting as much attention as Robin Williams death.  


On one level I get it.


But on most levels, I think those people just come across as jerks. They’re acting like they have the corner on what should be important to everyone.
This happens a lot in Facebook land.
I get it.


But I don’t. Yes, people are dying in the Middle East, 1 in 5 children in America face hunger, there is rioting and looting in the Mid-West over a possibly race motivated killing. All of this is true.
But here’s the thing: Lamenting Robin Williams death doesn’t negate those truths. It doesn’t diminish them.


It doesn’t impact them at all.  It just makes you look grumpy and mean or worse.


An ancient writer wrote that there is a time and season for everything. I agree with that thought. I don’t think the time to get your personal passion out there is by juxtaposing it against someone else’s tragedy.


You sound like you’re trying to minimize their pain. Sometimes, it sounds like you're trying to invalidate their pain. Arguing with someone about their pain rarely works. When we essentially say, "well, you're in pain but this thing over here is worse and you should care about that..." we set ourselves up as some sort of judge. It's always a sketchy when we're trying to balance out why our cause should be more important than someone else's, especially when they are experiencing a new wound. Scales-295109_640


Be passionate about those other causes. Our world needs that passion. But, to be effective we need it to be done at the appropriate time. We need you to have real, genuine empath for the pain other people are feeling.


To paraphrase another ancient writer, “If you have your great cause, but you don’t have love you have nothing.”


Come down and sit in the pain of the people around you. Allow them to feel their pain. When the time is right, share your passion with them.


Thanks for reading. As always, if you like this post, please feel free to share it via your preferred social media experience.


Robin Williams, and our Societal Obsession with Happy

Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last twenty-four hours, you probably know that Robin Williams has died in what appears to be a suicide.


Like many, I was shocked by the news. At first, I thought it was  hoax. The idea that we live in a world where for many the first thought when they hear about someone dying is a hoax is probably fodder for another post in the future.


But what about Williams? Robin_Williams_2011a_(2)


Williams isn’t the first celebrity to take his own life or accidentally end life while trying to numb something through drugs or alcohol usage.  And yet, every time we see shocked by it. I think there are a couple things to learn from Williams death.


I think we need to learn from it or else we waste it. His death is tragic. It is terrible. It is senseless. It leaves behind a grieving widow and fatherless children. It also highlights our false belief that money, success and things satisfy.


1. We have to accept that money, success and happiness will not bring us happiness. I wrote about this when Whitney Houston died. We create a false narrative in our head that we’ll be happy when _____________ (fill in the blank) happens. Of course, that is patently false and broken. We have a plethora of data to prove this to us and yet we functionally live in a way that denies and ignores this fact.  Those things aren’t wrong, but they simply don’t satisfy.  
We have to stop chasing things that don’t matter.
2. We have to realize that there probably a lot of people we know, who are in our close circle of friends who are struggling with depression and anxiety.
Someone you know is probably struggling with the thoughts of ending her life today.
We have to realize that there are far more people than we are comfortable admitting who struggle daily with the idea of ending their lives.


We tend to create caricatures in our head of what a depressed person looks like and how he acts.  Sometimes, those caricatures are correct. Most of the time they are dead wrong.
People truly bent on killing themselves rarely tell anyone overtly. They communicate it ways that are often almost impossible to see looking forward. Usually, they are brought into clarity when they are seen looking backward but by then it is too late.


So if you think you might know someone who is struggling with suicidal thoughts or depression, ask them. Ask them how you might be able to help. Ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves.


Depressed people often feel stuck because they need to move in order get unstuck but the depression causes them to feel like moving is hopeless so they stay stuck.
They may get mad at you. Your own narrative may tell you that it’s none of your business, but push through that. Reach out.


The thing is, with people contemplating suicide, they are working on a plan. They are not seeing clearly.
They are hurting and stuck. What they are not, is typically logical. Their world is bent by their disease. Applying the logic of those of us who do not suffer from this disorder is not only unfair, it’s silly.


Robin Williams death is a tragedy for his family and loved ones. I am afraid it will be more of a tragedy because as a society we will once again fail to learn how to handle those around us who are depressed.
In our society, we seem to have no place for people who aren’t happy  all the time. Many depressed people learn to just fake it because as a society we want people to be happy all the time and we typically see what we want to see.


May we find the courage to see what it is,not simply what we want to be.

If you are feeling suicidal please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.


Sexual Abuse: The conversation we all need to have

We start a very difficult topic today over at our blog on Creative Solutions.  We are starting a conversation about the issue of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is happening or has happened to people you know.

Th statistics are absolutely scary. The topic is uncomfortable. The conversation is absolutely necessary. Understanding the implications of this are important.

Socities silence on this topic is literally crippling and killing people. It's time that we all stand up and be a voice for those who have been impacted by this terrible blight on our culture. They need not suffer alone.

They can find comfort, healing and wholeness.

Join the conversation here.


How common is mental illness?

The following is part of a post written for our blog at Creative Solutions Counseling.

Who are we and why do we care?

 

“According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1 in every 4 people, or 25% per cent of individuals, develops one or more mental disorders at some stage in life.  Today, 450 million people globally suffer from mental disorders in both developed and developing countries.   Of these, 154 million suffer from depression, 25 million from schizophrenia, 91 million from alcohol use disorder and 15 million-drug use disorders.

·  Mental illnesses are more common than cancer, diabetes, or heart disease.”

 

How many people do you know each year that is diagnosed with cancer, diabetes or heart disease that let it go untreated or refuse to take medication?

Click here to read the rest of the post