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JMcCasslinTherapist's Corner...
A Helping Hand

   Helping others find their potential is a therapist's goal. In fact, it's Family Resources of Greater Nebraska's motto. But what does it mean? How do you know when someone has found their potential? How do you even know when to start helping them?
     For a therapist, some of these questions are easy to answer. We start helping as soon as you walk through our doors. Other questions are not so easy. Plus, like many of the things we do in our office, it can be difficult to utilize these skills when we leave the security and safety of the therapy environment.
     I know my clients have struggled with practicing the skills and potential outside the office. If I'm completely honest with myself, so do I. 
     Today, I watched as my husband approached a homeless man after church and offered to buy him food. I turned and started herding my children to the car, rolling my eyes at the same time. My husband, the bleeding heart.
     The homeless man accepted but then stated he needed hygiene supplies. Eye roll again. Now he's starting to take advantage of my husband, I thought. We met him a few minutes later at Dollar General to buy his supplies. I sent my husband inside and said I'd stay in the car with the kids.
     Except the kids didn't want to stay in the car. They wanted to help this man, just like their father. I reluctantly let them go inside.
     Then I sat in the car with my two youngest and thought. What was it that made me so jaded? I didn't know this man's story. I didn't know what hardships or blessings he'd experienced. I didn't know the last time he bathed or eaten. I wondered if he managed to stay warm in our sudden spring-turn-back-to-winter weather we were experiencing.
     We didn't end up buying him lunch. Once he had his hygiene supplies, he thanked us and went on his way. My husband and kids got back in the car, feeling they had helped this man.
     I continued to wonder why I was such a stiff when it came to giving to others. Helping them find their inner potential, their will, their self-esteem and self-power - YES! But giving something tangible?
     Then I realized, it isn't about the money we spent or what we bought. By giving the tangible items to that man, my husband was helping him realize his inner potential. Without those items, he couldn't get cleaned up, get a job, and would remain on the fringes of social acceptance. My husband was helping this man with his self-esteem and self-power. 
     My husband was also increasing my children's potential. My daughter is making plans to find ways to donate hygiene items to the homeless shelter. My son was thrilled with being able to help someone. My husband showed them how blessed we are to have the things that others do not have.
     Then there was my husband. He always offers to help the homeless people he meets. Without fail, he will offer to buy them a meal. Usually he gets turned down, but there are a few who accept his offer. Without this characteristic, my husband wouldn't be him. He wouldn't be realizing his own potential. 
     The lesson is one I constantly preach. Be kind to others. You don't know what they've been through. By helping others - physically, mentally, spiritually - you are helping yourself. It feels good to help others. It boosts self-esteem. It helps realize blessings.
     Every person is different, and therefore, the way we help others will differ by person, just as the ways others need help will differ. Stick to what you're comfortable with, but don't be afraid to do a little something different every now and then.

~ Jessica McCaslin, Therapist 

JReisinger

Guest Column...
You Can Do It

"If you find something very difficult to achieve yourself, don't imagine it impossible--for anything possible and proper for another person can be achieved as easily by you."
--Marcus Aurelius, Meditations, 6.19

      Feeling unsure, unsteady, nervous, anxious and scared are all natural feelings when faced with something new in life. On the other side of the coin are feelings of optimism, hope, clarity and confidence. Even after living and experiencing life for many years, something new inevitably presents itself and beckons one to choose a path in life's journey. Usually, it's the processing of coming to a decision that brings about angst and worry. It's after the decision is made that the blue sky unfolds with warmth and calmness come into your life again.
     What Marcus might have been trying to say to us in this passage is that there are two different types of people in the world. Those that look outwardly at others and think why was it so easy for them and not me? And those that see the successes of others and think, if they can do it, why not me? That brings us back to realizing that some level of uneasiness is natural in order to conquer an unknown task, or make a difficult decision, or try something new.
     I was recently reminded of just how suddenly life's choices come banging on our door when upon an innocent family vacation to a location far from home, a new job presented itself to me. At the same time, my husband had an opportunity to work from home, after going to the office for more than 30 years. Being curious enough, we started looking at the situation seriously. That was all it took for the worry to set. A simple change in life's path became a complex set of issues to sort through. And before we knew it, feelings of anxiety and insecurity were upon us. Worry about leaving our family and friends, anxiety about changing jobs, nervousness about meeting and making new friends.
     It all seemed a little overwhelming until we turned the coin over and began the process of drawing from previous life experiences of making difficult decisions and then realizing the warmth and calmness that followed once decisions were made. We thought of others in our life that had made big changes and felt, we can do it too! We developed a plan, by breaking down the big decisions into smaller decisions. We immediately found ourselves with small successes along the way to our final decision. Importantly, we began to see more and more blue sky.
     In the end, our attitude of hope and optimism overcame our worry and anxiety. What we learned was, "The best way to predict the future is to create it." I think that is also what Marcus might have been trying to say.

~ Joni Reisinger, Guest Columnist

LenzFrom Our EAP...
Risky Business

     When you or someone you love is dealing with a mental health concern, sometimes it’s a lot to handle. It’s important to remember that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. Yet, people experience symptoms of mental illnesses differently—and some engage in potentially dangerous or risky behaviors to avoid or cover up symptoms of a potential mental health problem.
     That is why this year’s theme for May is Mental Health Month—Risky Business—is a call to educate ourselves and others about habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or could be signs of mental health problems themselves. Activities like compulsive sex, recreational drug use, obsessive internet use, excessive spending, or disordered exercise patterns can all be behaviors that can disrupt someone’s mental health and potentially lead them down a path towards crisis.
     May is Mental Health Month was started 68 years ago by Mental Health America, to raise awareness about mental health conditions and the importance of good mental health for everyone. Last year, Mental Health Month materials were seen and used by 22.3 million people, with more than 8,500 entities downloading MHA’s toolkit.
     This May is Mental Health Month, we are encouraging people to educate themselves about behaviors and activities that could be harmful to recovery – and to speak up without shame using the hashtag #riskybusiness – so that others can learn if their behaviors are something to examine. Posting with our hashtag is a way to speak up, to educate without judgment, and to share your point of view or story with people who may be suffering—and help others figure out if they too are showing signs of a mental illness.
     It is important to understand early symptoms of mental illness and know when certain behaviors are potentially signs of something more. We need to speak up early and educate people about risky behavior and its connection to mental illness—and do so in a compassionate, judgement-free way.
     MHA has developed a series of fact sheets (available at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may) on specific behaviors and habits that may be a warning sign of something more, risk factors and signs of mental illness, and how and where to get help when needed. MHA has also created an interactive quiz at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/whatstoofar to learn from Americans when they think specific behaviors or habits go from being acceptable to unhealthy.
     Prevention, early identification and intervention, and integrated services work. When we engage in prevention and early identification, we can help reduce the burden of mental illness by identifying symptoms and warning signs early—and provide effective treatment before Stage 4.
     For more information on May is Mental Health Month, visit Mental Health America’s website at www.mentalhealthamerica.net/may. You can also contact Family Resources of Greater Nebraska, P.C. for some of these materials, or to schedule an appointment to help identify symptoms and coping skills.

~ Lana Lenz, EAP Coordinator (resource: www.mentalhealthamerica.net)

Emerton SeanneSeanne attended the Nebraska Association for Marriage and Family Therapy Spring Conference and Training in Omaha on April 1, 2017. The presentation "Values and Ethics in Modern Family Therapy" focused on integrating current science into the practice of marriage and family therapy, as well as integrating personal values and professional ethics in practice without imposing person values on clients.


Elder LeanneLambersonJMcCasslinLeanne, Mandy, and Jessica attended "Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk" at Region III in Kearney on April 11, 2017. The focus of the workshop was to assess suicide risk, plan treatment, and manage the ongoing care of at-risk clients.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Watch our Facebook and Twitter pages for information, pointers, warning signs, and some humor.  www.facebook.com/FamilyResourcesNeb/ or www.facebook.com/EAPFamilyResources/ or Twitter: @FRGNebr

 

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