Shangri-La Life: Shangri-La Blog
Click to download pdf version of press release: (SLa) CEO Announcement 5-6-2013
Presidential Proclamation — National Mental Health Awareness Month
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION
Today, tens of millions of Americans are living with the burden of a mental health problem. They shoulder conditions like depression and anxiety, post-traumatic stress and bipolar disorder — debilitating illnesses that can strain every part of a person’s life. And even though help is out there, less than half of children and adults with diagnosable mental health problems receive treatment. During National Mental Health Awareness Month, we shine a light on these issues, stand with men and women in need, and redouble our efforts to address mental health problems in America.
For many, getting help starts with a conversation. People who believe they may be suffering from a mental health condition should talk about it with someone they trust and consult a health care provider. As a Nation, it is up to all of us to know the signs of mental health issues and lend a hand to those who are struggling. Shame and stigma too often leave people feeling like there is no place to turn. We need to make sure they know that asking for help is not a sign of weakness — it is a sign of strength. To find treatment services nearby, call 1-800-662-HELP. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers immediate assistance for all Americans, including service members and veterans, at 1-800-273-TALK.
Our commitment cannot end there. We must ensure people have access to the care they need — which is why the Affordable Care Act will expand mental health and substance use disorder benefits and Federal parity protections for 62 million Americans. For the first time, the health care law will prevent insurers from denying coverage because of a pre-existing condition. The Act already requires new health plans to cover recommended preventive services like depression screening and behavioral assessments for children at no extra cost to patients.
My Administration will keep building on those achievements. Earlier this year, I was proud to launch the BRAIN Initiative — a new partnership between government, scientists, and leaders in the private sector to invest in research that could unlock new treatments for mental illness and drive growth throughout our economy. We have made unprecedented commitments to improving mental health care for veterans suffering from traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. And we have proposed new funding for mental health programs that will help teachers and other adults recognize the signs of mental illness in children, improve mental health outcomes for young people, and train 5,000 more mental health professionals to serve our youth.
Mental health problems remain a serious public health concern, but together, our Nation is making progress. This month, I encourage all Americans to advance this important work by raising awareness about mental health and lending strength to all who need it.
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 May 2013 as National Mental Health Awareness Month. I call upon citizens, government agencies, organizations, health care providers, and research institutions to raise mental health awareness and continue helping Americans live longer, healthier lives. IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirtieth day of April, in the year of our Lord two thousand thirteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-seventh.
[Part 2] Making Connections: Use of “interpersonal effectiveness” helps incarcerated individual start down a path to future success
Story by: Karen Rutledge, Interim CEO
Michele Dempsey, Executive Liaison
Photo by: Stuart Young
Connections Program Manager
In February, we began the first of a three part series of blog posts about its Connections Program. This is the second installment in the series. Read part one.
Karen Rutledge, Shangri-La’s Interim CEO, recently had the opportunity to interview Darren, a 32-year-old first time offender who is serving time at Oregon State Correctional Institute (OSCI.) The focus of the interview was how Shangri-La’s Connections Program has helped him be successful in prison and prepare him for re-entry to community life.
Darren’s life changed in 2011 when he was incarcerated. He had been in trouble before, but this was different. Now he was convicted of a crime and sent to prison for several years. It was the wake-up call he needed.Darren was adopted at an early age and was raised in a strong Christian home. His adopted family included 31 other children, many who had “special needs” and were adopted, like Darren. He dropped out of school and had a series of short-term jobs, but his life lacked direction and he struggled.
Two months after becoming an inmate at OSCI, Darren became enrolled in Shangri-La’s Connections Program. Although he did not know what to expect or how it would turn out, he was curious about it and was willing to give it a try.
It was at Connections that Darren met Program Manager, Stuart Young, who learned of Darren’s interest to work in the prison print shop. For Darren to be able to work at the print shop, however, he needed to be certified. This meant that Darren had to pass 27 tests that were based on information in a text book. Because of his learning challenges, Darren knew he needed help if he was going to achieve this goal.
Stuart believes that Connections’ focus on “Interpersonal Effectiveness,” one of the four areas of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) taught by the program, gave Darren the self-confidence to pursue this certification. DBT training helped Darren believe in himself and have confidence to ask for help.
Stuart agreed to tutor Darren for each of the 27 tests, spending one hour with him for every test. Together, they focused on print shop operations, work ethics, and relating with peers. Darren had the opportunity to work on a limited basis in the print shop during his studies, doing things like stacking and loading paper, gluing, collating, and padding. He enjoyed the work and was even more determined to become certified. In the end, Darren successfully passed each test and was hired full-time.
Throughout the experience, Darren attended Connections classes and learned many things that helped him think and do things differently. He is working toward earning his General Education Diploma (GED) and he has many goals for his future. He hopes someday to go to college, own a print shop or find work in a ministry helping others.
While he is in prison, Connections will continue to give him the support he wants or needs to maintain his job and pursue his goals. Staff will also assist him to transition back to the community when he gets close to his release date.
Story by: Ashley Erb
Community Engagement & Volunteer Coordinator
Maria has long brown hair, bright eyes and a warm presence. She greets each customer, some of who she calls by name, with a smile and a “hello” in her sweet, soft voice. Maria is the manager at Reruns for Kids, a children’s clothing and furnishings consignment store operated by Family Building Blocks.
Her quiet confidence and optimistic outlook would indicate that Maria does not have a worry in the world. And while this observation would on most days be correct, Maria has a very humble past.
Maria is a single mom. Just over a year ago, Maria was utilizing state resources to help provide for her and her daughter Juliana. In an effort to help Maria achieve self-sufficiency, Maria’s DHS case manager referred her to Shangri-La’s Employment Resources Northwest (ERN), a job-training program.
“All I knew is that I would be spending my days inside of this room, away from Juliana. It was hard. But I also knew that if I thought I was going to come out with nothing that I would come out with nothing. I tried to be positive,” said Maria about her first day at ERN.
Maria was soon placed in ERN’s Work Experience and JOBS Plus Program. The Work Experience and JOBS Plus program aims to place ERN participants at community businesses and organizations in an effort to help participants gain work experience, learn new skills and build their resumes.
“She was the most genuine person. She wanted to teach me everything. I wanted to learn everything. She didn’t put any limitations on what I could do,” said Maria about her experience working with Racquel.
Near the end of Maria’s JOBS Plus position, Racquel had found alternative employment. She encouraged and recommended Maria for the job. The rest is history.
Maria’s dream of becoming fully self-sufficient is coming true. She has stable employment and a job that she loves. She has been able to move out of her old neighborhood into a more safe and beautiful neighborhood where she and Juliana can enjoy their life together.
“When I look at her face, I know Juliana is the reason I am here. I know I am here to provide for her and give her ten-times more than what I had,” said Maria. “My mom was a single mom too, and she worked hard to give me everything. I think parents just always want to give their kids a better life than what they had.”
Maria hopes to eventually become a lawyer or a cosmetologist. In the nearer future, she simply wants to take a vacation with Juliana.
“For the first time in a long time, I think we can do it. Do you think she is too young for Disneyland?” she asks and laughs.
Reruns for Kids is open Tuesday – Friday from 10 – 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 – 4 p.m. It is located at 1455 Commercial Street SE in Salem. Proceeds support child abuse prevention services provided by Family Building Blocks.
To learn more about Employment Resources Northwest or how to become a Work Experience or JOBS Plus community partner visit www.shangrilacorp.org or call 503-581-1732, x389.