Posts in "behavioral-health/"

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School-based therapy saved Monica's life

Written by Behavioral Health Team on 9/18/2016 6:19:00 AM

Monica and her three kids

When Monica Lee’s three children started meeting with Meaghan Rhoades, a Community Health Network therapist embedded within an IPS school, she hoped it would help improve their behavior.

Little did she know, it would save her life.

Family therapy helped Monica overcome thoughts of suicide

Monica’s children range in age from kindergarten to fifth grade. They received school-based therapy from Meaghan, as well as family sessions which Monica would attend.

After one family session, Monica broke down. She was battling depression and felt alone. She didn’t want to get out of bed. She had a detailed plan to end her own life.

"I didn't want to be here," Monica said. "I thought someone else could do better raising my kids than I was."

Meaghan immediately took action, telling Monica she needed to open up to someone. For Monica, her support team included her sister-in-law Christina, God, her children and Community’s therapist Meaghan.

Meaghan helped Monica manage the stress she was feeling and gave her someone to open up to.

A couple times, Monica called Meaghan in the middle of the night. "She answered and offered to drive me to the crisis center," Monica said, who cannot emphasize enough the impact Meaghan had on her outlook, her health and her life.

How do you tell your children you're depressed?

One of the most challenging situations Monica faced was telling her children. “How do you go to your kids and say, ‘I think I want to kill myself?’” said Monica. Yet Meaghan was there to help with that too, speaking with the children about what their mother was battling.

“That was devastating for me,” said Monica. “But they needed to know because of what I was facing and thinking.”

In the midst of it all, Meaghan continued to work with Monica’s children, helping them deal with behavioral issues, focus and cope with challenges they may face. Meaghan determined what triggered each child’s behavior and developed a strategy suited to each of their needs.

Because of this, Monica says her children’s behavior has improved tremendously. In a situation that would have originally caused her son to act out, he is now able to articulate his feelings and apologize if necessary.

Monica is doing well too, making progress each day and realizing her value to her family and friends. She credits Community and Meaghan for helping her get there and now recommends Community’s work to people in the community.

“If you don’t know, you deal with it by yourself,” she said. “But those resources are out there.”

And for those in the community feeling alone and like no one cares—Monica recommends reaching out to someone.

“Don’t be afraid. Just tell somebody—talk to them,” she said. “The strongest people have issues too. For me it was life-changing to have someone to talk to.”

Need to talk? Call 800.273.8255 or text “HELPNOW” to 20121. Additional resources can be found at

Tags: school , suicide | Posted in: Behavioral Health

Teachers: How to recognize the warning signs of suicide

Written by Behavioral Health Team on 9/15/2016 9:17:00 AM

Teacher sitting in the bleachers of a gym

Indiana has the nation’s highest rate of students who have contemplated suicide and the second highest rate of high school students attempting suicide. The statistics are alarming, and addressing this health crisis requires all of us—from parents to teenagers to teachers—to work together.

Teachers can spot the signs of suicide

“We’re all here to help others get through tough times,” said local educator Dave Petersohn. Listen to Dave share his tips for suicide prevention.

Adolescents experience many life stressors as they transition from child to adulthood, and therefore, it isn’t always easy to differentiate between depression or suicidal intention and normal teenage moodiness.

In the classroom setting, that means having informed and knowledgeable educators who can identify the warning signs for suicide and help connect students who exhibit these signs with the resources and help they need.

Making things even more complicated, suicidal teens do not necessarily appear sad, nor will they always withdraw from others. For some, symptoms of irritability, stress, aggression, and rage are more prominent.

Common warning signs that you may notice as an educator

  • Recent disappointment or rejection (e.g. Not making a school sports team or musical group.)
  • Sudden decline or improvement in academic performance (e.g. Failing/acing a test when they normally fail/ace that particular subject or expelled from school)
  • Change in interaction with friends
  • Feeling embarrassed or humiliated in front of peers
  • Victim of assault or bullying
  • Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or to suicidal thoughts
  • Talking, reading, or writing about death or suicide (Examples: Writing in school assignments, writing on school property, writing or drawing about death on notebooks etc.)
  • Increased or inappropriate anger or rage (Example: Lashing out at classmates)

Simply put, warning signs come in many forms, so it is important to take all situations seriously as an educator. Any warning sign is worth asking about – you could save a student’s life.

Depression affects everyone

“Depression or thoughts of suicide aren’t just found in certain age groups, economic status or even gender,” said Petersohn. “They can affect anyone, and that is why we are all responsible for watching out for each other.”

If a student is experiencing a mental health crisis or medical emergency, call toll-free at 800.273.8255. You’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, any time 24/7. At school and not sure what to do or whom to talk to? Refer to your school’s suicide policy.

Tags: suicide | Posted in: Behavioral Health

What does depression feel like?

Written by Assisted Fertility Services Team on 9/6/2016 10:55:00 AM

Woman on a roof looking sad.

If you're depressed, you're not alone. Depression impacts an estimated 16 million Americans each year

If you’re among the group of people who have not experienced long-term or chronic depression, you might not understand what it feels like. Depression is not a choice to be unhappy or to have a bad attitude. Depression, and the suicidal thoughts that sometimes come with it, is a health issue just like the flu, pneumonia diabetes, high blood pressure or a broken bone.continue reading ...

Tags: anxiety , depression , suicide | Posted in: Behavioral Health

Tips for talking to children after a traumatic event

Written by Behavioral Health Team on 1/27/2016 12:19:00 PM

Tips to help grieving children

Children may have difficulty processing a traumatic event that they witness or see on TV. Here are some tips for talking to your child after a traumatic event:

  • Give children multiple opportunities to talk about their experience or draw what they are feeling.
  • Promote open communication by being a listener and a discussion facilitator so that they feel comfortable sharing their concerns.
  • Use helpful phrases such as: continue reading ...

How to beat the winter blues

Written by Behavioral Health Team on 1/12/2015 6:00:00 AM

Dr. SimpkinsFeeling extremely run down, tired, or even depressed? Well, there may be a reason for that. You could be experiencing the “winter blues” or Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). 

It’s estimated that about three percent of the U.S. population suffers from SAD, and is more common in women than men.

Licensed mental health counselor, Kimble Richardson, explains the disorder and provides helpful tips for combatting it. continue reading ...

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