Secondary Trauma and Self Care

Raising children is challenging enough when everything is in place, but if a child has emotional, behavioral, or developmental disabilities, our lives can be very complicated.  We love our kids and delight in their strength areas, but outbursts or other difficulties might also frame our lives and those of our other children. Families may struggle from the effects of secondary trauma and stress, and balancing the needs of all of our children while still taking care of ourselves is a challenge.

carol-siegel Dr. Carol Siegel, PhD, LP, is a licensed clinical psychologist who sees both adults and children in her practice.  Her primary clinical focus is parenting. Her diverse experience includes expressive arts, autism, neuropsychological assessment, and child neuropsychology.  She focuses on how parents navigate the developmental challenges of childhood and how parents’ experiences affect the development of their children.

  • April 5, 2017
  • 6:30 -7:45 pm  Workshop & Discussion
  • Hosmer Library, Meeting Room
  • 347 East 36th Street
  • Minneapolis, MN

This event is free, but please register online or email us at hcpclg@yahoo.com.

Join us for Coffee and Conversation!

coffee-conversation

We want to hear from you!  Join PCLG Parents next month for coffee, snacks, and conversation.  We’ll play “Resource Bingo” and you will have a chance to share your story with us, if you’d like.  Bring your questions about interacting with your child’s school, finding providers, or accessing services through the county!

  • Saturday, March 18, 2017
  • 10am – 12 pm
  • Community Room
  • St. Louis Park Byerly’s
  • 3777 Park Center Blvd.

Free, but please RSVP so we know how many to expect!

 

 

Parenting Challenges: Taking Care of Yourself

 

Register Today!        November 2, 2016 – 6:30 pm

PCLG is sponsoring a free workshop for parents and caregivers this fall.   Join us for light refreshments and a chance to meet other parents while learning about how to take care of yourself! 

Parenting a child with emotional, behavioral, or developmental disabilities can be challenging.  Parents and caregivers often report exhaustion, financial strain, and feelings of isolation. The perception of stigma can increase the sense of burden and isolation that our families feel as well.

Dr. Elizabeth Reeve will share her unique insight into the effects that stress caElizabeth 2n have on parents and ways that we can learn to reduce its impact on us. Participants will learn:

  • What is stress?
  • The effects of chronic stress
  • Unique stressors for parents
  • Ways to reduce stress

 

  • Woodlake Nature Center
  • 6710 Lake Shore Drive
  • Richfield, MN

This event is FREE, but please register!

PCLG Wants to Hear from You

 

Please take a few miniutes to complete this short survey to help Parent Catalyst Leadership Group (PCLG) find out more about how families are learning about and accessing services for their children (ages 0-18) in Hennepin County.  PCLG is part of the Hennepin County Children’s Mental Health Collaborative and we work with many stakeholders to improve the children’s mental health system in our region.

Your feedback is important to us and will remain confidential.

SURVEY: Tell Us About Children’s Mental Health Services in Hennepin County

Summer Camps? Already??

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I know, I know.  It seems WAY too early, but it’s really not. And it just might be possible to find a camp that suits your kid. Here are a few ideas to help you start exploring some options for your child now:

True Friends Camp – (Annandale, MN)

This camp has different programs which you might find are suited to your child’s specific needs and interests, with programs designed for kids with shorter attention spans, a literacy camp, a sensory friendly camp, equine therapy, and even a camp for struggling readers.  They accept waivered funds and have financial assistance for others who qualify. Five camps make up this group: Camp Courage, Camp Friendship, Camp Eden Wood, Camp Courage North and Camp New Hope.

Camp Noah (St. Paul, MN) The camp curriculum is specifically designed to help children process their experience with disaster and grief in a safe, supportive, and caring atmosphere that also offers fun and recreation at a time of intense stress. Lutheran Social Services runs this camp.

Camp Character (Park Rapids, MN) works to develop life and social skills for children with special needs ages 7-18. It is an overnight camp that will build confidence and behavioral skills.

And for those who prefer to stay in town… Three Rivers Parks District and local parks and Y’s are often good options.

DID YOU KNOW? Reach for Resources  (Twin Cities Metro Areaoffers adaptive recreational opportunities and partners with programs to support all kinds of kids in inclusive settings. 

Cabin Fever? Some Free Activities for Families

 

Lake Harriet Kite Festival

And just for fun on a winter day… the Lake Harriet Kite Festival       Saturday, January 16, Noon to 4 pm

Let’s face it.  Kids need to get out of the house and explore their world, but it isn’t always easy to navigate an activity when you have a child who struggles with behavior or sensory issues.  I know I didn’t have the money to plunk down admission to a “family friendly” activity, only to find 15 minutes later that it was too overstimulating for my son and we had to leave because he was on the verge of a meltdown.

As a survival mechanism, I kept lists of free and “my family friendly” activities.  Below, I’ve listed some great opportunities here in Hennepin County that range from interactive Library storytimes to informal, kid friendly free classical music family concerts.  And even though this is January in Minnesota, there are plenty of great outdoor activities at the parks, many of which have great indoor nature centers where you can warm up, check out a salamander and touch some rabbit fur. You never know what might spark your child’s interest.

Hennepin County Libraries will be offering some “Act Out” interactive theater classes for kids and teens with Guthrie artists.

  • Tuesday, Jan 12, 4 – 5:30 pm, Storytelling
  • Webber Park Library, 4400 Dupont Ave N
  • Saturday, Jan 16, 2 – 3:30 pm, Playmaking
  • North Regional Library, 1315 Lowry Ave N
  • Saturday, Jan 23, 1 – 2:30 Creative Movement
  • Minnetonka Library, 17524 Excelsior Blvd
  • Saturday, Jan 23, 2 – 3:30 pm Storytelling
  • Roosevelt Library, 4026 28th Ave S
  • Monday, Jan 25, 6 -7:30 pm Storytelling
  • Edina Library, 5280 Grandview Square
  • Tuesday, Jan 26, 4-5:30 pm
  • Act Out for Teens: Costume Design Basics
  • Hosmer Library
  • Saturday, Jan 30, 10:30 – Noon
  • Act Out for Kids: Storytelling
  • Ridgedale Library
  • Saturday, Jan 30, 1 – 2:30 pm
  • Act Out for Teens: Intro to Physical Comedy
  • Excelsior Library

 Family Music ConcertsCheck out these free kid-friendly classical music concerts in informal settings.

 Free Days at Area Museums

  • Minneapolis Institute of Arts (always free
  • Bell Museum of Natural History (free on Sundays) dioramas and hands on activities
  • Minnesota Children’s Museum (free on 3rd Sunday of each month)

Parks and Nature Centers around Town:

 

PCLG ONLINE SUPPORT FOR PARENTS

Ever wished you could get support from other parents right from home when you most need it?facebook-vs-google-advertising

PCLG has launched a new private online support group via Facebook.  The Hennepin County PCLG Support Group is open to parents and caregivers of children and young adults with mental health challenges.  It’s a great place to ask questions, exchange tips and make connections with other parents!

To register: fbook4hcparents@gmail.com

It Is Time to Change

A recent tragedy at my son’s school has reminded all of us of the urgency of reaching out to kids and  talking more openly about mental illness.

This short video from Britain is one of many great ways of starting conversations at your student’s high school:  The Squote-on-stigma-health-80-healthyplacetand-Up Kid

Check out other videos and the Time to Change Toolkit at Time to Change.org

Talking to Kids about Mental Health

Most kids are a bit anxious at the start of the school year, but for kids who struggle with mental illness, school can be a veritable minefield.  Schools need to take the time to talk to all students about mental health and  tquote-on-stigma-health-48-healthyplacery to reduce the stigma around this issue.

While it’s important to start the conversation, so many parents and schools are afraid to go there.  This flyer from the Centers for Disease Control is an excellent place to start:  Talking to Kids About Mental Health Flyer

Periodically, we will be offering more “conversation starters” and resources for schools and families.

A Visit with Generation Next

A recent blogpost at the Generation Next site got my attention.  The group is dedicated to resolving the achievement or opportunity gap between affluentGen Next logo1 and low-income students in Minneapolis and St. Paul, and they were announcing the addition of Social Emotional Learning to their set of initiatives.  Recognizing the difficulties children have with learning when they are anxious or depressed and when they have been exposed to stress and trauma in their lives, Generation Next is now tracking elements of social emotional well-being in metro area schools.  They want to learn more about how students view themselves and whether or not they have the ability to bounce back from making mistakes, like even the everyday mistakes you make when  you are in the process of learning math or any other subject.

As Beth Hawkins puts it in her MinnPost article on the subject:

“Social-emotional learning recently became Generation Next’s sixth identified priority — one that has the potential to influence the other five (which include: kindergarten readiness; 3rd grade reading benchmarks; 8th grade reading benchmarks; high school graduation; and post-secondary credential). Those are are big goals, but the initial work within them is discretely defined.”

“The effort’s data committee — made up of a Who’s Who of local education researchers — concluded that they needed to collect and analyze data on social-emotional learning.

The group partially funded data positions in both the St. Paul and Minneapolis districts to collect the relevant information. From that came some striking information. Predictably, the St. Paul numbers show drop-offs in skills between grades 5 and 8 in students’ commitment to learning and social competence, and especially in positive identity, with scant rebounds as those students move into high school.”

This got me so fired up that I called Generation Next and I suddenly was invited to attend one of their regular open forums. I really didn’t know what to expect.  A nice Step-Up intern named Abdul escorted us invited guests to a room with a very large table at the back of the United Way building.  At my forum, the other guests were from school districts, private companies, social service organizations, and, yes, a children’s mental health collaborative (that was me).   It was inspiring because we all care about the same issue and because the different perspectives and expertise brought to that big, shared table cast new light on the subject.

I shared with the group how my own passion stems from observing how special education students, particularly those with emotional behavioral disorders, often have the poorest outcomes.  Many do not have good access to mainstream teachers who are licensed in their particular subject area, and they can end up in a more secluded setting and not offered appropriately challenging and interesting subject material.   The poor performance and low graduation rates of this set of students is appalling, and getting these students the mental health services they need and a stimulating academic experience are crucial steps toward their being able to be successful. Moreover, these same kids are the ones most likely to be suspended or expelled from school.  They make up the highest proportion of those kids who drop out.

The problem of untreated or undertreated mental illness doesn’t just affect the low-income and minority students.  Even more affluent students don’t always get the help they need because of our lack of awareness, the difficulties families have with navigating the system, and the stigmatizing nature of mental illness.

So, yeah, I walked away from this meeting as a big supporter of Generation Next’s efforts.  And I’d like to see them partner with the Hennepin and Ramsey County Children’s Mental Health Collaboratives, as well as NAMI Minnesota and the Wilder Foundation.  I think we’d find that a big push on community wellness will do far more to fix the “achievement gap” than uniforms, charter schools, discipline, union contract reform, or any of the other “silver bullet” ideas that are so often floated. I also felt fired up to continue PCLG’s work to connect with other parents and disadvantaged communities to make sure more students have the opportunity to thrive.