Category Archives: Advocacy and Support

Self Care for Parents and Caregivers

PCLG is excited to announce our first WRAP for Parents and Caregivers!

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“WRAP has helped me find my own value and peace as a person, not just a parent.” –LV

PCLG will be hosting Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) training for parents and caregivers.  This two-day training includes peer support and a safe environment with the focus on YOU.  We will explore new ways of looking at care-giving and share challenges and coping strategies. Participants will be able to identify helpful resources and return home with a toolkit to guide them through tough moments.

Free for parents & caregivers of children with mental illness in Hennepin County.

  • November 17 and 18th
  • 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday
  • Lunds & Byerly’s Community Room
  • 3777 Park Center Blvd, St. Louis Park

Limited space available. Course materials and lunch will be provided. 

Register online

Questions? Email hcpclg@yahoo.com

PCLG Coffee & Conversation with CANA

coffee-conversation

  • Saturday, November 11, 2017
  • 10:00am – 12:00pm
  • Creekview Recreation Center, Multipurpose Room
  • 5001 Humboldt Avenue North, Minneapolis

Are you raising a child who faces mental health challenges? We want to hear from you! Join the Center for Africans Now in America (CANA) and Parent Catalyst Leadership Group (PCLG)  for a chance to connect and converse over coffee and refreshments. All are welcome!

We will talk about interacting with your child’s school, working with health providers, and accessing services through the county.  What are the special challenges facing families new to our region?  

  • Free, but we ask you to RSVP.
  • Interpreter will be provided.
  • Children are welcome, but please let us know how many and what ages.

For more information, contact:

 

Coffee and Conversation with PCLG

coffee-conversation

We want to hear from you!  Join PCLG Parents next month for coffee, refreshments, and conversation. Learn about the opportunities for advocacy, connections, and training available to parents who choose to become PCLG catalysts.  Bring your questions about interacting with your child’s school, finding providers, or accessing services through the county. We especially want to hear from parents of preschool and grade school children, but all are welcome!

  • Saturday, August 12, 2017
  • 10 – 11:30 am
  • Augsburg Park Library Meeting Room (NOTE: New location!)
  • 7100 Nicollet Ave, RichfieldFree, but please RSVP.  Children are welcome, but please let us know ages and how many to expect!

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.

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 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

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.

How Are Some Students Raising Mental Health Awareness in Their High Schools?

PCLG parents have been spending some time these past few months learning about student-driven mental health awareness groups at area high schools.  It’s truly inspiring to hear how teenagers are leading efforts to erase stigma, create positive environments, and drive change in their schools and communities. Hats off to these students!Teensgroupcircle

Silver Ribbon Campaign (SRC)  – South High School, Minneapolis

SRC is a student-led group dedicated to supporting and educating students whose lives are touched by mental illness or who want to positively influence school culture.  SRC was founded 11 years ago by two students who had family members suffering from mental illness. SRC holds about 18 1-hour events throughout the year, most of which are held during the school day and involve invited speakers (students, teachers, and outside guests).

The group learns about mental health issues and has a field trip to the capitol each year to learn about advocacy and the legislative process.  Many students attend conferences and other meetings as representatives of SRC.

Silver Ribbon Club – Washburn High School, Minneapolis

The Silver Ribbon Campaign is a student led group focused on reducing stigma and raising awareness around mental illness issues. “We make it ok to talk about not being ok.”

Students  check in with each other and the group’s advisor at meetings but primarily work on planning mental health awareness activities, such as:

  • Guest speakers for students and also evening events for parents
  • Fidgety Fairy Tales performance
  • “Above the Influence” Campaign: Avoiding the pitfalls of peer pressure
  • Text number with free app for Washburn students to ask questions
  • Glass display case with information about depression and anxiety
  • Create of a video Public Service Announcement
  • Volunteered for other organizations that help teens with mental illness

HEART, Wayzata High School, Wayzata,MN

HEART is a student task formed a year ago by a student leader in response to a series of tragedies. Their main focus has been to create a positive school climate and raise mental health awareness, particularly for those students who might otherwise be overlooked or not connected to school activities.

They sponsored a Mental Wellness week, leveraging support from local businesses, the Student Council, National Honor Society and other existing student groups.

Activities included:

  • “Pay It Forward Day” – Students earned wristbands for doing good deeds
  • Professional and student panels and mental health workshops
  • Photo booth – Students held cards that answered the question “How do you do wellness?”

Familiar Faces

We spotted some familiar faces recently!  Catalyst Suzanne Renfroe and her son Brian are featured in a video on their combined journey through Brian’s ASD diagnosis and his experiences with Transition.