Sep 11th, 2012 | by
By Jennifer Dozer - busy wife, mother and RN
The start of the school year often means the start of school-year stress for busy families. To families already overwhelmed with the usual chaos that comes from one or both parents working, adding homework, sports practices, and other activities into the mix can cause unwanted stress.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that families establish a daily routine. Having a routine helps children feel safe, teaches self-discipline, and helps parents avoid the stress of rushed mornings and forgotten homework.
The internet is a treasure-trove of ideas for the organizationally-challenged. Popular blogs and social networking sites such as Pinterest are full of tips both for establishing personal routines that suit your family, and plotting out ways to organize your home.
Not sure where to get started? Here are a few tips:
- Establish a Command Center. A command center is a single place in your home- in your kitchen, office, or entryway- that meets your daily organizational needs. What should you keep in your command center? Homework folders, bills that need mailing, keys, phones, chore charts, calendars, and menu plans are typical command center must-haves. Papers that otherwise would get piled on tables should have a home here. There should be only one answer to the questions “Where is it?”, “When is it?”, “What am I supposed to do?”, and “What’s for dinner?” Go to the Command Center.
- Make a Meal Plan. Having a plan ahead of time can help you avoid last-minute fast food runs and wasted time scrambling to figure out dinner. It can also help you save money! If you find you don’t have much time for cooking on weeknights, consider spending a few hours on the weekend creating freezer meals, or becoming adept at using a slow cooker.
- Keep a Family Calendar. Google makes it easy to keep a paper-free shared calendar online, and will automatically send a reminder email to your Gmail account. Setting up an account is free. If you have a smartphone, you can download the Gmail app, and get reminders directly to your phone! If you prefer to keep a calendar in your command center, you can often download and print free calendar pages for a family binder, or use a simple chalkboard or dry erase board.
- Be Prepared. If you need something the next day, be sure to prepare it the night before. Make sure homework is done, papers have been signed, and lunches and book bags are packed. Need some healthy school lunch ideas? Try here.
- Build Your Family Routine. Sit down and spend a few minutes thinking about what your family needs to accomplish before and after school, then devise a routine to help make it happen. Help your children gain some independence by delegating age appropriate tasks to them. You can post your family’s routines and chore charts in your command center or keep track of completed tasks in a family binder.
Follow CareSource on Pinterest to check out our boards. We’ve pinned plenty of tips to help get you started on a smooth transition to the school year.
Aug 29th, 2012 | by
By Elizabeth Stevens and Daniell Ross, CareSource Interns
This summer during our internship, CareSource University hosted the Poverty Simulation to help employees better understand the realities of poverty. Here are a few testimonials from the interns who were able to catch a glimpse of the challenges and heartbreak that some of our members experience daily.
“The most frustrating part of the simulation was adjusting to a new role. Before the simulation started, I was a 21 year old college senior with zero debt and a roadmap for my future success. Suddenly, I had to assume an entirely different identity. My character was a 30 year old father/husband with a 10 year son and a baby on the way. I didn’t have a car and couldn’t afford a bus pass, so I had to walk everywhere. I spent a lot of time at work and a lot of time figuring out which resources I needed and how to obtain them. Weeks flew by, and my family’s finances didn’t improve at all. In fact, by the end, we still owed hundreds of dollars in loans and were unable to buy enough food to feed our child.”
“The most eye opening part of the simulation was the aspect of looking at something from the inside versus the outside. From the outside my character was stealing money, not going to school, and leaving my little brother home alone. Because of the stereotypes society has built, many people probably thought I was stealing the money to go buy drugs, that I was a dead beat, and that I was irresponsible with my little brother. However, from the inside my family was stretched thin on money and every cent I stole went to help my mom with her health care and other bills. I didn’t go to school but I would drop my little brother off and go try and find a job. And I left my brother home alone because it was safer for him to be locked home working on his school work then outside where something could happen to him. I’ve learned you can’t be quick to judge, and you really need to have compassion. You never know what someone else is going through – everyone has a story.”
“I volunteered as a grocery store owner. Throughout the simulation I struggled with my role because I wanted to help people any way I could. I found myself overpaying employees and donating extra money and groceries to families. However, about half way through the simulation I became frustrated because of how poorly customers were treating me. I found it very difficult to stay positive, and it was evident in the quality of my customer service. I learned that with a little bit of empathy and a smile, you can make a positive impact.”
CareSource, in collaboration with Think Tank Inc., offers “A Poverty Simulation,” to help employees and community leaders better understand the realities of poverty that our more than 900,000 members face daily. For more information, contact Karin VanZandt, CEO at Think Tank.
Aug 13th, 2012 | by
By Jennifer Dozer, RN, Patient Care Coordinator, Behavioral Health
With all the recent news stories about shootings and speculations about whether the alleged gunmen were psychiatrically ill, I’ve had quite a few people say to me, “I’m sure you’re glad you don’t work that job doing home visits anymore – somebody might try to kill you!”
After a few years in group homes and a few years doing home visits with folks who have behavioral health issues, I can honestly say I feared no two things more than bedbugs and drug dealers. Well, maybe lice- my hair used to be down to my waist, after all.
Now, I won’t speculate on whether or not I think an alleged gunman had a psychotic disorder. If I gathered all the tiny bits of information from the news- absent the actual acts – and tried to determine if any of the men met hospital admission criteria right before the events happened, I’d have to stamp that file “insufficient information” and go calling around trying to find more. No judgments will be made here.
What the general public is asking itself now is this:
Aren’t people with psychiatric illness threats?
That’s an easy question to answer. Most violent crimes are not committed by people with a serious mental health diagnosis. Just like in the general population, having an addiction – cocaine, methamphetamines, or the new bath salts – as well as a serious mental health condition is more associated with violence than a mental health diagnosis by itself.
Those of us who have worked in the trenches generally have an interesting story or two about something that happened when a family member or patient became very ill, as we are in frequent contact with the most seriously ill in our communities. The only time I felt my life was in danger, however, was when a drug dealer in a neighborhood broke in through a window while I was visiting a client, threatening both of us. It was another client, the lady next door who had schizophrenia, who called 911 to summon the police. We both made it out alive and unhurt.
There are a few circumstances when hospitalization is necessary because symptoms are severe enough to override judgment and safety.
How could you tell if someone’s behavior actually requires intervention? Here’s a brief checklist:
- First and foremost, are they actually threatening harm to themselves or others? Always take such statements seriously. Don’t be afraid to call the police, who can take them to the hospital to be evaluated. In Ohio, a psychiatrist can put a 72-hour hold on someone suspected to be a danger to themselves or others. Let the professionals decide whether a threat is real or not.
- Keep an eye out for friends and family, especially if you already know they struggle with an illness. If they withdraw suddenly, or have another change from normal behavior, check on them.
- Are they afraid, or thinking someone is out to get them or poisoning their food? Are they becoming aggressive towards other because of this fear?
- Have their hallucinations gone beyond just being present, to actually commanding them to harm themselves or others?
The most important thing to remember, is that your neighbor, or cousin, or brother is most likely not a threat to you, but instead needs your support. Stigmatizing people with mental health issues as violent only makes them less likely to seek treatment.
Jul 31st, 2012 | by
By Mary Good and Elizabeth Stevens, CareSource interns
During the first few days as interns, we learned that CareSource not only “talked the talk” about serving others but would also have us (interns) “walk the walk” in terms of giving back to the community. On Friday, July 13, we experienced CareSource’s values in action through a Community Day event with two local organizations – Clothes that Work and the Ronald McDonald House Charities – Miami Valley Region.
Four interns – Kevin Andrisek, Aaron Cyr, Mary Good, and Daniell Ross – helped at Clothes that Work. Since 1998, Clothes that Work has been providing Montgomery County residents with professional consultation and business interview attire for customers who have been referred by other not-for-profit organizations. The interns had two projects – organize the out of season clothing by size and category in warehouse and style the mannequins in the storefront.
Aaron Cyr commented on the day, “I’d say my favorite part was getting to see great people in our community who are trying to make a difference.”
Kevin said, “It was great to have an opportunity to help out in the community. I had a lot of fun working with the individuals at Clothes That Work and I will make sure to do volunteer work in the near future.”
Daniell explained, “I was able to use what I learned from my etiquette training to help make appropriate interview outfits that people can come in and either select or use to reference when finding their own outfit.”
The other six interns – Charlie Peppler, Carl Peyton, Lauren Piero, Joe Rowland, David Southam and Elizabeth Stevens – had the opportunity to volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. They contributed to the organization by cleaning, organizing supplies, stocking items in the full-service kitchen, and preparing for the upcoming golf outing and silent auction.
Ronald McDonald House is a charity that provides housing for families so they can stay near by their hospitalized child at little or no cost. The first Ronald McDonald House opened in Philadelphia in 1974. Now, there are over 300 chapters around the world.
“I learned a lot about the organization and was able to put my work skills toward a noble cause while enjoying the company of my fellow interns,” explained Carl.
David added, “It was a great experience not only working with the fellow interns at CareSource, but working with them for a good cause in our local community. During our trip we saw the important role the Ronald McDonald House plays in families’ lives, in giving them a place of comfort in a time of need. It was satisfying to know our time helped out the volunteers and the people staying there. Though our contribution may have been small, I hope we left a footprint of not only ourselves, but the CareSource family.”
From day one of the internship experience people emphasized the importance of embodying the mission and vision of CareSource. Not only was the afternoon a great opportunity to serve, it was refreshing to see CareSource feel so strongly about making sure employees understood the culture to serve and the importance of valuing the culture beyond just the office.
Lauren summed up the day’s experience, “One thing I learned is the impact that organizations working alongside CareSource can have on the lives of our members. The love and support that Ronald McDonald House provides directly affects the health and wellness of our members. It’s empowering and reinforces the fact that as interns we do have the opportunity to make a difference while we are here at CareSource.”
CareSource partners with Wright State University to employee interns every summer to gain real-world experience.
Jun 27th, 2012 | by
By Jennifer Dozer, Behavioral Health
The other week I caught myself bragging, “I’ve spent 48 hours of my life in labor, but didn’t feel I needed any pain medications.” Of course, both births ended up with c-sections, but there was no brag that I didn’t need any medication after those surgeries. Pass the pain medication please!
There is a common sentiment that one is better or stronger for not taking any medications. We value independence and autonomy. Needing help of any kind, even to ease severe pain, is not something we like to admit. There is a stigma attached to this. With neurobiological disorders such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, this is especially true.
When I was in 5th grade, we spent one semester in gym class trying to climb a huge rope that hung from the ceiling. Touching the ceiling meant you got an “A”, making it three-quarters of the way up got you a “B”, making it half-way got you a “C”, and wrapping your arms and legs around the rope and hanging on for dear life for 30 seconds meant you squeaked by with a “D”. Touching the mat before that 30 seconds was up was instant failure.
Being the puny bookish type that preferred frequenting Star Trek conventions, I did not have a prayer of ever reaching the top of that rope. What fifth-grader lifts weights, after all? My natural abilities earned me a “D”, and just barely.
If I had had help, say, a small cherry-picker, a ladder, or a human pyramid of cheerleaders, I could have reached the top. I probably could have somewhat improved my natural abilities through weight-lifting and practice, but doubt I could ever reach the top without a major intervention.
If it’s unfair to do this to kids, why do we do this as adults? Don’t we all deserve an “A” in Life?
This is why I felt so bad, once I noticed I was starting to brag about not needing pain relief. For all I knew, the person I was talking to could have secretly had a health condition that required lifelong daily medication to control. Maybe they were undergoing cancer treatment and needed nausea medications to live through the side effects of treatment. Was I inadvertently reinforcing the stigma of needing medication and, in essence, shaming them for something they could not control?
The really absurd thing, though, is that I have chronic autoimmune disease that requires daily medication to be the best wife/mother/employee that I can be, unencumbered by excessive pain.
I really ought to have known better than to utter such words. As a behavioral health nurse, I have spent a lot of time working against the stigma of taking daily medications. Our thoughts, our emotions, and our relationships with others are right at the core of our beings. It can be deeply uncomfortable to admit to anyone we need a hand up to reach our fullest potential.
Stigmatizing thoughts almost always begin with “You are good, if…” Isn’t it time, then, that we stop bragging about how strong we are if we do without, and start bragging about how strong we are, period. No qualifiers needed.
Jun 5th, 2012 | by
2. Click the Large Companies tab
May 2nd, 2012 | by
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. To bring light to Anti-Stigma, members of our Health Services team will reflect on their own careers and the fight against stigma. For updates, subscribe to NAMI’s Stigmabuster Alerts.
Lisa is a Registered Nurse at CareSource and has worked in behavioral health most of her career.
“I just fell in to it. It was a natural transition for me,” explains Lisa. “Some people gravitate towards maternity and babies; I gravitated towards mental health.”
You might think that’s strange, but Lisa doesn’t. She has a passion for helping people that have mental illnesses. In fact, mental illness hits close to home.
Lisa has two teenage sons – 19 and 17 – that struggle with schizophrenia, depression, anxiety and bi-polar disorder.
“Mental illness runs in our family; both my father and my husband struggle with it.”
When her oldest son was 3 years old, she took him to the doctor because she knew something just wasn’t right.
“He was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). My doctor told me to socialize him and involve him in activities. That seemed to help, but there were still other things going on that we weren’t yet aware of.”
Both sons were diagnosed at early ages and will probably be on medication the rest of their lives. However, there have certainly been bright spots along the way.
Her 17 year old son recently received his GED and will be attending college this summer.
Lisa’s 19 year old is attending college and involved with Goodwill Easter Seals to help him with housing and employment. Even his college professors are aware of his struggles and reach out to help when things get a bit overwhelming. Recently he had to take a break from school and work due to feelings of “losing control” but he is receiving the support and services he needs to get back on track. This is very common in people who try to manage their mental illness.
“A person with a mental illness can become easily overwhelmed. It’s important for people to have a support system to help them take a step back and put things in to perspective.” ”
Despite their daily struggles, Lisa is hopeful that people with mental illnesses can lead healthy, productive lives.
“The good news is mental illness is a disease you can live with if you are willing to work hard, accept help, allow support and recognize the ‘triggers’.”
Twenty years ago, mental illness was never discussed or addressed but simply swept under the rug. Today, education and communication are key. There are resources available but, the person has to be ready and willing to accept help.
Mental illness is more common than you might think. In fact, in Ohio there are approximately 418,000 adults and 124,000 children living with serious mental illnesses.
Some people think those who are mentally ill can just snap out of it, take some medicine and get better. That’s not the case. It’s a lifelong challenge, but it can be done with proper support and hard work.
“Mental illness is hard for people to talk about and admit. But the silence must be broken if we truly want to get people the help they need and deserve.”
Resource: National Alliance on Mental Illness
Mar 27th, 2012 | by
Bullies and mean girls have been on playgrounds and schools forever, but the Internet and cell phones have opened up a whole new world. Kids use technology different than their parents. Many spend a lot of time on social networking sites like Facebook and send hundreds of text messages and instant messages (IMs) to their friends. Their knowledge of technology can be intimidating, but they still need parental supervision.
What Is It?
Cyberbullying is the use of technology – e-mail, text messages and social media sites – to harass, threaten, embarrass or target another person. In a 2006 poll from the national organization Fight Crime: Invest in Kids found that 1 in 3 teens and 1 in 6 preteens have been the victims of cyberbullying. Severe cyberbullying can leave victims at greater risk for anxiety, depression and other stress-related disorders. Some kids have even turned to suicide.
Know the Signs
Kids who are cyberbullied are often reluctant to tell a teacher or parent because they feel ashamed or are afraid their computer and cell phone privileges may be taken away. The signs that a child is being cyberbullied vary, but a few things to look for are:
- Emotional distress during or after using the Internet
- Withdrawal from friends and activities
- Avoidance of school or group gatherings
- Slipping grades and “acting out” in anger at home
- Changes in mood, behavior, sleep or appetite
- Wanting to stop using the computer or cell phone
- Appearing nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message, text message or e-mail
- Avoiding discussions about computer or cell phone activities
What You Should Do
Here are some suggestions on what to do if online bullying has become part of your child’s life.
- Talk to your child. Listen to how they feel about being bullied and talk about ways you can approach the situation.
- Know your kids’ online world. Check their postings and the websites they visit. Be aware of how they spend their time online. Talk to them about the importance of privacy and why it’s a bad idea to share personal information online, even with friends.
- Limit access. Keep the computer in a public place in the house and limit the use of cell phones and games.
Block the bully. Most devices have settings that allow you to electronically block e-mails, instant messages (IMs), or text messages from specific people.
- Get involved. Talk to your child’s school counselor, principal or teacher about what is going on. However, before you do that, tell your child what your plan is. He or she may think you are “tattling” and prefer the situation be handled at home.
- Keep record. Threatening messages, pictures and texts can be used as evidence with the bully’s parents, school, employer or even the police.
Cyberbulling should be taken seriously. Talk to your kids about respecting others even through technology. It’s a lot easier to send a hateful text message than to say it to someone’s face.
Mar 16th, 2012 | by
By Silvia Llacera, Associate Learning Consultant, CareSource University
I joined Pinterest earlier this year because I wanted to find out what everyone was talking about. I was instantly taken by the visual appeal of the site and the endless opportunities for inspiration and idea sharing. Pinterest is a social network – a virtual pinboard that helps you organize the things you find online that interest you. It’s different from other social sites because it is richly visual, while others are text heavy.
Pinterest is a great tool in so many aspects. I am always looking for inspirational quotes, recipes, craft ideas, DIY projects and of course a few fashion tips. My 13 year old daughter has even created her own board in my account and pins her favorite things. She finds it fun and has even put some ideas to work.
My 7 year old son enjoys helping me with recipes we find. He helps me gather the ingredients, and more than once, he got his hands dirty in the kitchen. I have even encouraged my husband to get involved since I’ve found a few DIY home improvement projects for us to work on now that spring is here. I also started purposefully taking pictures of the things I do to share on Pinterest so that I can also contribute my ideas.
I even use Pinterest for my job. As a Learning Consultant at CareSource University, I always search for things that are worth sharing in the classroom. My job is to train our employees and help them increase their passion for our mission and our company culture. I also help my co-workers apply concepts of what they learn to their professional and personal lives. I created a board titled “Do What You Love” where I pin anything that I think is relevant for the training room. The most impactful thing I found so far was a flow chart that starts with the question, “Are you happy?” Another image I found is called “The Cup is Always Full”. I am always looking for new ways to bring inspiration and a positive outlook into my classes.
I was excited to find CareSource on Pinterest. We have several boards of interest – some are inspiring and educational, others are funny. Overall, there are a lot of great tips on health and wellness and things to do with the family. I encourage you to follow our boards and tell us what you would like to see.
Now it’s time for you to build your own collection of resources, share your ideas, follow those in your own community or around the world. You’ll definitely learn about others through what they pin – a picture is worth a thousand words.
How are you using Pinterest?