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Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is caused by experiencing or witnessing an event such as an injury, death, war or combat, natural disaster, abuse or assault. Trauma is not rare—it’s estimated that 70% of Americans of all ages, genders, and ethnicities go through at least one trauma in their lifetime.

While not every trauma will result in PTSD, a traumatic event actually changes the cognition in the brain causing a person to continuously release stress hormones and always be on high alert. Constant, high stress and other symptoms of PTSD can have a negative impact on mental, physical and emotional health.

PTSD vs. Stress and ASD

A PTSD diagnosis is not the same as daily stress or Acute Stress Disorder (ASD). Daily stress is a normal part of life and something we all navigate in our own way. PTSD can develop if ASD (whether professionally diagnosed or not) wasn’t properly resolved or the person didn’t have access to appropriate coping tools. A PTSD diagnosis can occur months or years after a distressing event.

Acute Stress Disorder is usually diagnosed immediately after a traumatic event and can last for days or several weeks; however, it usually resolves naturally with healthy coping strategies or with counseling. If left untreated, ASD can develop into PTSD. This can lead to other serious conditions such as depression, anxiety disorders, eating disorders, or substance abuse.

The symptoms of ASD and PTSD are quite similar, but duration and timing of the diagnosis sets them apart. Signs and symptoms can include

  • Irritability or anger
  • depression or deep sadness
  • intense stress or anxiety
  • nightmares and trouble sleeping
  • feeling isolated
  • troubles controlling or expressing emotions
  • problems trusting others
  • difficulty maintaining relationships
  • flashbacks, pervasive negative thoughts and memories

 

 

Can PTSD be treated?

Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, is highly beneficial to those working through PTSD. Talk therapy helps to bring up feelings, memories and emotions associated with the traumatic event so that proper processing and management can occur. Some individuals will take medication in conjunction with talk therapy and/or group counseling.

In addition to counseling and medication, here are some examples of healthy coping strategies for living a content, fulfilled life.

Physical Health: By exercising, eating and sleeping well, and avoiding drugs and alcohol, you can relieve feelings of intense stress. Research shows that by setting goals and being consistent with your workout routine you can reduces stress.

Emotional Health: Practicing mindfulness, meditation or prayer keeps your mind in the moment. These practices allow for you to acknowledge feelings or memories and then “let them go.” Starting small with one or two minutes at a time can help limit stress, anxiety, depression and increase feelings of being grounded and present.

Community connections: Spending time with others especially understanding loved ones and people in a support group can help with feelings of isolation, avoidance or wanting to shut down.

Counseling: A professional counselor offers a comfortable, judgement-free safe space so that you can process your thoughts, feelings and memories in a healthy way. Be kind and patient with yourself. Consistent appointments allow for progress in your recovery.

Journaling: Writing your thoughts, feelings and memories rather than ignoring them or pushing them away allows you to work through them and also help to identify any triggers you may have. Remember that recognizing and processing emotions is a form of strength.

Be honest: If you’re ready, tell your loved ones that you’re living with PTSD—it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Maintain healthy boundaries and communication within your relationships can aid in your recovery.

Educate yourself: By learning about PTSD, it can help you and your loved ones better relate to one another. Let your loved ones know that even just listening to you and your experiences can helpful and is appreciated.

We all struggle at times, but help is here. If you’re unable to express your thoughts, feelings or have trouble with daily functions, consider reaching out to a friend or a healthcare professional.

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All three Working Successfully with Personality Disorders in Therapy events have been postponed.

Dear Attendees,

Due to our first presumptive case of COVID-19 in Maine and recommendations to postpone large gatherings, at this time we are POSTPONING all three of our “Working Successfully with Personality Disorders in Therapy” workshops. We will look to reschedule these as soon as we are able.

If you would like your order refunded to you, please e-mail Mary Gagnon at mary.gagnon@healthaffiliatesmaine.com to make the request. Please giv the refund process a few days to occur if you make that selection. Otherwise, we will hold your order until we reschedule this training.

Thank you for your understanding.
Sincerely,

Mary A. Gagnon, LMFT
Training and Clinical Development Specialist

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Jay Burrows, LCPC, LADC, CCS
Jay Burrows is a Licensed Professional Counselor, a Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor and Certified Clinical Supervisor. In addition to providing counseling services to clients, Jay assists his colleagues and helps to develop their counseling skills.

Jay attended the University of Southern Maine for his undergraduate degree and for his Master of Science in Counseling with a Clinical Mental Health Concentration. Prior to graduation, Jay completed his internship at a residential program treating mental health disorders along with co-occurring substance use disorders. After graduation, Jay joined Catholic Charities Counseling Services in Portland as a clinical counselor providing outpatient services. He stayed with Catholic Charities for more than eight years. During this time, Jay worked with a co-occurring population who were often incarcerated or involved in the criminal justice system.

This experience led Jay to establish an Intensive Outpatient Group at Catholic Charities, which he facilitated for five years. Here he helped people gain more pro-social attitudes and behaviors, increasing their ability to successfully reintegrate into their communities and decrease their rates of recidivism.

In his role as clinical supervisor at HAM, Jay is dedicated to helping colleagues deliver quality services to their clients while also developing strong professional ethics. He also mentors clinical internship students, preparing them for a future in case work.

Outside work, Jay can be found reading a captivating book or volunteering with his community’s little league. He spends his summers traveling to Bar Harbor with his wife and four children.   

 

Lindsay McKeen, LCSW, CCS
Lindsay McKeen is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Clinical Supervisor. In this role, Lindsay reviews client treatment plans, clinical records and the professional concerns and goals of other practitioners.

After attending the University of Maine Orono for her undergraduate degrees in social work and psychology, she then earned her Master of Social Work from the University of New England in Portland. Since then she has worked as a clinician at St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Lewiston in the Psych and Chemical Dependency Unit. While there, Lindsay used a strengths-based approach with her clients to identify their goals and treatment plans.

Lindsay received the “Service Star Employee” and “MVP” awards while at St. Mary’s. She is a lifelong learner, always looking to continue her education and professional career (ask her how quickly she can solve a Rubik’s cube)! She has completed many professional trainings including trauma-informed care in behavioral health, cognitive behavioral therapy certification, ethics in boundary setting, motivational interviewing, and art interventions for addiction, anxiety and chronic pain.

When away from work, Lindsay’s favorite place to disconnect is Rangeley, Maine, where she can rejuvenate and be one with nature. There you can find her hand-feeding chipmunks, watching birds and indulging her creative, artsy side.

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This weekend Andrea Krebs, Executive Director and Kate Marble, Case Management Program Director from Health Affiliates Maine proudly accepted the NAMI Maine Outstanding Partner Agency award on HAMs behalf.

HAM is dedicated to working toward the mission of reducing stigma, spreading awareness and creating access to supports for people in Maine effected by mental health struggles. We are happy to support NAMI and honored to work toward these shared goals for the people we serve.

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Christine Rogerson

Ethics, Decision Making, and Our Professional Commitment to Social Justice

Training events from late November to early December in Orono, Falmouth & Lewiston.

OronoFri, November 8, 2019 from 8:00am – 4:00pm
Black Bear Inn
4 Godfrey Drive
Orono, ME
Register
FalmouthFri, December 6, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Woodlands Club
39 Woods Road
Falmouth, ME
Register
LewistonFri, December 13, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Franco Center
46 Cedar Street
Lewiston, ME
Register

About the Program

The world seems to be spinning faster and faster these days, and the call to social justice greater and greater. As clinicians, what is our responsibility to social justice? What is our role in pursuing social change? How do we wade through the ethical quagmires? This workshop will assist clinicians in defining social change, identifying the roles we play in upholding social justice, and explore the ethical decision making process as it relates to social change.

Exposure to violence and abuse also has implications for the healers including safety concerns and compassion fatigue. We will consider personal and systemic support for professional resiliency.

Objectives for the day:

  1. Define Social Justice and identify the role we as helping professional play
  2. Explore Codes of Ethics and identify steps to ethical decision making
  3. Determine strategies to elicit our professional responsibility to social justice

Agenda for the day

8:30 Opening Introductions & Ice breaker
9:00 What is Social Justice?
10:15 Break
10:30 Ethics
12:00 Lunch
1:00 Ethical Decision Making
2:15 Break
2:30 Ethics & Our Commitment to Social Justice
3:45 So now what?
4:00 Conclusion

About the Presenter

Christine Rogerson, LCSW

A graduate of the University of Maine at Orono with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, Christine Rogerson earned her Master of Social Work from the University of New England. Currently, she is pursuing a PhD. in social work at Simmons University and is a Field Practicum Coordinator for the University of New England’s Master of Social Work program. Christine’s work in education at the University of New England is robust, having served as an academic advisor, a visiting clinical assistant professor, and an adjunct faculty member. Particularly knowledgeable when it comes to social justice, Christine recently taught a course at Simmons on racism and oppression.

Christine’s clinical work is also extensive. She has spent a decade as a clinician working with families and children through school-based counseling, behavioral health agencies, and in the hospital setting.

Committed to her community and to giving back, her service includes a seat on the Board of Directors of Sweetser as a Corporator, as a representative to the York Diversity Council, and as a LEND Grant inter-professional team member representing social work in a pediatric neurology clinic.

OronoFri, November 8, 2019 from 8:00am – 4:00pm
Black Bear Inn
4 Godfrey Drive
Orono, ME
Register
FalmouthFri, December 6, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
The Woodlands Club
39 Woods Road
Falmouth, ME
Register
LewistonFri, December 13, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Franco Center
46 Cedar Street
Lewiston, ME
Register

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James Bellmore (Jimi) is reaching out to the community to share his endeavor to educate professionals by offering his personal perspective about living with mental illness. Jimi hopes to continue to grow his motivational speaking by extending his services to more providers locally. Health Affiliates Maine (HAM) has been utilizing Jimi’s presentations to support new providers upon orientation monthly. Consistently HAM gets the feedback that he is the best part of the orientation process and truly outlines the needs of our consumers with real examples.

So far, Jimi has reached over 3,000 providers. Jimi currently speaks for the CMMC residency program annually, Ascentria Community Alliance and HAM on a monthly basis; Jimi shares his experiences with providers as a person who was diagnosed with schizophrenia unspecified type in 1976. Jimi went into remission in 2003- having no psychotic symptoms. He had a brief relapse in 2013 but because of his previous experiences was able to reach out to supports and go into remission again quickly.  He attributes his success to understanding his triggers and managing them, to having a great network of friends he considers his family, and honoring his friends and experiences through painting. He helps others by his example. Jimi wants to continue to reach providers, educate them on what it is like to be a consumer, as well as, how to look for and encourage recovery. He also shares how to support consumers with relationships, how to not judge lifestyles and individual choices, and engage consumers in hobbies. It is through his story Jimi is able to express constructive criticism that resonates with the providers.

During his engagements, he explains how he had good providers, not so good providers and amazing natural supports, referred to as “street people” who were often discouraged by his providers. Jimi recalls his “homies” being the biggest part of his recovery and offering encouragement and he often turned to this support even when providers thought they were the wrong crowd. Jimi first and foremost reminds providers that natural supports are the people that consumers can turn to all of the time. These relationships are crucial to success so do not talk badly about people’s friends and offend them. Second, he states, “don’t look for recovery and then deny it!” Jimi found at times that his medication and counseling providers would look to identify and treat symptoms when he it was clear he was in recovery. Third, he suggests that providers,  “be honest and compassionate, be real, do not trick, do not go in with a desired outcome, listen to the consumer and work on their goals; tell the consumer about mandates, answer questions and listen to feedback”. 

Jimi continues to look for ways to grow his motivational speaking opportunities and share his experiences to help shape the future of mental health care and bring a consumer perspective to the discussion at local agencies. Jimi can be reached for additional questions and scheduling for speaking engagements at bellmorejames61@gmail.com

Below is Jimi pictured with Health Affiliates Maine staff as he donates art work that he has created as a reminder of the work he is doing with Health Affiliates Maine Staff.

From left to right Trena Jackson, Compliance & Privacy Officer, Alan Holbrook, Case Management Supervisor, James Bellmore, Motivational Speaker, Kate Marble, Director of Case Management Services, Janet Verrill, Utilization Review Supervisor.

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Three clinicians from Health Affiliates Maine (HAM) have responded to a request from the American Red Cross of Maine in providing relief efforts within areas of West Virginia. We are deeply grateful for the volunteer efforts of Echo Dixon-LCSW, Karen Hardy-LCPC and Shannon Morris-LCPC who are providing mental health support to individuals who have been impacted by devastating floods.

The partnership between HAM and the Red Cross of Maine illustrates our focus, passion and mission to ‘Share a Journey to Wellness’.  

We share our expertise. We share our resources. We share our hearts. 

Andrea Krebs, Executive Director of Health Affiliates Maine confirmed three mental health clinicians have deployed to West Virginia and a few others are waiting their call to deploy as well.  “It is truly amazing how professionals in our field come together in times of crisis, and willingly give of their expertise as volunteers.” says Krebs. 

Jan Frost, Disaster Mental Health Manager with American Red Cross of Maine, reached out to Luanne Rhoades, Outpatient Therapy Program Director with Health Affiliates Maine for volunteers. “The support of Health Affiliates has made a great deal of difference on this operation,” Frost said. “Your efforts got qualified mental health providers to an area of great need. Your ongoing support and valued partnership are much appreciated.”

Preliminary reports indicate upwards of 2,000 homes could have been damaged or destroyed.  Many areas are still not accessible and the number of affected homes is likely to change. Since the flooding began, there have been more than 1,900 overnight stays in emergency shelters. The Red Cross, in coordination partner agencies, has served more than 113,800 meals and snacks, and distributed more than 103,600 relief supplies including cleaning supplies and comfort items. This is a difficult time for many families unexpectedly forced from their homes – and Red Cross disaster mental health workers and their partners are helping people cope.

HOW TO HELP: This is a large relief response and the Red Cross needs the public’s support.  Those who would like to help people affected by disasters like flooding and countless other crises can make a donation to Red Cross Disaster Relief.  People can donate by visiting redcross.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or texting the word REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation.  These donations enable the Red Cross to prepare for, respond to and help people recover from disasters big and small.

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Hi again! I am back with another blog. I was re-reading my first one “Shame: Managing Stormy Days” the other day and thought it was, “to my surprise” not bad.

I say this not with an ego. I say it as “An Adult Child Of An Alcoholic” who can still slip back to that spot of low self-esteem. Not for long and for sure not as often BUT the feelings don’t change. In that spot, I was quite nervous about my first writings here.

The thought or the fear was…..

“Will I write something worth reading? A thought not new to me. I shared those same feelings with my wife Linda when she first asked me to write our book “Weathering Shame”. Remember when I talked in that first blog about the Lack Of Awareness Around How I Grew Up? I also noted that Growing awareness during the beginning of my “Journey Toward Wellness” helped build successes and to make better choices. All true!

However the biggest change along the way is a growing confidence in myself and that has helped me feel more positive about ME!

I got there by being very aware of both my Strengths & Weaknesses and accepting both. 

 

  • Re-reading my first blog has me feeling that I made several good points that I am really proud of.
  • I have heard and taken in positive feedback from you the public and the folks at “Health Affiliates Maine”.
  • A new habit, replacing the old habit of discounting kind words. That was around how I felt about myself.
  • I am  growing and learning of being able to acknowledge small successes.
  • Being less concerned about what other people think of me including not going to a negative place with it.

The most important change happening is a True Feeling of Self-Worth!

Not being in such a rush to finish tasks. Being a better listener and offering support not solutions and the most important realization..“DON’T BE INVESTED IN THE OUTCOME!” If you have read our book “Weathering Shame” you know how much of a problem I had around these issues. Has it gone away completely? Of course not! But I do feel a strong shift in feelings and my behavior.

So at this point in my journey, I do believe that what I am saying around the issues of Shame and stigma is helping those who hear or read my words to maybe begin sharing their own stories and struggles with someone they trust.

In closing, MY THANKS to those who have thanked me for my role in Health affiliates Maine TV and Radio campaign. The recovery stories being shared by others are amazing and powerful.

ACCEPTANCE IS ONE IMPORTANT STEP ON THE JOURNEY TOWARDS WELLNESS

AuthorKevin Mannix, Weather Forecaster,WCSH 6, NEWS CENTERS and co-author of “Weathering Shame”

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(Auburn, Maine) Health Affiliates Maine a statewide substance abuse and mental health agency announces the recent hiring of Kim Morrison, LMSW-CC.  Morrison joins Health Affiliates Maine’s growing team of affiliate counselors as a Licensed Master Social Worker.  She will be providing therapy for young adults, adults, couples and the immigrant-refugee population in both the Lewiston-Auburn and Augusta areas. 

Morrison uses a variety of therapeutic tools such as motivational interviewing, mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and solution focused therapy.  Using these techniques she is able to treat a variety of mental health issues including, anxiety, depression, trauma, post-traumatic stress, grief/loss, self-esteem, life transitions, stress management, obsessive compulsive disorder and much more.

Morrison explains “My goal is to ensure individuals feel safe and comfortable so that we are able to identify and work on life goals.  I work together with individuals so they can develop skills and other strategies that can help in coping with challenging situations”.

A graduate of University of New England and Salem State University, Morrison’s past experience includes working with adults in residential and outpatient settings. Morrison currently accepts Mainecare insurance. 

To make a referral, an appointment or for more information call 1-877-888-4304 or visit www.healthaffiliatesmaine.com/referral

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According to Maine’s Attorney General’s Office, the evident opiate epidemic in Maine has resulted in 50 more deaths in 2014 from just 4 years ago.

In response to WMTW’s series on Maine’s Heroin Epidemic this month, Outpatient Therapy Director Luanne Starr Rhoades of Health Affiliates Maine comments, “There are a lot of reasons Maine is struggling with this epidemic.  In the not too distant past, physicians felt freer to treat their patient’s pain with opiates. In many cases, it was too much, for too long; and some people became addicted.”

Rhoades elaborates, “Now, with increased scrutiny of prescribing practices, physicians are hesitant to prescribe opiates for pain.  Left to their own devices, some people in pain have turned to Heroin and opiate medications sold on the street.  Criminal activity of stealing and diverting prescribed medications also happens.  Street drugs, and especially heroin, are abundant and relatively inexpensive. The supply of opiates and other drugs come into Maine right up the 95 corridor from Boston and New York.   As a result, we are now seeing our neighbors, co-workers and friends impacted by these drugs like never before”.

According to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, in 2014, nearly seven out of ten overdose deaths involved an opiate. And since 2012, the numbers of deaths involving heroin and or morphine have more than doubled.

Getting help.

These are very alarming statistics, and many are wondering what we can do to combat this.  For those families who want to know how to help their loved one overcome this, there are some options they can consider.  For instance, doing an online search of Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is a likely first step towards getting clean.

There are also Medication Assisted Treatment options for opiate addiction which are available in Maine in the form of Methodone and Saboxone prescribed by a physician.  Nevertheless, even after moving beyond the physical dependency and the cravings the reasons behind the abuse often are still there.  Seeking therapy from a substance abuse counselor can help individuals work through all of the struggles that lead them to using.

What to watch for.

Some signs and signals we can all watch for, that might mean someone is struggling with an opiate addiction:

  • Social withdrawal from family & loved ones
  • Extreme alterations in mood
  • Weight loss, nausea, diarrhea & vomiting
  • Continued use of the opiate, even after pain has subsided

You can get a complete list of warning signs and other useful information on opiate addiction at:  http://www.addictionhope.com/opiates

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Coronavirus/COVID-19 Alert - The health and safety of our affiliates, staff, case managers, and clients is our top priority. Our COVID-19 Updates page provides current information about how we are working together to help keep our communities safe. Learn More

We continue to accept referrals and are providing all services via Telehealth. If you or someone you know is in need of mental health services, please click here for online referral. Referral

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