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An boy dealing with autism interviews his mother.

What makes a good leader? How do you know?

A friend linked me to this video and I thought it was lovely.  Hope you enjoy:

After a romantic break up, individuals may experience a sense of fragility and inconsistency in their own self-concept.  In the midst of that fragility, individuals usually re-organize their self-concept into something different and possibly new.  That new may include narratives of both resiliency and victimhood.  It seems to me that the saying “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” may apply here.  How do you think that new whole is determined?

SAGE Publications (2010, March 8). How a romantic breakup affects self-concept. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 8, 2010, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2010/03/100308132139.htm

The psychological health model since it’s inception has largely focused on dealing with deficits and needs within an individuals life. This paradigm is shifting, however, largely due to an increasing emphasis on strengths-based interventions and approaches. One of the pioneering researchers in positive psychology right now is Dr. Martin Seligman. He’s the head of Penn University’s Positive Psychology Center. I recommend checking out his webpage and looking at some of the quizzes and surveys he has posted. They all illuminate various strengths the individual taking the quiz possesses.  As a mental health worker, I am in support of moving from being deficit based to strengths based.  I don’t think that it is reasonable to expect an individual or family to grow by not recognizing the metaphorical fertile soil within and without.  As a mental health worker, I hope that I continue to recognize the strengths and talents the individuals and families I work with possess.  As a field, together we can move from bringing people to the baseline to pointing people to happiness.

Two of my good friends, Stephanie and Andy Jones left today for Ankara, Turkey to be English Teachers!  I feel quite sad to see them go, but am also excited for that awesome opportunity.  If you want to keep up to date on their transition and experience, I recommend checking out their blog, Turkish Crossroads.

Stephanie and Andy

Stephanie and Andy

An estimated at least 26% of children in the country are currently being cared for by their grandparents.  Children and grandparents in this situation often find themselves with significant mental health needs.  Grandparents may blame themselves for why their children cannot adequately care for their grandchildren.  69% of the children in grandparent care rate in the borderline or clinically significant area for mental illness or behavioral disturbances.  Many of the grandparents and grandchildren in this situation are the recipients of publicly funded health care.  Mental health services are underutilized.  Poverty, lack of outcomes data, geographic distance, stigma and limited sessions all fall into the reason why grandparents are not using their publicly funded health care for their own or their grandchildrens’ mental health needs.

Most grandparents know that their children need mental health services.  Additionally, most grandparents know that they could benefit from a sounding board.  In data collected for a study in Families In Society grandparents named educational services and outcomes data as being two of the most important things for them in seeking mental health care.  Most grandparents did not want to see therapists one-on-one, but reported wanting more social resources like support groups or informal meetings for other grandparents parenting their grandchildren in their geographic area.  These all seem like basic and achievable goals for quality assurance people in Medicare or MN Care.  The study was conducted in California – does anyone know if Minnesota has options like this available for grandparents and grandchildren who are using the system here?  The study also mentioned that many grandparents turn to more community based resources instead of using their Medi-CAL (California’s MN Care) benefits.  What role could community centers, churches and schools play in assisting grandparents raising their grandchildren.  How can the village raise the child?

I have a very strong conviction that the etiology of mental illnesses is multifaceted.  I think that trying to isolate the cause of any mental illness to only biological, only environmental, only learned or any other “only” qualified factor is not only an exercise in futility, but an exercise in disrespect.  No single person or element of a person is the direct outcome of any single factor.

That being said, an article from the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing that reviewed a recent government report found that there are some early indicators of possible mental illness.  One of the most prominent ones was aggressive behaviors at an early age.  Teaching preschoolers appropriate ways to manage anger and frustration is one of the techniques that they suggested for preventing behavioral disturbances that can lead to mental illness.

I hope that someone is able to do a follow-up longitudinal study on outcomes in a preschool class that teaches these concepts.  It would be interesting to see how teaching nonviolence plays out in the development of mental illness.

Wiley-Blackwell (2009, July 30). Mental, Emotional And Behavioral Disorders Can Be Prevented In Young People. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com­ /releases/2009/07/090729144028.htm

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