Video

A View of the Role of Work and Recovery from a Provider and Graduate Student

Nathan works as a community support specialist in a supportive housing program and is also a current graduate student. He shares his perspective on the role of work in recovery from his experience as both helper and learner. Nathan touches on the overall health improvements seen in people who have returned to work. It is estimated that people with mental illnesses live 25 years less than the general population. Additionally, Nathan discusses the role that work plays as a defense against “shame and stigma” and in promoting community inclusion. Through his experience, he sees people who are working as having enhanced financial benefits, richer communication, and more exposure to the happenings in one’s community.

NEW ON-LINE CERTIFICATE OFFERED!

The Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions is excited to announce a NEW CERTIFICATE IN CAREER SERVICES! Starting summer 2013 the Department will be offering a 9 credit on-line certificate. Courses include:

Vocational Approaches PSRT4201 – offered in summer
Supported Education PSRT 4202– offered in fall
Supported Employment PSRT 4203– offered in spring
For more information contact Debbie Rich: richd1@umdnj.edu/908-889-2430.

Video

No Stigma

Wanted to share this wonderfully inspirational video created and provided by NAMI Mercer’s Shalanda Shaw. Enjoy!

Oral Health Series Part I: Why Human Services Should Partner with Dental Schools

This post is Part I of a three part series on ORAL HEALTH beginning with discussing, the importance of partnering, collaborating and identifying strategies, interventions, and resources to better engage people living with psychiatric disorders about their oral hygiene.  Part II focuses on, how oral healthcare impacts socialization and Part III its impact on vocational pursuits.

I attended a university colloquium (presentation of a scholarly literature review to faculty, students and the public at large for discussion) presented by Associate Professor, Dr. Vaishali Singhal called, “Oral Implications of Psychiatric Disorders.” Vaishali Singhal, a doctor of dental medicine is currently working on a Ph.D. in Health Sciences with a concentration in Psychiatric Rehabilitation. As a dentist she is keenly interested in developing better partnerships and collaboration between medical and mental health providers. Singhal’s literature review addressed growing concerns about the accessibility of dental care for people living with psychiatric disorders with a focus on persons diagnosed with schizophrenia. Lack of oral healthcare increases negative health risks for physical (i.e., stroke and heart attack) and psychological (i.e., low self-esteem, isolation, depression) distress impacting social and vocational goals. A contributing factor to this lack of oral healthcare is the absence of training for oral healthcare professionals to better engage patients with psychiatric disorders. As a person living with bipolar disorder I know I could have benefitted from focused preventive education on oral hygiene.

I do believe mental health professionals should be interested in collaborating with dental care providers. There is tremendous financial, emotional, and physical increased risk of premature disability and death among the people we serve. Through interdisciplinary collaboration we can help better integrate medical and psychiatric needs to empower individuals like myself to balance their attention in both physical and mental health coupled with all providers strengthening engagement skills. Here is a link: Building Infrastructure and Capacity in State and Territorial Oral Health Programs (April 2000) prepared by: Association of State and Territorial Dental Directors (ASTDD) http://www.astdd.org/docs/Infrastructure.pdf . This is a document to develop ideas from for organizational and systematic approaches.

I believe that it is important that as professionals we seize opportunities for cross training; attending seminars, and workshops outside of our focused area of expertise to collectively help strengthen quality services as an interdisciplinary team. For example, agencies can reach out to local dental schools for consultation, resources, i.e., oral hygiene checklist, psycho-education materials for varied literacy needs. Have oral healthcare listed as an agenda item for team meetings. Consider having both a dental hygienist and nutritionist as guest speakers. Identify i.e. service recipients for some formal oral healthcare training to serve as role models in residential settings. Here is a couple of links from the CDC Home page but not limited to adult and older adult oral hygiene: http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/adult.htm and http://www.cdc.gov/oralhealth/publications/factsheets/adult_older.htm Furthermore, a link for free and low cost dental care that may be similar in your location. http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/free-and-low-cost-dental-care-available-to-underserved-through-delta-dental-of-new-jersey-foundation-grants-197520961.html

Words of Hope: Keynote Address Inspires Many

On April 10, 2013, the Cape May County Employment Consortium, a group of key employment and mental health services stakeholders, hosted its annual Employment Summit at the Elks Club in North Wildwood, NJ. One of our faculty members, George Brice, Jr., Instructor in the Integrated Employment Institute gave a heartfelt, motivational keynote address on the important role that employment has played in his recovery from serious mental illness. Many attendees, who also live with mental illness, were moved and touched by George’s story.  Others have heard George speak in the past and shared with the group that George’s inspiring words motivated and enabled them to move forward in their lives and live beyond the label of mental illness.  George continued throughout the event to speak with individuals personally and to provide encouragement to them in their own recovery journeys.  One attendee was so inspired that she wrote an editorial piece for the Cape May County Herald newspaper about the event and George’s encouraging message.  The link to the article is: http://www.capemaycountyherald.com/article/91593-employment%2Bsummit%2Boffers%2Bhope%2Bdisabled?utm_source=dpcs&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=sendToFriend.

The day also included presentations from a Social Security Benefits planner as well as local education and employment programs.  Participants provided positive feedback about the event and presenters.  Overall, this year’s Employment Summit was a success and attended by close to 80 individuals, including people with the lived experience of mental illness, providers, and family members.

Is a Driver’s License a Dilemma too?

I was talking to a peer who works 30 plus hours a week by getting up at 4:00AM to be on a train by 5:20AM. The person walks to the train station, takes the train, and then connects to a bus. This is a long day- – but more importantly a rewarding routine of earned income, feelings of social inclusion and more. I can empathize as I didn’t drive for 16 years.  I walked and learned to navigate a bus and train in order to work a part time position. I didn’t have to  get up as early as this peer and I applaud them and others who acknowledge the importance and value of employment in one’s recovery journey.

When speaking to this person I was reminded of a provider’s concerns last year about promoting driver’s licenses for people living with mental health concerns. That well-meaning provider and others are concerned about the potential stress put on people with psychiatric conditions to have an expectation of getting a driver’s license.  As I mentioned, I didn’t drive for 16 years, though I actually had a driver’s license.  I lost confidence in driving becoming both vocationally and socially limited. However, I am glad I continued to renew the license which gave me respected and non-stigmatizing identification. Fondly, I remember a friend who moved to Florida giving me round-trip tickets to visit because I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Social Work. I took airport transportation with my “undisputed” driver’s license for airport security check-in. No need for a state issued “non-driver’s licensed” ID. I have now been driving for 10 years affording me expanded work/career opportunities.

So what do you think about persons living with mental illness getting a driver’s license and managing the responsibilities that come with it like anyone else (drive to help out, an emergency situation, ID., etc.)?

George Brice

When the System Works Against Medication Adherence

Between 2004 and 2005, while serving as the Vice-Chairman (mental health consumer representative) on the New Jersey Governor’s Task Force on Mental Health, I had extreme difficulty seeing a psychiatrist. Ironically, this occurred when the task force was discussing Involuntary Outpatient Commitment (IOC) which is now accepted into New Jersey law even though it was strongly opposed by advocates and psychiatric rehabilitation professionals. I was in my 25th year as a service recipient in the public mental health system. I was working full-time and took the day off to attend the psychiatrist appointment. On my way out of a police academy, where I considered renewing my certification as a volunteer certified police instructor, I checked my voicemail to find a message stating: “Your appointment is cancelled today because the psychiatrist can no longer take your health insurance. You will be rescheduled with another staff psychiatrist.” Despite my paraprofessional status and own inferiority complex I went to the agency anyway. After meeting with a person of “authority” I was given permission to see the psychiatrist and thoughtfully informed I would be billed as if I were uninsured. The psychiatrist had no problem seeing me despite the internal agency bureaucracy and I left with my prescriptions. 

Needless to say, I detailed my experience to the task force. About 3 months later I went to see the new psychiatrist, well not really “new” as I had seen that psychiatrist before, but insurance approved. We know psychiatrists are stretched thin and see a lot of people and unfortunately the quality of service sometimes suffers.Nevertheless; when I tried to meet with the new psychiatrist after handing over my co-pay I was informed the psychiatrist was dealing with a crisis and could not give me a time when the psychiatrist would be available: i.e., 15 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour? The expectation was that I would sit and wait. I refused and asked for the prescription to be called in. The response, “we don’t do that.” I left and the psychiatrist called me. I stepped out of my deemed paraprofessional status and inferiority complex as we bantered over the telephone. The psychiatrist reluctantly conceded and called in my prescriptions.

The stigmatizing drama doesn’t stop there as 3 months later, for my next appointment, the same thing happened.  This time the psychiatrist and agency refused to call in my prescriptions, “they don’t do that” and really meant it.

The agency disregarded my time and whether or not I got my medication. However, they were timely mailing me a termination letter as if I were “non-compliant.” The letter failed to state I showed up for my appointments, I paid my copay, and then was told the psychiatrist was unavailable. Despite being in complete distress I advocated elsewhere for a referral. I was given a public system psychiatrist who I could only see if I would “commit” to see a therapist at the agency (see more on shared decision making here). I hadn’t seen a therapist in 3 years. I now figured I was going to lose my job, my career path and my social standing in the community. I was tired!And not going to beg anymore for medication! I’d end up in a state hospital or criminal justice system because of system’s lacking monitoring and oversight.

Fortunately, I got assistance from a friend who put me in touch with a private psychiatrist who even picked up their own phone. After the initial visit with the private psychiatrist I was asked to come back monthly then every 3 months for over a year. Since 2007 I see the psychiatrist every 6 months. Furthermore, I have met courageous individuals, who despite the organ damaging side effects, have relentlessly “adhered” to medication. After 20 years on a medication, I was taken off, as it would have damaged my kidneys. A different medication now processes through my liver.

I believe medication is only a small, often unflattering complex delivery system, and limited aspect of one’s recovery. My recovery is participating in valued social roles beyond the trial and error and limitations of medication. I welcome you to share your own medication experiences; nameless story of a loved one; and as providers your challenges/barriers and resolution ideas to improve medication services so that the system doesn’t impede consumer social roles such as worker, student, and more.

George Brice

New Training! Cognitive Remediation & Executive Functioning

Join us in Piscataway on Wednesday April 3, 2013 for a FREE training on Cognitive Remediation. This training is an overview of a burgeoning approach to improving employment and educational outcomes among people with psychiatric conditions.   Michelle Mullen-Gonzalez will review the current research and outcomes associated with cognitive remediation in mental health. Multiple cognitive remediation strategies will be reviewed and participants will have an opportunity to practice and experience selected cognitive training approaches.
 
For additional information contact Brittany Stone: stonebl@umdnj.edu. To register, please visit our website or email Debbie Rich: richd1@umdnj.edu
 

New Training Series!

                      IEI Launches a Career Services Training Series

IEI now offers a 12 session series on Supported Education and Supported Employment. This skill development training series is ideal for new SE or SEd providers or for those who want cross training in these services.  Trainees can elect to take only SE sessions, only SED sessions or the entire series which enables providers to respond more comprehensively to the needs of those they serve.

For seasoned SE and SEd providers, IEI is offering six advanced trainings. This series is designed for practitioners with experience in providing career services and are ready to boost their skills and knowledge to the next level.  Trainings include topics such as Cognitive Remediation, Executive Functioning, and the Narrative Approach to Career Development.

For more information or to register

Contact

Debbie Rich at richd1@umdnj.edu or 908-889-2430

Video

The Light Bulb Moment: How A Career Journey Began

George shares his story of recovery and the important role that work has played in his life. He discusses his struggles to complete college and the feelings of envy as he compared his accomplishments to those around him. As George continued his career journey, these feelings of envy gave way to those of pride and success as he continued to achieve the goals he set for himself. George recalls a time when he was receiving services and a peer came to speak about his own recovery and the valued roles he held in his life. This moving story provided George with the informative nudge needed to return to school and embark on a life of career success. He refers to this moment as the “light bulb going off.” This is a good reminder of the influence we can have on one another.