Above and Beyond

  ASPIRE HOSPITAL: ABOVE & BEYOND   Aspire Hospital is a small 30-bed acute care hospital in Conroe that provides mental health services primarily to Montgomery County, but also responds regularly to requests in helping meet the mental health needs of individuals in nearby counties. Since people commonly emotional, healing and medical needs in addition to mental health needs, Aspire strives to provide services: Above and beyond what psychiatric hospitals tend to offer Above and beyond what state and federal regulations require Above and beyond what Medicare, Medicaid or commercial insurance pays for “Individuals and families in our community need more than the bare minimum treatment traditionally provided for decades by psychiatric hospitals that regulations and insurance requires. At Aspire Hospital, we are dedicated to providing treatment for our patients that is above and beyond the minimum required and establish a new standard in mental health care for our community,” is the commitment of Aspire Hospital’s current senior administrative team. The above and beyond commitment Aspire Hospital has for our patients and community is evidenced by the following 2016 facts: Began providing Community Education Series Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) Full days of free depression screenings; which, in 2017, will be expanded to be provided monthly Music therapy Pet therapy Medicaid or community resources. All at no additional charge to patients, families, insurance, Medicare, Dedicated four beds permanently for complex-care (medical-psychiatric) to help minimize the length of time psychiatric patients spend in the overwhelmed emergency rooms (in Montgomery County as well as nearby counties) without the being provided the mental health treatment they so desperately need Established a...

NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS MONTH SEPTEMBER 2016

Erica Overshiner, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Director at Aspire Behavioral Health Hospital Most likely you or someone you know has been impacted by suicide. I have heard many patients say they feel as though they have been burdening their families or loved ones for years with their difficulties, including mental illness. Often, that individual cannot see how their leaving this world by suicide would impact and devastate their loved ones. If a person tries or commits suicide they are often thinking death is the ONLY or BEST way out. Desperation flows from an individual who feels there are no choices left. When talking with individuals about their suicidal thoughts or attempts, I often ask them, “Do you really want to die, or find relief from what you are struggling with”. Nine times out of ten, he or she wants relief. Relief from mental illness, financial stressors, familial/relationship conflict and the list goes on and on. So how does one know if a loved one is contemplating suicide? Fortunately, there are signs and behaviors that can set off red flags to be aware of. Generally speaking, one should become concerned when they see a loved one’s behaviors changing dramatically. This could be the result of something traumatic happening, or an exacerbation of a mental illness. Some signs include, but are not limited to: giving all their belongings away, isolating oneself, talking about being a burden, increased use of alcohol or drugs, increased talk of death, and mood changes. If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, talk to your doctor, a therapist, a trusted family member or friend,...

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

Erica Overshiner, MSW, LCSW, Clinical Director at Aspire Behavioral Health Hospital It was a hot, clear afternoon. I was driving back from Houston when I saw traffic slowing to a halt. Much to my terror I had just arrived onto the scene of a horrific accident. There were not even first responders on the scene yet. I got out of my vehicle to try to help, but sadly there was no help to be offered. Every time I tried to fall asleep scenes from the accident overwhelmed my mind. I started having flashbacks during the day, panic attacks, becoming hypervigilant and agitated. As a therapist I understood what was happening to me and needed to seek out a therapist who could help me process this trauma. I looked for someone who had been trained in EMDR. EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing  It is a type of psychotherapy that is relatively new. It incorporates bilateral stimulation (eye movements, tactile pulsars etc) to help the brain process the trauma. Since trauma can get “stuck” in non-verbal parts of the brain, the brain needs a nonverbal method to process it. I had been trained in EMDR a number of years ago, and now needed to utilize it myself. I had one 2 hour session with a therapist and my flashbacks and panic attacks dissipated, my sleep returned to normal, and my hypervigilance and agitation disappeared.  While this treatment may not work for everyone, it helped me tremendously. With EMDR the patient doesn’t have to talk at length about the trauma, which makes this method so appealing for the client....

Teamwork: Parents and Teachers Working Together

  Carol Gooch, M.S., LPC, LCDC, LMFT     As a former school teacher and school counselor and currently a mental health professional, I know the importance of teachers and parents working together to foster the success of their students. Communication is the key.   Parents and teachers have a common goal: to facilitate the best educational experience possible for students. When parents and teachers communicate with one another, they are able to work together towards this common goal. Technologies like texting and e-mails have made communication between home and school more efficient, and improved in both quantity and quality. Parents and teachers alike would be well served to seek out opportunities for communication with one another on a regular basis to ensure that all students have their physical, emotional and intellectual needs met. We know that the best educational outcomes occur when each of these needs are met.   A partnership implies that all parties work together — as equals — with specific rights and responsibilities toward a common goal. Each party contributes their own specific skills and knowledge toward meeting the objectives. Unfortunately, much home/school communication is one-sided and school-directed. Information is shared… but power is not shared. This approach is not conducive to creating a genuine partnership. The great majority of home/school crises are a direct result of poor communication.   The Beginning Stage requires teachers to establish their credibility as competent and confident professionals. They must set the tone for ongoing collaboration and outline the specific goals, roles and responsibilities of each member of the new partnership. The Maintenance Stage requires teachers to use ongoing conferencing and communication to...

Back to School and Mental Health

School starting in the next couple of weeks can be stressful for both kids and parents. Transitioning from the relaxed summer schedule into the hectic, activity filled school year can bring out a variety of emotions ranging from anxiety to excitement. With some planning and insight, easing back into the routine of school does not have to be a stressful time for your family. First, change can be a trigger. Change of routine and environment can bring about anxiety and nervousness in children. In some cases, the change can be substantial enough to bring out the first signs of a mental health condition or amplify existing symptoms. Help your child find healthy ways to manage their emotions surrounding the new school year. You are your child’s first resource Be and stay available for your children. Try to incorporate uninterrupted time where you are free from distractions to be both physically and emotionally available to your child. Your child knows when you are distracted and they will appreciate having your genuine interest with an open ear at the end of each school day. In the car or over dinner are great times to communicate and bond. Additionally general observations, expressing curiosity or concern is a great way to start the conversation: “I’ve noticed that you have been quiet lately… You can talk to me about anything, I am here to listen.” Remember do not assume you know your child’s thoughts or struggles before you ask them. Even if your assumptions are correct, the act of asking shows that you are genially interested and open to talk. One of the hardest...

Staying Positive

  Carol A. Gooch, M.S., LPC, LCDC, LMFT When you are starting a healthy diet, beginning an exercise program, stopping an unhealthy habit or working on a relationship, one of the main elements for success is staying positive. The power of remaining positive, whatever the situation, can never be underestimated. We are all here for a limited period of time, is it worth it to spend any of that time in a depressed, negative mood? The true test of an individual to remain positive is when challenges become difficult. Remaining positive keeps one’s mind in the right state of balance and often opens resolutions to the problems at hand. Negativity is contagious and it spreads to anyone you interact with. Eliminating negativity, or rather, being positive is a mindset that can be found at any moment, and turned into a habit. So, what are some ideas to help you shift your mindset to remain positive? Be conscious of your thoughts. Especially, when life just isn’t going your way. The moment you see that you are diving into frustration, agony, sorrow and low self-esteem – shift your thoughts, by thinking about something completely unrelated. This breaks the pattern of self-pity. What makes us different from other mammals is our ability to control our thoughts and think for ourselves. There is a lesson to be learned from every situation. You may have made a mistake, but now you can accept it and continue, knowing that you will make a different decision in the future. Understand this and be appreciative for the experience. You cannot be both angry and grateful at the...