Tag Archives: Life after trauma

Trauma Informed Schools… “It’s Okay to not be Okay…” Newport High School Cubs Lead…

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Trauma Informed Oregon  click here for more… Quoting…

“Trauma Informed Oregon is a statewide collaborative aimed at preventing and ameliorating the impact of adverse experiences on children, adults and families. We work in partnership to promote and sustain trauma informed policies and practices across physical, mental, and behavioral health systems and to disseminate promising strategies to support wellness and resilience.”

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While attending the Lincoln County Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC) meeting last week, I could not have been more pleased to receive a copy of the Newport HS Harbor Light Newsletter this last week, entitled “Depression, Anxiety and Mental Illness!” It was equally gratifying and encouraging to see Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) model on the agenda.

Following are quotes from Harbor Light by teachers and students…  The newsletter is not yet accessible on a website,  so it is my goal to provide a summary, including relevant reference links mentioned in the newsletter.  This is an outstanding read and highly recommended!

Samantha Murphy, Advisor Intro…

“The elusive nature of anxiety and depression makes them easy conditions to question and difficult conditions to understand unless you’ve experienced them.  They do exist, however. They are real and they are often debilitating.”

Ruby Quintero, Editor Intro…

“All levels of anxiety and depression are very real emotions that all people should be aware of as well as inherit a particular level of sensitivity to.”

Brooke Foiles,”The Weight of Depression.”

“I knew if I went to the doctor I would have to step on the one thing that had been drowning me in depression for so many months…a scale.”

Ruby Quintero, “Less than Good Enough.”

“That extra skin on your stomach, your neck, your legs, your arms, it’s perfect.  You are the best you can be and that’s all that matters.  Someone is going to come along and appreciate you for who you are and give you the world.”

Hallie Ezzell, “Statistics.”

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI): click here for more…

  • “One in five children ages 13-18 have or will have a serious mental illness.”
  • “50 percent of all lifetime cases of mental illnesses begin by the young age of 14.”
  • “About 50 percent of students age 14 and older who struggle with a mental illness drop out of high school.”
  • “70 percent of youth that are in state and local juvenile justice systems struggle with a mental illness.”

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): click here for more…

Between 2005 and 2011, children ages 3-17 were diagnosed with:

  • “6.8 percent diagnosed with ADHD.”
  • “3.5 percent with behaviorial or conduct issue.”
  • “3 percent with anxiety.”
  • “2.1 percent with depression.”

According to a 2010 report from Youth.gov,  (click here for more)

  • “49.5 percent of US adolescents met the criteria for a mental health condition.”
  • “22.2 percent classified as as exhibiting severe impairment and/or distress.”

Ruben Krueger, “A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: A Problem for All.”

“Yet, because depression is not as visible as a bone fracture or heart attack, diagnosis and treatment often remain neglected like a bridge rusting until collapse.”

Anonymous, “Undiagnosed.”

“I guess the message I want to send to parents (teachers, mentors): if your child comes to you for help, please don’t write it off.  Try your best so that they can try theirs.”

Sophie Goodwin-Rice, “Freezing Water.”

Above everything else, though, I know that anxiety is real.  It isn’t a cry for attention, or just a few choppy waves as you’re sailing through life. It is unexplainable, unpredicatable and undeniable.  It’s struggling to keep your head above the freezing water, and always waiting for the wind to calm down again.”

Anonymous, “I Can’t Breath.”

“When I was eight years old, I was raped by my 13-year old brother.  Ever since, I haven’t been able to be in the same room alone with a guy.  Let alone a guy I didn’t know.”

River Rundell, “Codependency: When You’re Not Helping.”

“One sign you may have a codependent relationship in the works is if your parents or other guardians were in a dysfunctional relationship.”

Luke McCarthy, “Coexisting Conditions:  Juggling Burdens.”

“Depression and anxiety, for example, coexist very often.  About 85% of people with major depression also have significant anxiety.”

Macy Dexter, “A Look At Teen Suicide.”

“Depression, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, as well as other mental illnesses (such as anxiety disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, and eating disorders) are all found to correlate with suicide across the globe.”

Darius Seah, “Selective Mutism: Living Without a Voice.”

“Selective Mutism, a complex anxiety disorder, typically begins in early childhood.  Symptoms include a consistent failure to speaking in a specific social situations, such as presenting in class or at a family gathering.”

Levi Kay, “Adversity Defines You.”

“In total, I spent twelve months on crutches, during the course of my junior year.  I had two more surgeries and faced constant serious complications in recovery.  As a result of all of this, I became increasingly discouraged and depressed.”

Courtney Saccomano, “When Depression Becomes a Crisis.”

“With depression it can feel like you’re all alone in your head, even though you are surrounded by so many people.”

“People will believe physical pain more than mental.  In sharing their story, the Harbor Light hopes to enlighten those who also struggle with these issues and let them know that getting help is nothing to be ashamed of.”

-Ruby Quintero

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For those who suffer from mental health challenges, especially kids, it is not easy to be comfortable with the idea, “It’s okay to not be okay.”  As a survivor of childhood and young adult traumatic and toxic home circumstances, it took me six decades as an adult to find a path of healing.  What is clear from my own experience and research in these later years is that awareness is the first step in finding a path to recovery and peace of mind. The very best news is to see the policy of “Trauma Informed Schools” become a reality.  It is the conversation that starts with children, parents, teachers, and mentors that will end the stigma and break the cycle of never ending pain caused by the silence and silencing of those who suffer from mental illness.

I strongly recommend that parents, teachers, and mentors everywhere take notice of what Oregon State’s and Lincoln County’s Newport High School is doing with mental health outreach by getting a copy of the April 2016, Harbor Light News Magazine, “It’s Okay to not be Okay…” Awareness and education of mental health circumstances and treatment must start early in the life of a child, at home and in school.  Don’t let your child take the emotional pain and baggage of depression, anxiety, and mental illness into adulthood.

I extend my heartfelt thanks and gratitude to the teachers and students of Newport High School and the Harbor Light News Magazine for stepping up! You are all heroes for the cause to end mental health illness stigma!

Steve Sparks, Author, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story and My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma Part 1&2… click the highlighted text for my author page to order books and other stuff…

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Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Child Advocate, and member, Lincoln County Oregon, Mental Health Advisory Committee (MHAC)

 

 

 

 

 

Speaking at Vets for Vets in Pagosa Springs, Colorado about children and families of warriors…

VetsforVets

Veterans for Veterans.org Mission  click on website…

Veterans for Veterans…  Quote from this website…

“Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a volunteer charitable organization, 501 c (3), who are veterans helping other veterans to provide financial assistance to veterans and their families in need, to advocate for veterans, provide education and counseling, and to provide a resource of information and experience.”

Membership shall consist only of veterans from the Armed Forces of the United States of America (Air Force, Army, Marines, and Coast Guard).

You may join and contribute as an Associate member, but have no voting right.

We meet every Tuesday, 10:00 am at the Quality Resort, 3505 West Hwy 160.

The last Tuesday of the month will be an evening meeting to accommodate those that cannot make the morning meetings.  Location: Same as AM.  Time: 6:00 PM

All Veterans Welcome and Refreshments will be offered.

Our Mission

Vets for Vets of Archuleta COuntyMission:  Veterans for Veterans of Archuleta County is a 501 c (3) organization established exclusively for charitable purposes, more specifically:

  1. For veterans to help veterans.
  2. To provide financial assistance to veterans in need.
  3. To advocate for the veteran with the Veterans Administration.
  4. Provide information and experience resources.

We provide outreach to veterans in our community and assist in a variety of needs such as:

  1. Financial assistance.
  2. Assistance in accessing medical, dental and eye care.
  3. Housing assistance.
  4. Emotional assistance to help overcome the scars of war such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Traumatic Brain Injuries and effects of Agent Orange.
  5. Help provide transportation to out-of town VA appointments.
  6. Hold weekly meetings providing the veteran with up to date information and a place for veterans so they can share information and fellowship.
  7. Help provide information and emotional support to family members of veterans.
  8. Ensure veterans receive access to the Veterans Administration (VA) benefits earned through their service in the armed forces.

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While speaking at the Raymond G. Murphy Veterans Medical Center in Albuquerque last week, I was encouraged to make contact with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, CO, to share my story about intergenerational PTSD.  I received an enthusiastic response when contacting the group, and was made to feel welcome to attend and speak at their regularly scheduled Tuesday 10am meeting.  I came early to the meeting to get a feel for the group to help me with my initial interaction.  I immediately felt right at home with my brothers and sisters who have served America in the Armed Forces, especially the many members who served during the Vietnam War.

Before speaking to the group, I had a chance to  talk to several of the members before the meeting started and to listen to the formal discussion, including reports from the committees who work on community outreach, fund raising, VA updates and support, and programs to engage veterans with veterans.  There are now over 120 veteran members of this lively and active non-profit whose passionate work is devoted solely to Archuleta County veterans of all wars.

I immediately recognized the value of veterans forming their own group and taking ownership for helping each other in rural communities in particular.  I could feel the bonding, camaraderie and fellowship.  I was impressed with the quality of leadership on the board as well.  This is a group that is making a huge difference for veterans and their families close to home.  I have written about the value of veterans groups supported by local communities (click on link) to complete the circle of support starting with the transition to civilian life and the outgoing support needs once our veterans return home.  The Vets for Vets model is exactly the right solution and is showing results evidenced by the support and enthusiasm of the veterans who are members and volunteers.  I could not be more encouraged!

Clearly pumped up with enthusiasm, it came time for me to speak to the group.  Sharing my story by referencing the challenges of a post WWII and Korean War military family life during the 1950’s and early 1960’s, connected immediately with the close to 40 veterans attending this meeting, including spouses and family members.  There was one striking boomer aged lady in attendance who caught my attention because she appeared highly emotional as I talked about forgiving my father and mother once learning about how war comes home and can tear a family apart in life after war.  I also talked about the importance of forgiving ourselves first, paving the way to forgiving others and in making a difference for the greater good.  Trauma survivors have a tough time with forgiveness, especially forgiving yourself.  But we know now that the journey of healing in life after trauma is not possible until self-forgiveness is experienced.  

These are the heartfelt healing moments and experiences that come my way while helping others know more about moral injury and the intergenerational effects of PTSD on children and families of warriors.  Helping one person at a time encourages me everyday to keep on writing and speaking about life after trauma.   I hope to stay in touch with Veterans for Veterans in Pagosa Springs, and those who purchased my book and came up to chat with me privately following the meeting.

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story…

 

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

 

“Pinwheels for Prevention” at the Lincoln City Cultural Center April 19, 2012… Join community volunteers on the front lawn at 9am…

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my books, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1… (Kindle $2.99), and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! Steve Sparks, Author

pin_wheels_mini_1332702381 Pinwheels for Prevention…Lincoln City Cultural Center… Come and join community volunteers on the front lawn of the Cultural Center at 9am this Saturday…April 19, 2014…

Pinwheels for Prevention…official website…  Quote from this website… Big_Pinwheel_Garden_2014_02_00337

Actor Josh Charles and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel Help Create Big Pinwheel Gardens in New York and Chicago!

“The Good Wife” actor Josh Charles helped Prevent Child Abuse America transform Times Square into the Big Pinwheel Garden on Tuesday, April 9, to mark Child Abuse Prevention Month and promote the pinwheel as the symbol for healthy starts for all children. Charles was joined by Manhattanmagazine’s Cristina Cuomo, Prevent Child Abuse America President and CEO Jim Hmurovich and over 200 volunteers, holding nearly 5,000 pinwheels to create the display.

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I was delighted to learn about the “Pinwheels for Prevention” event planned at the Lincoln City Cultural Center on the front lawn this coming Saturday starting at 9am.  The month of April is designated by the US Congress for National Child Abuse Awareness and month of the military child as well.  I have posted on this blog recognizing April as the month to remind ourselves of the painful silence of children who are emotionally neglected or abused.   It is also a time to think about the families who suffer with emotional challenges that often affect children and result in abuse, including military families.  Children often carry forward the emotional baggage of childhood trauma well into adult life.  I know this to be true as a post WWII and Korean War military child growing up in the 1950’s and early 1960’s.  The national conversation during the month of April and throughout the year advances the cause of awareness and healing for millions of Americans…

Judy and I are planning to join our friends and neighbors on Saturday for this special event.  “Make a difference one child at a time.”  Hope to see you there!

Steve Sparks, Author, My Journey of Healing in Life After Trauma, Part 1 and Reconciliation: A Son’s Story

Vice Chair, www.neighborsforkids.org