Jonathan's Journal 9-13-15 Part 2

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Jonathan
Signature Health, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
Sarah Scherer
Hear & Soles Fund Raiser
Thought For The Week
Join Our List

Join Our Mailing List
Issue: # 22

September 13th, 2015

Rememberin Sarah Scherer
Sarah Scherer
Last Sunday
September 27th, 2015
marked the 8th anniversary of our tragic loss of Sarah Scherer.

For the many many newer staff who never knew Sarah, she was a case manager for Signature Health and an art therapy student as Ursuline College when she died tragically while on vacation in Italy.  Her soul and work live on in the Art Therapy we do and the Sarah Scherer Art Therapy Intern/Scholarship we host each year. 

SH Foundation Heart and Soles Fundraiser
Harry Buffulo Logo
Please join us at our annual Heart and Soles Fundraiser at Harry Buffalo in Painesvile Twp on Thursday November 12thfrom 7pm-9pm.  There will be a 50/50 raffle, Chinese Auction etc. Heavy hors d'oeuvres will be served.  Contact Liz Whitworth for tickets.  Funds are used to buy boots and shoes for needy children in Lake County!
Thought For The Week

Temper is what gets most of us into trouble.  Pride is what keeps us there. -Mark Twain

Make it a Great Week !  

Jonathan

Jonathan's Journal 3-15-15

Jonathan's Journal
Jonathan
Signature Health, Inc. Newsletter
In This Issue
When You Need Help Now!
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Join Our Mailing List
Issue: # 5

March 15th, 2015

When You Need Help Now


Let me tell you a story that happened this past week.


 

Early in the morning last Friday one of our patients was having a really difficult time.  He was off of his medications and he was suffering from intense delusions and hallucinations.  He had gone to a motel to stay the night convinced that there were cameras and microphones planted in his home. The police found him wandering the streets of Mentor.  They were able to find out from him that he was a patient here at Signature.  Not feeling they had just cause to pink slip him they convinced him to let them take him to our office.


 

Upon arriving at our office, the front desk ladies got Mary Winfield our Nursing Supervisor involved.  She assessed the situation and discovered this was a patient of one of our nurse practitioners who wasn't in the office that day.  Mary turned to Denise Flynn, APRN for help.  Denise agreed to see the patient even though it wasn't one of her patients.  Denise wanted him to be restarted on Latuda immediately and have Vistoril for anxiety.  They were able to get the medications from our pharmacy so he could get some immediate relief.  Mary then asked Rachel Giamo one of our case managers to work with him to get a family member to come to the office.  After a good amount of time a plan was put in place for the patient and his family member to attempt to return home.  Unfortunately his anxiety was too great and he felt he needed to go to the hospital.  We coordinated with Richmond Hospital and sent the patient there.  By the time the patient got to the Richmond Emergency Department and seen by the doctor the patient's anxiety and psychotic symptoms started to respond to the medications we had given him in the morning.  He felt well enough to go home!


 

Thanks you Mary, Denise and Rachel! Outstanding Work!  By working together you saved a hospitalization!


 

I wanted to tell this story for so many reasons.  First, this is an amazing example of teamwork.  I want to applaud Denise Flynn in particular for being willing to see the patient even though it wasn't her patient.  She did it simply because that was the best thing for the patient.  The second reason is this story is a perfect example of my vision of "When you need help now".  This client didn't have to be hospitalized !  While we certainly aren't ready for the police departments to drop off every patient they find, I do plan to expand our walk in capability to include psychiatric services.

 

This is the Vision.  This is the Big Idea.  When you need help now!

Thought For The Week

Keep your words soft and tender because tomorrow you may have to eat them. -Unknown

Make it a Great Week !  

Jonathan

 

Thinking Outside the Box

For most of us, conforming to societal norms is part of our daily lives. There is a definite need for structure in families, schools, communities and amongst nations. However, learning how to think outside the box (with caution and respect for societal requirements) is an essential element in personal happiness. Once developed, this skill can reduce depression, improve mood and increase creativity and performance in our personal lives, at work, in our communities and ultimately in our world.

Rene Descartes, Father of Modern philosophy, further developed the concept of “I think therefore I am”. If we were to take this concept and apply positive behavior change to it the phrase then becomes “I think therefore I behave”. And taken one step further …

“I think… therefore I am empowered to act”.

This new phrase has the potential to change your life, your productivity, improve your mood and change the world.

The hidden platform for this concept is that to begin to change our thoughts we must change our worldview. For those of us that believe we are fatefully predisposed to the lives we are living and that our actions are worthless -are limiting themselves and reducing their ability to perform and create a positive impact in their own lives…as well as in the lives of others.

This belief is known as an external locus of control. We become a mere pawn or a “victim” to the world around us- which whittles away at our self esteem and reduces our desire and motivation to play an active role in any capacity. This thought process increases the incidence of depression and reduces creativity. Why bother thinking at all – if we are just along for the ride?

Development of an “internal locus of control” or in other words the belief that we have the ability to affect change in our world- immediately causes a change in our mind and raises self esteem. First, we empower ourselves. I like to say we “take back our power” because in essence we have given it away with the belief that the world is beyond our reach (external locus of control) and that we are merely “along for the ride”.

Second, when we “take back our power” we change. We become active and by being active we have the ability to adopt the concept “I think therefore I am” and ultimately “I think therefore I act”. We literally empower ourselves to ACT upon those things we wish to change, move or improve. We give ourselves permission to be creative. We give ourselves permission to make a difference. We instill in ourselves the concept that our contribution is valuable in some way.

Now apply these two basic principles (Internal locus of control, and self empowerment) to the world we live in. If 20% of the people in the world adopted this type of thinking and changed their behaviors to active participants and let loose the creative genius in their minds what change could we see? The ripple effect would be instantaneous. It would be marvelous.

If you are an educator, a doctor, a leader of nations or simply a parent or an individual… this information could change the world in which your children, grandchildren and indeed all future generations live in. It could create a sense of personal happiness for those who adopt these concepts as well as for those who cannot…or will not make a change.

So consider freeing your mind for a moment, think outside of the box you have created for yourself …and consider making a change. Give yourself permission to “take back your power” and begin by changing your thoughts in your head. Challenge those old beliefs and ask yourself..

“Can I make a difference”?

Even in some small way, a ripple effect can spread out beyond your wildest imagination.

Brain & Drugs

There has been much in the news recently about how drug use has reached epidemic proportions locally and across the country. The devastating effects of substance abuse are obvious to non-users. However, if you have never experienced an addiction it is difficult to understand how someone could continue to use, despite all the negative consequences. With a little exposure to the current understanding of what addiction is and how it is treated, it is easier to feel empathy for people with addiction, and to learn how to deal with it in our lives and communities.

When I started my master’s degree in clinical counseling, I had no intention of working in addiction. It took an eye-opening internship in an addiction treatment center to ignite my passion for this work. I have found that the people with addiction with whom I have worked are some of the most devastated but hopeful people I know. I am inspired often by my clients’ desire for change, the depth of their sorrow, their ability to overcome, and their dreams for the future. In working with the families of addicted people, I have learned that a little understanding about the complex physical, psychological and environmental factors underpinning addiction helps people see addiction not as a moral failing, but as an illness.

The seat of addiction is in the brain. The human brain is “hardwired” through the limbic system to seek out pleasure, because that is what keeps us alive and perpetuates the species. Being warm and dry, eating food and drinking water, feeling connections to loved ones – these are things that feel good and help us survive, so we constantly pursue them. This drive to survive is what allows people to bypass their rational mind during a crisis and do whatever it takes to live, even if that means severing their own limbs, resorting to cannibalism, or doing other seemingly outrageous things that people are unlikely to do in their daily lives. 

When a chemical such as those found in opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens or alcohol binds to receptors in the brain that were meant to process naturally-occurring brain chemicals such as dopamine, addiction may begin. The drugs prevent the brain’s normal functioning, and instead introduce the strongest “good” feeling the body has ever felt. The brain responds to this “high” by wanting more. Remember, up to this point the brain’s perspective has been, “If it feels good, it must be good for me, so do it more!” The chasing of that “high” feeling becomes obsessive, and negative consequences follow. The brain falsely believes it now needs drugs to survive.

For a more detailed explanation of the effect of drugs on the brain, including excellent diagrams, visit the National Institute on Drug Addiction at www.drugabuse.gov, and type “drugs and the brain” into the search box.

As the brain continues to be exposed to drugs and alcohol, physical changes take place, suppressing the body’s natural production of dopamine and reinforcing the brain’s reliance on outside substances. Physical changes occur in other parts of the body as well, such as the stomach, intestines, and other major organs. The liver and pancreas must work harder to process the increased chemicals in the body and heart and lung function decreases in response to suppressants like alcohol, opiates (Percocet, Oxycontin) and benzodiapines (Valium, Xanax).

Science has yet to determine conclusively why some people become addicted to substances and others do not. It has shown, however, that a combination of factors contribute to addiction. Lack of family involvement, having a mental health issue, gender (men are twice as likely to become addicted), peer pressure, family history of addiction, and experimenting with highly addicting substances like heroin or cocaine, can increase a person’s odds of becoming addicted.

Treatment professionals use the “disease model” of addiction for treatment. From this perspective, addiction is considered a primary, chronic, progressive disease. “Primary” means addiction needs to be treated before, or concurrent with, other disorders such as depression or cirrhosis of the liver in order to be successful. Addiction is “chronic” because like diabetes or heart disease it is something that can be managed, but not cured. Finally, addiction is “progressive” because it follows a predictable course of decline that left untreated, results in the death of the afflicted. 

Treating addiction requires a complex and radical change in both the person with addiction and the people around them. People with addiction heal through practicing abstinence, building sober social support in friends and family, addressing mental health issues, learning healthy coping skills and changing people, places and things in their lives. 

Addiction is a devastating disease. It ravages families, increases community crime rates, drains personal and community resources, and causes heartbreak. The best way to combat addiction is with education and empathy. By learning about the disease of addiction we can provide more focused support in preventing it. By learning how to treat it, we can take steps necessary to help addicted individuals, heal families, and improve the overall health of our community. For more information on addiction services, please call Signature Health at 992-8552.

Love.. is the Lifeblood of Mental Health

Have you ever felt like you were just hanging on?

When was the last time you faced a challenge so significant in your life that you were forced to ask for help?  Did you hesitate before you asked for assistance?  

Was the help you needed provided?   

If you are fortunate enough to have a healthy and vast support system with family and friends who provide unconditional love to you -then you most likely received the assistance you needed.  You would have experienced what I like to call the lifeblood of good mental health.

In the mental health field there is a great need for unconditional positive regard to be provided by not only care providers but by all who surround the client in his/her daily life.  Unfortunately, the diagnosis of an illness in mental health is not always received without judgment by one’s community, friends and oftentimes family. Why does a medical illness like diabetes seem more acceptable than depression or PTSD?  Some of this stems from a stigma in our society towards mental illness.

What is a stigma?  According to Webster’s Dictionary a stigma is defined as, “a set of negative and often unfair beliefs that a society or group of people have about something”.  

Stigma about mental health can be pervasive.  It is like a cancer of the mind.  Stigma can be silent, stealthy and suck the lifeblood out of those whom we care about. It not only hurts our loved ones, but just as any negative thinking does…it hurts ourselves. There is good news though; thoughts are changing in this matter.  Stigma about mental health is slowly being stamped out….and it should be. 

Many mental illnesses are often very poorly understood and so there are myths and misunderstandings about their causes, their cures and those who are affected by them.  There is much blame.  “Just get over it” is a common phrase that many clients have heard.  “You were fine yesterday, what’s the matter today”? Or, one of the worst comments: “It’s all in your head”.

Consider this; no one operates in a vacuum.    We are all interconnected and therefore just as responsible for the outcomes of the sick as those who have been diagnosed with an illness themselves.  I ask you to think about the stigma in mental health and make a change. 

Consider a golden formula -with love as a primary ingredient:

A golden formula for mental health includes a variety factors such as: a loving and unconditional positive support system, compassion,spirituality, medication compliance, exercise, positive attitude (by client, family, friends and caregivers), education and stable home life.  Regular visits to doctors and management of all illness (medical and psychological) are necessary components.  Good food and comforting words are essential to this formula.

I like to think that those in the healthcare field are motivated by a desire to help their fellow man. In this pursuit the element of love would be a ribbon running through everything they do and be evident in the work they perform.  Likewise with family and friends who have so much to lose should their loved one deteriorate, love would be first and foremost in their support (and in their hearts).

Let’s make it happen.

Love, is truly the lifeblood of good mental health.  

Not only for those who ask for help… but also for those who provide it.   

Treasure the love you receive above all. It will survive long after your gold and good health have vanished. -- Og Mandino

Karen Baluch is a Counselor at Signature Health in Ashtabula, wife, mother of four and ardent believer in the power of positive thought

Brain & Drugs

There has been much in the news recently about how drug use has reached epidemic proportions locally and across the country. The devastating effects of substance abuse are obvious to non-users. However, if you have never experienced an addiction it is difficult to understand how someone could continue to use, despite all the negative consequences. With a little exposure to the current understanding of what addiction is and how it is treated, it is easier to feel empathy for people with addiction, and to learn how to deal with it in our lives and communities.

When I started my master’s degree in clinical counseling, I had no intention of working in addiction. It took an eye-opening internship in an addiction treatment center to ignite my passion for this work. I have found that the people with addiction with whom I have worked are some of the most devastated but hopeful people I know. I am inspired often by my clients’ desire for change, the depth of their sorrow, their ability to overcome, and their dreams for the future. In working with the families of addicted people, I have learned that a little understanding about the complex physical, psychological and environmental factors underpinning addiction helps people see addiction not as a moral failing, but as an illness.

The seat of addiction is in the brain. The human brain is “hardwired” through the limbic system to seek out pleasure, because that is what keeps us alive and perpetuates the species. Being warm and dry, eating food and drinking water, feeling connections to loved ones – these are things that feel good and help us survive, so we constantly pursue them. This drive to survive is what allows people to bypass their rational mind during a crisis and do whatever it takes to live, even if that means severing their own limbs, resorting to cannibalism, or doing other seemingly outrageous things that people are unlikely to do in their daily lives. 

When a chemical such as those found in opiates, stimulants, hallucinogens or alcohol binds to receptors in the brain that were meant to process naturally-occurring brain chemicals such as dopamine, addiction may begin. The drugs prevent the brain’s normal functioning, and instead introduce the strongest “good” feeling the body has ever felt. The brain responds to this “high” by wanting more. Remember, up to this point the brain’s perspective has been, “If it feels good, it must be good for me, so do it more!” The chasing of that “high” feeling becomes obsessive, and negative consequences follow. The brain falsely believes it now needs drugs to survive.

For a more detailed explanation of the effect of drugs on the brain, including excellent diagrams, visit the National Institute on Drug Addiction at www.drugabuse.gov, and type “drugs and the brain” into the search box.

As the brain continues to be exposed to drugs and alcohol, physical changes take place, suppressing the body’s natural production of dopamine and reinforcing the brain’s reliance on outside substances. Physical changes occur in other parts of the body as well, such as the stomach, intestines, and other major organs. The liver and pancreas must work harder to process the increased chemicals in the body and heart and lung function decreases in response to suppressants like alcohol, opiates (Percocet, Oxycontin) and benzodiapines (Valium, Xanax).

Science has yet to determine conclusively why some people become addicted to substances and others do not. It has shown, however, that a combination of factors contribute to addiction. Lack of family involvement, having a mental health issue, gender (men are twice as likely to become addicted), peer pressure, family history of addiction, and experimenting with highly addicting substances like heroin or cocaine, can increase a person’s odds of becoming addicted.

Treatment professionals use the “disease model” of addiction for treatment. From this perspective, addiction is considered a primary, chronic, progressive disease. “Primary” means addiction needs to be treated before, or concurrent with, other disorders such as depression or cirrhosis of the liver in order to be successful. Addiction is “chronic” because like diabetes or heart disease it is something that can be managed, but not cured. Finally, addiction is “progressive” because it follows a predictable course of decline that left untreated, results in the death of the afflicted. 

Treating addiction requires a complex and radical change in both the person with addiction and the people around them. People with addiction heal through practicing abstinence, building sober social support in friends and family, addressing mental health issues, learning healthy coping skills and changing people, places and things in their lives. 

Addiction is a devastating disease. It ravages families, increases community crime rates, drains personal and community resources, and causes heartbreak. The best way to combat addiction is with education and empathy. By learning about the disease of addiction we can provide more focused support in preventing it. By learning how to treat it, we can take steps necessary to help addicted individuals, heal families, and improve the overall health of our community. For more information on addiction services, please call Signature Health at 440-992-8552 (Ashtabula), 216-663-6100 (Garfield Heights), or 440-953-9999 (Willoughby).

Jonathan's Journal - Issue #22

Robert W. Scher Employee of the Year Awards

Due to several requests I have extended the deadline and I am now taking nominations for our Employee of the Year Awards.  If you are one of the people who are reading this that are NOT on staff I would still like your nominations!

For those of you who are new, we bestow 6 awards each year, one for each of our values of Integrity, Community, Excellence, Teamwork, Innovation, and Service.    

Each award is based on nominations by clients, co-workers, referral sources, and community members, so this is an award from your peers.  There is no limit to the number of nominations that you can make and you can make them for any employee in any location.  To nominate a coworker for an award, you need to send me an email at jlee@signaturehealthinc.com with EOY in the subject line, identify the staff member you are nominating, identify the value or values that you are nominating them for, and the reason why you think they deserve the award.

The awards will be bestowed at our Holiday Party on Wednesday December 11th, 2013.

Nominations must be received by Tuesday December 10th, 2013 at 5pm.

Weatherhead 100 Award

Speaking of awards, this past Tuesday evening, I had the honor of attending the Weatherhead 100 award ceremony.  This year we ranked #28 in the list of 100 fastest growing businesses in the North East Ohio Area!  This is basically the same ranking we received last year (I believe we were #27) but as I pointed out earlier this is based on Revenue Growth Percentage so it gets harder and harder each year to stay on the list at all.  I did a little more digging into the list.  There was only one other organization with greater than 200 employees that ranked higher than Signature Health!  Further 85% of the organizations had less than 50 employees.  I am so proud of the Signature Health Team!  Thank you so much.  OUTSTANDING!

Holiday Celebration !

Hanukkah has already come and gone and there's only 16 shopping days till Christmas! 

So please mark your calendars for our Holiday Celebration Dinner from 6pm-9pm on Wednesday December 11th at the Croatian Lodge on Lakeshore Blvd in Eastlake which is right near Rt 91 and Lakeshore Blvd.  We will close the agency at 5pm so everyone can attend. 

We will have some door prizes again this year and activities for the kids. Dinner will be served at 7pm (cash bar available). Employee of the Year prizes will be awarded during dinner.  

I would like to try to get as many staff and family members to attend especially because we get to honor our Employees of the Year there.  Children are welcome (and encouraged) but please RSVP to Paul Brickman ASAP, especially with the number of kids and ages.

Thought For the Week.....

Passion is the genesis of genius. -Anthony Robbins 

Make it a Great Week !  

Jonathan