Join the Conversation on
6.8K people
0 stories
5.2K posts
About Programs
Explore Our Newsletters
What's New in Programs

How often do you visit the public library. Just to see what types of programs they have in store for the season? Upcoming Events / Find a good book

#MentalHealth #Anxiety #Depression #PTSD #BorderlinePersonalityDisorder

2 reactions 3 comments

SMILE Mass Plans to Build Community within a Community Local Non-profit to Pick Up Where Pandemic

Part 1 of 2 SMILE Mass has launched a fundraising campaign to build a “Community within a Community” to help bring a sense of equity and inclusion to the severely disabled population.

“For the average person, Covid is behind us, but for most people with disabilities it is still very rea,” explained SMILE Mass Founder and president Lotte Diomede. “This has continued to put a tremendous amount of stress and financial burden on so many families due to the work force shortage and lack of programs that existed prior to the pandemic. It is a national crisis.”

Both founders of SMILE Mass, Lotte Diomede and Susan Brown, are raising kids with severe disabilities and know first-hand the importance of a consistent schedule and programs for kids and adults with disabilities. With that, Club SMILE Mass was born during the first several weeks of the Covid outbreak. Club Smile Mass was one of the first organizations to offer meaningful adaptive classes remotely via Zoom.

Today, Club SMILE Mass is one of SMILE Mass’ fastest growing programs and continues to offer hybrid classes to stimulate clients mentally and physically. Classes include access to one-on-one training and small group classes, swimming classes at LA Fitness in Natick, MA, and seven-day-per-week access to any LA Fitness in Massachusetts. The program also includes music classes, story time, Bingo games, small group workout classes via Zoom, and bike evaluations performed by a Physical Therapist. All trainers of Club SMILE Mass are fully trained and certified.

“Through Club SMILE Mass, we are providing much needed daily activities with a focus on movement. There are no existing clubs for someone with disabilities, which is a huge problem, and this is where Club SMILE Mass comes in. When we launched the program in 2021, we organized a group of experienced caregivers and trainers to create a consistent weekly schedule of physical and educational activities designed for the severely disabled,” explained Lotte. We approached a national health club and secured the space to execute these activities. In the first month we serviced seven clients in person, grew to 21 in the second month, and the rest is history. Today we service over 60 members with a wait list.”

“We always knew there was a need for these types of services but yet again we are at a cross road and growing fast. This has now put us in a place where using outside space has become cumbersome. Our clients deserve a well-rounded program with the right amenities. Working in a leased space comes with obstacles as we have to fit our programs in with a facility’s already existing schedule and programs”.

Although we are grateful to have launched Club SMILE Mass at LA Fitness, we are already outgrowing that space and therefore eager to create our own space. We are currently exploring a piece of land in the MetroWest area that we would love to call our “A Community within a Community – Club Smile Mass.”

Lotte continued, “We envision this space to become fully accessible with a universal design concept allowing anyone with or without a disability to travel with ease throughout the community. The plan is to hold all of our programs in one place to optimize utilization of adaptive equipment, space, staffing and ultimately providing a more consistent program that is both efficient and financially responsible, while allowing our clients to maximize all of our programs throughout.”

“The Community Within a Community will provide much needed sustainability, control of our schedule and financial growth for SMILE Mass. We believe by owning our own space we can grow in a healthy, steady manner reaching a larger population throughout Massachusetts, which has always been our ultimate goal. We don’t believe that anyone should be without services just because they have a disability.”

As a mother of a child with a severe disability Lotte stay up at night worried about who is going to take care of her son Nicholas, when she no longer can. This is where the “Community Within a Community” comes in. She envisions this program to be the future of how programs will be presented and offered to families throughout the Commonwealth whom are raising kids and adults with disabilities.

The Community Within a Community is often referred to as “A Place Like No Other.” The proposed facility will be on 30+ wooded acres on the Framingham/Sudbury line. It will include individual classrooms for one-on-one learning and activities with spaces that limit external and overwhelming stimuli.

In 2009, Lotte and SMILE Mass co-founder Susan Brown, set out to build an adapted playground in Sudbury after Lotte found that Nicholas could not enter, let alone play on the existing

See full photo

I don't want to get my hopes up.

I'M feeling very anxious to move. I just want the house to sell so we can get that house. I'M ready for a change and a new start. I will miss this house and the city for a little while im sure. Then i get #negative feelings that "What if the house doesn't sell.". Maybe it will just take sometime. Hope it's soon.

I've only had my worker come once so far this Aug for the day programs, if someone comes this friday it will be only 2 days/ Almost doesn't seem worth it my fuending. Maybe once i move and the day programs system will be ran better there. This summer i was suppose to go on theire Torontro day trips. I got left out of them. I never got to plan them. I really wanted to do them. The lady was suppose to talk to my caseworker about getting more "Funding". Not sure if she did or how it's going. Anyways ya/

#TheMighty #MightyTogether #Depression #Anxiety #MentalHealth #LearningDisabilities

19 reactions 2 comments

My Brain + News

Do you watch the TV news or listen to radio news? These days I do not, ever! (If I can help it) If I'm trapped in a waiting room with it I'll probably even try to go elsewhere if I know I have time, or even ask someone if I can have it changed channel or turned off. Doing this is a big change for me.

I was brought up by people who watched and listened to radio and TV news and considered it as a kind of civic duty. Opting out of "the news," on a therapist's sugestion, durring my most recent mental health chrisis, felt like I was doing something rather unpatriotic, maybe even "wrong." I got firmly (but not offensively) negative feedback on having done this from family too.

I do get "real" news still, from mainstream sourses, but mostly over various internet platforms. I don't use much social media either. This is social media technically, but I chucked facebook, instagram and co. in the same great stress cleaning that also booted the news.

So what do I look for? I keep choosing a much lower percentage of politics and legal type stuff in particular. I find I can actually get the same feeling of basic awareness (certainly all I really need to know) about hot button issues, elections, court cases etc. By reading just a few articals, as long as I choose good ones. Usually this just means pick something relavant near the top of what google gives me from the online portal of a random major newspaper.

Algorythems, and sneeky clickbate junk, means the internet has issues too. I try to be careful what I choose, and check who writes it. The big gain here is that my brain plays much nicer with news that includes a wider range of subjects. I like science news in particular... but people doing art, lit, medicine, novel kinds of business, social, comunity inovations and efforts...etc. are all interesting too. Turns out I'm quite a wide ranging geek.

I'm finding I'm interested in a bunch of stuff that certainly is news, and does matter. I'm not missing what's usually on "the news" either. Still, most of this stuff I'm running accross hardly ever got on "the news."

It also turns out my mental illness deffinitely gets better in absense of "the news" too. It's anoying to know that the world can give me significant amounts of stress vaya a familliar voice repeating familliar kinds of facts about something remote but upsetting (Perpetually offended politicians, the war in Ukraine etc.) And this is enough to raise my level of mental discomfort considerably, all by itself. This seems to be exactly what happens though.

This is hardly a new idea but I was still surprised how true it seems to be for me in practice. I suspect the way the TV and radio programs focus on that pretty narrow range of issues pretty repetatively (and most of the chosen issues are very overtly competative and contentious ones at that) really does unhelpful things to my already rather obsessive and easily/overly concerned kind of brain.

#PTSD #PTSDSupportAndRecovery #BorderlinePersonalityDisorderBPD #Addiction #Anxiety #MentalHealth


bullying meaning

Part 1 of 2 Welcome to a comprehensive guide on the topic of bullying – a behavior that affects millions of people worldwide. In this article, we will delve into the intricacies of meaning bullying, shedding light on what it truly is and what it isn’t. Bullying has become a pressing issue in today’s society, with devastating consequences for victims and far-reaching implications for communities.

By understanding the various forms and nuances of bullying, we can better equip ourselves to combat this pervasive problem. Through an exploration of different scenarios and common misconceptions, we will uncover the true nature of bullying and the impact it has on individuals of all ages. Whether you’re a concerned parent, an educator, or simply interested in creating a safer environment, this article will provide valuable insights and practical strategies to address bullying effectively. So, let’s embark on this journey to demystify bullying and work towards a more inclusive and compassionate world.

Understanding the different types of bullying

Bullying can manifest in various forms, and it is crucial to recognize and understand these different types to effectively address the issue. Physical bullying involves physical aggression, such as hitting, kicking, or pushing someone. Verbal bullying, on the other hand, includes name-calling, insults, and hurtful comments intended to demean and belittle the victim. Social bullying involves manipulating social relationships and intentionally excluding or spreading rumors about someone. Lastly, cyberbullying has emerged as a prevalent form of bullying in the digital age, where individuals use technology, such as social media platforms, to harass, intimidate, or humiliate others.

It is important to note that bullying is not limited to just one form. Often, perpetrators employ a combination of tactics to exert power and control over their victims. By understanding the different types of bullying, we can develop strategies to address each specific form and create safer environments for everyone involved.

The impact of bullying on individuals

Bullying can have severe and long-lasting effects on the mental, emotional, and physical well-being of individuals. Victims of bullying often experience heightened levels of anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. They may struggle academically, lose interest in activities they once enjoyed, and have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships. The impact of bullying is not limited to the immediate victims; witnesses and bystanders may also suffer from feelings of guilt, fear, and helplessness.

Furthermore, the effects of bullying can extend well into adulthood. Research has shown that individuals who were bullied during their childhood are more likely to experience mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression, in their adult years. They may also have difficulty trusting others and forming healthy relationships. It is crucial to recognize the long-term consequences of bullying and take proactive steps to address and prevent it.

Myths and misconceptions about bullying

There are several myths and misconceptions surrounding bullying that can hinder our ability to effectively address the issue. One common misconception is that bullying is simply a part of growing up, and victims should toughen up or learn to deal with it. This belief not only trivializes the experiences of victims but also perpetuates the cycle of abuse. Bullying is not a normal part of childhood, and it is our responsibility as a society to create safe and inclusive environments for all individuals.

Another myth is that bullying only occurs among children and teenagers. While bullying is prevalent in schools, it can also occur in workplaces, online communities, and even within families. Bullying is a behavior that transcends age and can affect individuals at any stage of life. By debunking these myths and misconceptions, we can better understand the true nature of bullying and take appropriate action to prevent and address it.

Identifying the signs of bullying

Recognizing the signs of bullying is crucial in addressing the issue effectively. Victims of bullying may exhibit various behavioral, emotional, and physical signs. They may become withdrawn, anxious, or display changes in their academic performance. Physical signs, such as unexplained injuries or frequent illnesses, can also indicate that someone is being bullied.

It is important to note that not all victims of bullying display obvious signs, and some may go to great lengths to hide their experiences. Therefore, it is essential to create a safe and supportive environment where individuals feel comfortable speaking up about their experiences. By being vigilant and observant, we can ident

1 comment

bullying meaning

Part 2 of 2 ify the signs of bullying and offer the necessary support and intervention.The role of bystanders in bullying situations

Bystanders play a crucial role in bullying situations. They have the power to either reinforce or disrupt the cycle of abuse. Many individuals who witness bullying may feel unsure of how to intervene or may fear becoming targets themselves. However, by empowering bystanders and providing them with the knowledge and tools to intervene safely, we can create a collective effort to combat bullying.

Bystanders can intervene directly by speaking up against the bullying behavior, offering support to the victim, or seeking help from a trusted adult. They can also intervene indirectly by reporting the incident to a teacher, supervisor, or authority figure. By encouraging bystanders to take action, we can create a culture of accountability and discourage bullying behavior.

Strategies for preventing and addressing bullying

Preventing and addressing bullying requires a multi-faceted approach that involves individuals, families, schools, and communities. Education plays a crucial role in prevention efforts. Schools should implement comprehensive anti-bullying programs that educate students, teachers, and parents about the different forms of bullying, its impact, and strategies for prevention and intervention.

Creating a safe and inclusive environment is also essential in preventing bullying. Schools and workplaces should have clear policies and procedures in place to address bullying incidents promptly and effectively. By fostering a culture of respect, empathy, and kindness, we can create environments where bullying is less likely to occur.

In addition to preventive measures, it is important to provide support and resources for victims of bullying. Counseling services, peer support groups, and helplines can offer a safe space for victims to seek help and guidance. By offering a comprehensive support system, we can empower victims and help them overcome the challenges they face.

The importance of creating a safe and inclusive environment

Creating a safe and inclusive environment is crucial in addressing and preventing bullying. Schools, workplaces, and communities must work together to foster an atmosphere of respect, empathy, and acceptance. It is essential to promote diversity and celebrate individual differences, creating a sense of belonging for all individuals.

Education plays a vital role in creating a safe environment. By incorporating anti-bullying curriculum into schools, we can teach students about the negative impact of bullying and equip them with the skills to intervene and support their peers. Similarly, workplaces can provide training sessions and resources to educate employees about the importance of respectful communication and behavior.

It is also important to remember that creating a safe environment is an ongoing process. Regular assessments, open communication channels, and collaboration among all stakeholders are key to maintaining a safe and inclusive environment where bullying is not tolerated.


Therapist Consultations: How to use the them effectively and find the right match

Do you know what is the greatest predictor of a good outcome in therapy? It’s the relationship a client has with their therapist. Studies have shown that a positive relationship with solid rapport and trust is the greatest predictor of a positive therapeutic outcome. Finding the right therapist for YOU is imperative. Different therapists have different styles and strengths just like different clients have different needs. But how do you find the right therapist for you? Simple – a complimentary consultation.

Therapists in private practice often offer a complimentary consultation, usually around 15 min, where you can talk to the therapist before deciding to move forward and start therapy. Not all therapists offer this, and some will offer something slightly different (such as answering questions via email instead), but for those whose schedule allows them to do so, they often do. Many clients don’t know how to approach these consultations, which could lead them to feeling more confused and unsure if the therapist is the right fit at the end of a consultation. Below I provide 5 tips to approach consultations so you walk away feeling a little more confident in deciding if a potential therapist might be a good fit for you.

1. Ask about credentials/treatment modalities

In order to be a licensed therapist, basic requirements need to be met. For instance, I graduated with a masters degree in clinical psychology from a state (California) accredited masters program. Then I completed the requirements to receive a state license that I have to renew every two years while completing my continuing education requirements. I also have further training though. I’ve been trained in EMDR and am a Beck Certified CBT Clinician. Asking about a therapists credentials gives you more of an idea of what to expect in therapy.

As far as experience, I’ve worked in community mental health and various treatment programs including residential programs, partial hospitalization programs, intensive outpatient programs, as well as private practice. I utilize several treatment modalities including CBT, DBT, mindfulness, person centered, and humanistic based on need and can detail more about therapeutic theory if asked in a consultation. Remember, a consultation is meant to talk in broader terms about expertise, treatment, and the therapist’s approach, and then when you start therapy during the initial sessions it becomes much more tailored.

2. Ask if they treat issues that you would like to work on in therapy

There are so many areas a therapist can specialize in, and making sure the therapist you’re thinking of seeing specializes in what you want to work on can be extremely helpful. And if for any reason the therapist feels like the wrong match because of this, you can always ask if the therapist knows of any other therapists specializing in what you want to work on.

3. Ask about scheduling and fees

It’s required by law that a therapist discloses their fees prior to starting treatment. So if they haven’t already shared that information, a consultation is a good time to ask. Also, as far as scheduling, a lot of therapists have office hours that are outside the 8-5 Monday thru Friday, but not all do, so it’s also a good time to ask about scheduling and office hours. If you find a therapist you feel is a great match but doesn’t have availability when you have availability or isn’t in your price range, that can be incredibly frustrating, so asking these things early can be helpful.

Read the full story:

Therapist Consultations: How to use the them effectively and find the right match

Consultations can be a valuable tool in informing which therapist might be a good fit for you. These 5 tips can give you an idea of a thera

Today, Oh Wow!

I come to visit at my daughter's on Friday late evening and will be leaving Tuesday late evening when my best friend gets off work. They already had plans to go to the Dunes so they had been gone most of the day. I had asked to use their car so I could go to storage and find my certificates of completion from the programs where I had my rehab and intensive therapy. I picked up my son as I know I'd not only need help lifting my boxes and totes, they also have lots of their belongings in storage and was in complete disarray. So while he'd bring me a box or tote, he pulled their things out and got it reorganized. I thank God he was there cause at one point I was looking through a tote and their big oval coffee table fell. Had he not been in there with me and was able to catch it, it would have hit me. I told him thanx and had that landed on me, I would have went into an instant flashback that would have been bad. Someone would have heard me screaming, the police would have showed up, I would have peed myself during the episode and I would have been embarrassed like I am after any flashback. However, thank God that didn't happen.

What did happen is that I found my 4 certificates, a journal page I had written in jail about 2 different flashbacks. My case manager at rehab had read it and told me I was very good at making my words come alive. That even though it wasn't very long she was taken into my story. That's a piece I will be adding into my book. I also came across 5 letters I had written my best friend from jail; took back as I want to add some parts of those into my book.

As I'm going through my belongings, I'm reminiscing about my time at rehab. There were single women, women and children and a few men, but I was a lot of the children's "grandma". I'd babysit at times. Buy the kids snacks when I could, knowing their momma can't. My own grandsons lived a little over a hour away and are older so I really enjoyed playing with them outside. Several of the women sorta adopted me as an adopted mom. I had a good 20+ years on them and would offer advice that they asked for. Often during my 15 months there women would come sit down beside me when I was outside and tell me how much I inspired them. I'm like, "Um thank you. But how am I inspiring you? Everyone here has been through their own kind of hell. Why me"? I was told; with what little of your story that you shared with me, I'm like, damn she went through that and can stay sober, lead a class, and interact with everyone here, deal with such pain that you do on a daily basis, all the while fighting your triggers and flashbacks,I can do this. I respond by saying I'm glad I can offer inspiration, but when I was in jail I made up my mind then that I was done with drugs. So this other stuff can take priority. I may make this look easy, but i have trouble to daily keep a positive attitude. When you put in the hard work, and want something bad enough, you can achieve anything. But no amount of rehab; 1 time or 20, if you are not ready to absolutely 100% give up drugs, it won't work.

Then I came across my clothes and I'm like, oh I need this tank top. 😂. Found pajama bottoms and asked my son if they would like them, men's anyway. Of course he did cause they were, Harry Potter, Minions and Captain America. I picked out 2 tops I thought his GF would like and fit. He's like are you sure mom? I say, son they been in storage for the past 6 months, I don't need them. Oh, found my jewelry. YEAH!! Only took out my absolute faves and told my son to give his girl the rest. This way they can get used instead of just sitting in storage. Hygiene tote, I found some items that I know she could use as well and gave those to him.

Overall, it was quality time spent with my son. Although it aggravated my back and my hands have gotten so much worse, today's activity didn't help. So grateful I'm seeing my doctor tomorrow.
I apologize this was so long. I'm alone way to often so I get long winded sometimes. God Bless you all. #MentalHealth #CPTSD #PTSD #ChronicPain #EhlersDanlosSyndrome , #Trauma #AbuseSurvivors

6 reactions 3 comments

How we are failing rural America

Part 1 of 2 We are failing rural Americans. In 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that one in six, or 14%, youth between the ages of 10 and 19, and 20% of adults had a mental health disorder. Additionally, 12.7% of young adults ages 18-25, 16.6% of youth ages 12-17, and 20% of adults living in rural communities received mental health care for at least one mental health disorder. According to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), there has been an increase in the suicide rate in United States (U.S.) rural communities by over 50% since 1999. The suicide rate in New York State increased by 17% in 2019 and 2020 alone, with rural New York communities reporting a suicide rate of 15.2% versus the 7.5% suicide rate in urban New York communities. Rural youth are more significantly impacted by the increasing suicide rate, with a 74% increase in suicide deaths over the past 12 years and a 54% higher suicide rate than their urban counterparts.

As of March 2023, 160 million Americans lived in areas experiencing a mental health professional shortage, with an estimated 8,000 more professionals needed to address the gap, leading to fewer than half of individuals with mental illness being able to access care promptly. Only 60% of counties in the United States have substance use treatment facilities that accept Medicaid, and counties that are rural, have high minority populations, and/or have high numbers of under-insured or non-insured individuals have four times less likelihood of having a Medicaid accepting facility than an urban area. 61% of counties in the U.S. experiencing a mental health shortage are defined as rural and experience compounding socio and economic factors that impact their ability to access care. A study performed by the NORC at the University of Chicago in 2023 found that higher poverty rates, geographic isolation, transportation limitations, employment-related issues, childcare issues, lack of affordable housing, limited service availability, lack of culturally informed treatment, and lack of knowledge and understanding of mental health issues and services have a significant impact on mental health issues and use of services in rural communities within New York State.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth services were significantly increased to meet the needs of individuals in various health areas, including mental health, spiking to 70% in 2020. As of January 2023, telehealth is used by 20%-25% of individuals for health care, and about 38% of individuals continue to use telehealth for mental health services. In August 2022, a study conducted by the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation for the Office of Health Policy found that around 17% of youth were using telebehavioral health services.

With research indicating that telebehavioral health clients have satisfaction and outcome levels equivalent to in-person services, telehealth service delivery provides the potential to help address the urban-rural access to services gap in several ways. It provides more convenient time options for appointments by reducing the drive time, reducing the need to have childcare for other children, reducing the need to take time off work for appointments, and reducing increased stress levels from trying to coordinate the pieces to attend an appointment. Additionally, having more local access through private local community spaces, schools, and at home to engage in telehealth sessions, transportation barriers are reduced for individuals with financial concerns associated with gas and travel, lack of transportation, including lack of car, driver’s license, or limited public transportation, and work schedule concerns. Providers in more densely populated areas with mental health practitioners can be accessed through telehealth, increasing the efficiency of using the currently available mental health workforce.

Telehealth can help reduce costs for institutions that require providers to drive to distant locations and can be used to provide training and resources to help improve the cultural sensitivity training needed to work with individuals living in rural communities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, in addition to the racial and ethnic diversity of the community, rural communities have their own culture developed according to the economic base of the region (farming, forestry, agricultural production, etc.), proximity to urban areas, and the presence of subpopulations such as seniors, veterans, and migrant workers. Research has demonstrated the need for practitioners in these areas to have an increased understanding of the need of farmers, ranchers, veterans, tribal communities, and other racial and ethnic minorities to meet the needs of rural clients. Telehealth can also reduce provider isolation using programs like Project ECHO, used by

1 reaction
See full photo

Facilities that must be available in a Rehabilitation Center

Clean and Clear Recovery Advantage is one of the best rehabilitation center near me in West Verginia.The drug rehabs near me offers inclusive and specialized management programs for society stressed with alcohol addiction. They offer a supportive and safe atmosphere where personalities can obtain therapy, counseling, and medical assistance to incredulous their addiction. The rehab centers arrange producing a safe and caring atmosphere in the direction of enable the medicinal method and permit people to make positive modifications in their lives. They also offer the best children rehab services to give them healthy and a happy future.