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So far Alliance House Members & Staff has created 7 blog entries.

STANDARD #25

duncBy: Duncan Macdonald

The Clubhouse assist members to reach their vocational and educational goals by helping them take advantage of educational opportunities in the community. When the Clubhouse also provides an in house educational program, it significantly utilizes the teaching and tutoring skills of members.

This standard is very important especially considering that mental illness typically strikes during high school and college years. Members need the opportunity to finish their education and obtain their employment goals. I have been personally fortunate to assist with both as a student and tutoring. As a student I experienced both the highs and the lows of going to college with mental illness and the support I needed from members and staff. I had days where everything was going well and I could give energetic reports. Still other days were met with challenges where absolutely nothing appeared to go right. On those days I would come into Alliance House and there was always a friendly and supportive member or staff willing to sit with me and work through the challenges. The staff would assist me with stress reduction by getting me to assist with projects and Clubhouse work as well as getting me to lighten up by bantering back and forth. This was truly beneficial to me and has given me the empathy to be able to understand others and the challenges they face with their education. I really like to see the Aha moments when a student realizes they are getting a concept.

I highly encourage all members to take the opportunity to work towards finishing their education and also to tutor if they so desire and have the skills necessary.

By | 2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00 November 3rd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Member Stories

rachelle-photo-blogLife After Death — By H. Rachelle Graham

The pain inside me used to eat me from the inside out, as if boiling water scorched my skin to third-degree burns. Breathing was difficult. Eating was impossible.  Sleeping was something I could not do. I was out of my mind and couldn’t even recognize my own parents. I thought they were evil spirits chasing me. My ups and downs resulted in me staying at home all day watching marathons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Dawson Creek and One Tree Hill.   I got lost in a world where everything wasn’t hurting, I also lost track of time and hated my life so badly I tried to kill myself age twenty. At the time, I wasn’t happy I survived the doctor pumping my stomach and recharging my heart. I believed they had wasted their time. Although, as I saw the pain and worry in my parents and sisters eyes a part of me knew they needed me in this world so I had to learn how to survive in it. I started Alliance House in 2011. I recognized the pain disappearing slowly as I was put to work both in a transitional employment and at the clubhouse.  My transitional employment was with Camp Bow Wow, working with dogs. I liked it and enjoyed being able to bring my service dog to play with other small animals like her. The biggest shock came when something else started happening. I thought I was sick. I went to my therapist to see what was wrong with me. When I described my symptoms of calmness, a bubbling inside and the need to sing, write and dance again, I thought I was going through another maniac state, but my therapist asked me other questions. My answers were I was sleeping again, dreaming again and feeling the urge to eat again. Instead of staying in bed all day, I jumped out of bed to go see my new friends at the clubhouse, go to work and finally got my life back. She said I wasn’t experiencing mania, I was feeling happy, something that had become foreign to me over time since being diagnosed at the age of twenty. Hospital stays became non-existent and I haven’t tried to hurt myself since 2011. Since then, I had a successful job for two years as a peer specialist where I could in turn help others deal with their mental illness, published two novels starting in 2012, graduated college with a bachelor’s degree and am currently working on a third novel with a writing coach and a New York City literary agent. If I ever make real money, I would donate to the Alliance House because they are one of the main reasons the days are lighter, that I am writing again and that I not only love myself but have the ability to help and love others.

By | 2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00 October 27th, 2016|Uncategorized|3 Comments

Standard of the Season

By Dunc Macdonald

This season’s standard is number nine: “Clubhouse staff are sufficient to engage the membership, yet few enough to make carrying out their responsibilities impossible without member involvement.”

I feel that this standard is one of those where we need to think about the intent of the standard rather than the word-by-word meaning.  The real intent is to ensure that members feel needed wanted and expected.   I love how that happens for so many members on a day-by-day basis.  For me, it’s doing the paper daily as well as accounting tasks for the Clubhouse.

I know that the standard talks about having the staff engage the members but in truth it should also be the older members and members that are around for meetings to include the new members and the stragglers that miss the meetings.  Whenever possible, I will ask for help with some parts of the paper daily.   I feel that every member can help the Clubhouse in some capacity.

This standard is also about allowing members to find their calling by trying out new projects with colleagues that have experience in that area of the day-by-day operation.  I wouldn’t of been reminded of my interest in accounting without the opportunities of reconciling the Clubhouse checkbook and other accounting projects around Alliance House.

I hope that this article enlightened you about this standard and that you will take this message to heart.

By | 2016-11-03T22:11:30+00:00 September 16th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Cheers and Challenges – Remembering Taddese Wilson

taddese

Taddese, we will miss you.

By Duncan Macdonald & Amber Mackay

For this edition, we’re going to take a break from our standard process and instead we’re going to do a tribute to our good friend and long-time member, Taddese Wilson, who recently passed away.

Some memories from Duncan: “I always thought it was funny how whenever we did a project together, we would have to take turns asking each other “What?”  Taddese was also an excellent challenger to play Poker and Rummikub with.   It was entertaining how he would always put the Rummikub tiles in reverse order  on the table.  Also, Taddese constantly wore his sunglasses even inside.  He, also, loved checking lockers for the CD Unit. “

Some memories from Amber:  “Taddese and I started Alliance House around the same time which was over 10 years ago.  He came to the Clubhouse literally every day unless he was in the hospital.  Taddese liked to use his training as an engineer to help the Clubhouse out.  He was very good at math, so naturally we would encourage him to tutor students and also to work on completing our statistics.  He overcame a lot of physical health problems by determining to change his lifestyle.  When he first started he smoked but he worked hard to overcome that habit and for the last eight or so years of his life he didn’t smoke.  He also told us one day that he was diagnosed with diabetes but he didn’t want to have to take insulin so he chose to implement a regular diet and exercise plan to keep his diabetes in check.  Taddese was a very private person and didn’t share a lot about himself with us but he never had a problem with trying to learn about others and become their friends.  He did a great job of welcoming new members into the Clubhouse and befriending them so they would feel comfortable.  It has been very strange to not see him every day and to be greeted by his beautiful smile.  We will miss him at Alliance House and are lucky to have been able to share a piece of his life with him.”

 

By | 2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00 July 27th, 2016|Front page, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Expressive Lines – Member Haiku

Rain,

Damp confusion,

Dance; get soaked.

Heart torn amidst you.

Tears.

by Nicole

 

Pony,

Cute Girl,

Squeaking out loudly

Feeling out her love

Special

by Betsy

 

Dynamic

Tasty, Fulfilling

Satisfying to Delight

Seeing the life’s future

Hot

by Karl

 

Headache

Day 4

Relentlessly pounding headache

Frustrated, paranoid, exhausted, tired

Stop

by Hayley

 

Salt Lake

Two guns

Aimed at head (mine)

Both scare me dreadfully

Organizations!

by Girard

Amazon and Smith’s Benefits for Alliance House

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Giving More Back to the Community!

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Smith’s is committed to helping their communities grow and prosper. Year after year, local schools, churches and other nonprofit organizations will earn millions of dollars through Smith’s Community Rewards®.

There is no cost to enroll, and enrollment will not affect your fuel points or coupon discounts.

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By | 2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00 June 1st, 2016|Front page, News|1 Comment

Mental Illness Fact vs Myth

Alliance House breaking stigma mental illnessMental Illness affects everyone.

Can you tell the difference between a mental health myth and fact? Learn the truth about the most common mental health myths.

Myth: Mental health problems don’t affect me.

Fact: Mental health problems are actually very common.

  • One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue
  • One in 10 young people experienced a period of major depression
  • One in 20 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. It accounts for the loss of more than 38,000 American lives each year, more than double the number of lives lost to homicide. Learn more about mental health problems.

Myth: Children don’t experience mental health problems.

Fact: Even very young children may show early warning signs of mental health concerns. These mental health problems are often clinically diagnosable, and can be a product of the interaction of biological, psychological, and social factors.

Half of all mental health disorders show first signs before a person turns 14 years old, and three quarters of mental health disorders begin before age 24.

Unfortunately, less than 20% of children and adolescents with diagnosable mental health problems receive the treatment they need. Early mental health support can help a child before problems interfere with other developmental needs.

Myth: People with mental health problems are violent and unpredictable.

Fact: The vast majority of people with mental health problems are no more likely to be violent than anyone else. Most people with mental illness are not violent and only 3%-5% of violent acts can be attributed to individuals living with a serious mental illness. In fact, people with severe mental illnesses are over 10 times more likely to be victims of violent crime than the general population. You probably know someone with a mental health problem and don’t even realize it, because many people with mental health problems are highly active and productive members of our communities.

Myth: People with mental health needs, even those who are managing their mental illness, cannot tolerate the stress of holding down a job.

Fact: People with mental health problems are just as productive as other employees. Employers who hire people with mental health problems report good attendance and punctuality as well as motivation, good work, and job tenure on par with or greater than other employees.

When employees with mental health problems receive effective treatment, it can result in:

  • Lower total medical costs
  • Increased productivity
  • Lower absenteeism
  • Decreased disability costs

Myth: Personality weakness or character flaws cause mental health problems. People with mental health problems can snap out of it if they try hard enough.

Fact: Mental health problems have nothing to do with being lazy or weak and many people need help to get better. Many factors contribute to mental health problems, including:

  • Biological factors, such as genes, physical illness, injury, or brain chemistry
  • Life experiences, such as trauma or a history of abuse
  • Family history of mental health problems

People with mental health problems can get better and many recover completely.

Helping Individuals with Mental Health Problems

Myth: There is no hope for people with mental illness. Once a friend or family member develops mental health problems, he or she will never recover.

Fact: Studies show that people with mental health problems get better and many recover completely. Recovery refers to the process in which people are able to live, work, learn, and participate fully in their communities. There are more treatments, services, and community support systems than ever before, and they work.

Myth: Therapy and self-help are a waste of time. Why bother when you can just take a pill?

Fact: Treatment for mental health problems varies depending on the individual and could include medication, therapy, or both. Many individuals work with a support system during the healing and recovery process.

Myth: I can’t do anything for a person with a mental health problem.

Fact: Friends and loved ones can make a big difference. Only 38% of adults with diagnosable mental health problems and less than 20% of children and adolescents receive needed treatment. Friends and family can be important influences to help someone get the treatment and services they need by:

  • Reaching out and letting them know you are available to help
  • Helping them access mental health services
  • Learning and sharing the facts about mental health, especially if you hear something that isn’t true
  • Treating them with respect, just as you would anyone else
  • Refusing to define them by their diagnosis or using labels such as “crazy”

Myth: Prevention doesn’t work. It is impossible to prevent mental illnesses.

Fact: Prevention of mental, emotional, and behavioral disorders focuses on addressing known risk factors such as exposure to trauma that can affect the chances that children, youth, and young adults will develop mental health problems. Promoting the social-emotional well-being of children and youth leads to:

  • Higher overall productivity
  • Better educational outcomes
  • Lower crime rates
  • Stronger economies
  • Lower health care costs
  • Improved quality of life
  • Increased lifespan
  • Improved family life

Fighting Stigma

SAMHSA has a “4-P’s” approach: Praise, Protest, Personal Contact & Partnership.

Here are some specific do’s and don’t’s:

  • Share your experience with mental disorder. Your story can convey to others that having a mental disorder is nothing to be embarrassed about.
  • Help people with mental disorder reenter society. Support their efforts to obtain housing and jobs.
  • Watch the language you use:
  • don’t use generic labels: “retarded,” “our mentally ill”
  • don’t use psychiatric diagnoses as metaphors: “schizophrenic situation”
  • don’t use offensive words: “psycho,” “loony,” “crazy,” “wacko,” “slow,” “crackpot”
  • don’t refer to a person as a diagnosis: “he’s bipolar,” instead say, “he has bipolar disorder”
  • Document stigma in the media whenever possible
  • The media also offers our best hope for eradicating stigma because of its power to educate and influence public opinion, so remember to thank journalists when they get it right.
  • Send letters, make phone calls, or e-mail the offending parties
  • Ask your local, regional, and national leaders to take a stand
  • Support efforts to actively expose stigma in the media
  • Educate yourself – the elimination of stigma begins with you
  • Volunteer, join an anti-stigma campaign

 

By | 2017-06-05T03:19:31+00:00 April 25th, 2015|Front page|0 Comments