Think about the last time you were ill, perhaps with the flu. What if many of your friends and families began calling after they became aware of your illness with messages like the following:
“How embarrassing for you!”
“You must be very weak!”
“Does your family have a history...?”
Or what if they didn’t call at all?
Of course, these messages or the being cut off are pretty unlikely since the amount of stigma one experiences when physically ill is relatively low. But this is often not the case for mental illness. There are negative messages, implicit or explicit, attached to those experiencing mental illnesses (such as anxiety, depression, or psychosis). One of the goals of San Bernardino County’s Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) is to attack this stigma, particularly among children and youth. Mountain Counseling and Training, Inc. (MCT), in carrying out the DBH-funded Student Assistance Program, is serving children and youth in the Rim of the World Unified School District with the strengths-based message that seeking help should be cause for admiration rather than shame.
As a therapist in private practice and the CEO of MCT, one of the metaphors I often use with my clients is that of the aspiring Olympic champion. Olympic athletes virtually always avail themselves of a coach, believing that this is the surest way to take their performance to their highest level. As a therapist who has served many clients in our mountain communities, many of whom I greatly admire for their resilience, perseverance, and focused behavior, I know the truth of this metaphor—truly my clients have taught me a great deal about overcoming adversity, identifying their strengths, and discovering and empower compelling life missions.
According to a 2018 Psychology Today article, “Approximately one in five adults in the United States, 43.8 million, or 18.5%, experiences a mental illness in a given year and approximately one in five youth aged 13–18 (21.4%) experiences a severe mental health disorder at some point during their lifetime. For children aged 8–15, the estimate is 13%.” (Kristen Fuller, M.D., May, 2018)
MCT Family Specialists and Clinicians are privileged each day to work alongside some of these individuals in our mountain communities to identify and overcome these challenges. We get to work with kiddos whose potential is being threatened by emotional or behavioral disturbances, some of whom would, without treatment, require higher levels of care including residential placement or psychiatric hospitals.
On Saturday, May 4th, Mountain Counseling & Training, Inc. is hosting our first “Wellness Walk in the Woods,” a gentle 2.3-mile walk around Lake Gregory in honor of Mental Health Month. Enjoy the spring weather at a family friendly walk, resource fair, and celebration. With motivational speaker Dr. Debra Warner, the morning will share strategies for anyone dealing with mental illness and its effects on a family. Together, we can break the stigma and take a big step toward finding success – whatever your chosen goals. There’s no better place to share your story and take steps towards well being, both physically and mentally.
Day-of registration starts at 7 AM at the north-shore parking lot (across from Goodwin’s Market), with Opening Ceremony commencing at 8 AM. Our walk around the lake will officially begin at 8:30 AM. On-site parking is $10. Furry friends on leashes are more than welcome to join, and you can expect to see an appearance from our own therapy dog, Luke.
Registration is $25 per team or individual (depending on how you choose to sign up), but the sky’s the limit for each team’s personal fundraising goal! Each team/individual will have the opportunity to set up their own donation page (hosted through MightyCause.com) and share their own story about why supporting mental health efforts is important to them.
Meet Two of the Mountain Counseling Team
Since we’re still awaiting questions from the community (hint, hint), I thought we’d use this month’s column to introduce two of our MCT team—our Program Manager and one of our newest clinicians.
Bethany Evans (Program Manager)
Bethany Evans grew up in Lake Arrowhead and attended Rim of the World Unified School District before studying Linguistics and English Literature at Northwestern University. Now, she relishes the chance to give back to her home community and work with the schools that provided her such excellent support. Bethany believes in the power of random acts of kindness and contributes daily to making the lives of young people in our community better so that the ‘mountain’ thrives. When not trying to organize administrative systems or figure out county regulations, Bethany explores the mountain by hiking with her dog or finding new coffee shops to try out. Bethany was instrumental in writing the proposal that yielded approximately $750,000 in new services for mountain communities’ youth.
Serena Hamilton, Therapist (Associate Marriage and Family Therapist)
Although a newcomer to the mountain, Serena is not new to serving children and their families. With over seven years of experience serving at-risk youth, as coach, mentor or therapist, she is passionately committed to supporting others as they walk through their journey to healing and fulfilling their life missions. She is also continuing her own education as a lifelong learner and hopes to complete a doctorate as well as earing her clinical licensure as a Marriage and Family Therapist. Her clinical approach is client-centered and strengths-based--she believes her best work starts with seeing the client as the expert on their own lives, with the growth plan based on client needs and strengths. Her personal experience as a foster youth drives her to find the most powerful strategies to helping children and families, particularly those who have been affected by involvement with Child and Family Services (CFS). She works each day to find the best strategies for bettering the lives of youth and families in our mountain communities.
Your coaching for the month:
Set up an accountability relationship with one person. The rules:
See you next month! Don’t let your voice go unheard. Don’t let your contribution wait another day. Connect with MCT at AskUs@mountaincounseling.org. If not you then, who? If not now, then when? (Robin Sharma)
Michael Beavers, MCT’s CEO/Founder, will be writing some of the monthly columns but MCT’s team of clinicians, family specialists, and parent partners will also be contributors. MCT is a fast-growing not-for-profit serving our mountain communities with student services (counseling, coaching, classes), addiction recovery, and leadership development. Send your questions for future columns to Askus@MountainCounseling.org.--we We promise to respond to every email. Some answers will appear in this space.
We are excited to announce our new "Community Service Fellowship". This is an amazing opportunity for those yearning for community impact to: gain leadership experience, contribute to developing a growing not-for-profit's impact. From the summary:
The Community Service Fellowship (CSF) is an unpaid six-month training and service experience. This experience at an innovative, rapidly-growing, not-for-profit is focused on carrying out a unique “connecting through strengths” message utilizing both Gallup strengths concepts and leading-edge mental health/leadership practices. In 10+ hours/month, Fellows receive intensive training/coaching in leadership, service, and grant writing/research. Fellows impact their community in ways likely to continue for years to come.
Sound like this may be your opportunity to take your life mission to the next level? Sign up online right now. Or shoot us an email so we can dialogue about next steps: ProgramCoordinator@MountainCounseling.org.
Volunteer, Community Service Fellowship
The PolaRotary plunge was a great success. Check out the video.
Fundraising, Lake Arrowhead Rotary, Luke, Plunge, Polar Plunge,
Last minute opportunity to support Mountain Counseling & Training, Inc.
Bethany Evans, the MCT Program Manager, will be jumping in the lake with Luke the MCT therapy dog Saturday a.m.
Shoot an email to ProgramCoordinator@mountaincounseling.org for instructions as to how to contribute.
Join us Saturday for the fun (at least for Luke!).
Welcome to MCT's Blog
This is the place to find “All Things MCT”, including:
We’ll be tagging each item so you won’t miss what interests you. We’d also love for you to become a member of our community so we can let you know if special events or special blog posts. People with an interest in developing their leadership skill set or taking their careers to the next level will find valuable tools and ideas to “supercharge” their progress.
Our Audience: MCT Friends, Collaborators, and Stakeholders
Initially, this blog will be promoted to those with whom we have a relationship (our MCT "friends" list) but we hope it will become a valued resource to share with others who are interested in the San Bernardino mountain communities, leadership, or counseling/training/coaching.
Want to be a part of the MCT inner circle? Shoot an email to ProgramCoordinator@MountainCounseling.org.
Why would you want to read these posts?
Please leave any thoughts below. We’d love to hear your ideas about how to make our blogging and other social media efforts more relevant to what you care about. Shoot us any questions for our team of experts on leadership, family issues, student concerns, educational challenges. Look for answers to your questions in future posts. We’ve set up a special email (AskUs@MountainCounseling.org) for this purpose.
announcements, classes, groups, leadership, life mission, parenting, ROWSD, Welcome