Over 40,000 Americans die by suicide every year. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
It is the second leading cause of death for individuals ages 10-24. These numbers are disturbing but there is help out there!
PCMS case managers and care coordinators work with at-risk children and adolescents whose behavior related to their mental illness affects their daily functioning in school and at home. A “team support system” approach is implemented which assists the entire family unit as home situations may be impeding the child or teen’s ability to reach their goals. These types of interventions are key to helping these youths realize their value and that their life matters!
People who are homeless experience greater health risk and die earlier than those who have housing. A report conducted for the National Health Care for the Homeless Council found that people experiencing homelessness are three-to-four times more likely to die prematurely than their housed counterparts. The experience of homelessness causes health problems (frostbite and hypothermia from the cold, communicable diseases from crowded shelter conditions), exacerbates existing illnesses (cuts lead to infection, frostbite result in amputation or even death), and seriously complicates treatment (medications are lost or stolen, lack of transportation to access health providers, lack of health insurance).
PCMS case managers work toward solutions with homeless families in order to help avoid these unfortunate scenarios. Consider partnering with us to provide the support they need!
Susan was released from a local correctional facility after 10 years of incarceration. Due to the lack of emergency shelters for single women in Washington County, she was forced to stay with a man with whom she did not feel safe. Susan had older children and grandchildren in the community that she wanted to connect with. A life of substance abuse created a concern for Susan and a continual fear of relapse. She worked closely with her case manager to connect to a local Alcoholics Anonymous support group where she found comfort. She was homeless for 12 months before being accepted into a supported housing program where she continued to rely on the strong supports she had from PCMS and AA/NA. 18 months passed and Susan continued to remain sober. At 39 years old, Susan reported that this was the longest period in her adult life that she has stayed sober and out of prison. She has her own apartment and is able to see her grandchildren regularly.
Sometimes successes are brief. On Tuesday of this week, the front desk staff stated that there was a gentleman in the reception area who was released that morning from the detention center. He said that he was told to panhandle for money to get a bus ticket back to his home in Rockville. He was reluctant to do this and fearful that it would result in another arrest. He asked for help on the street and was directed to Potomac Case Management. The PCMS case manager was able to contact Gatekeepers Ministry and they agreed to help the man with the cost of the bus ticket home. He met with them at 12pm that same day and then was on his way back to Rockville.
About a month ago, I had a client who was nine months pregnant and literally in labor when I met with her at her home to discuss a shut-off notice for her electricity that she had received in the mail. When I arrived at her home, she showed me the notice and it was for the upcoming Monday. It was Friday. Again, she was in labor. I had a plethora of appointments with other clients that day but understood that this was a truly urgent matter. I managed my time so that I was able to get her to community resources in between appointments while also making multiple phone calls to agencies requesting help. My client was also active in this day of critical thinking and problem solving, as there was a process to go through to request assistance so that she did not have to come home with her newborn baby to a house with no electricity. After a very long day full of TEAM WORK with myself and my client, we were able to keep her electricity in service. She went on to deliver her healthy baby later that weekend. I was proud of her effort during labor and since she has given birth, she has continued to show proactivity towards completing all of her goals with PCMS.
I have been working with a client since I began at PCMS who presented with extreme anxiety. As we got to know one another we built a therapeutic relationship as well as trust and understanding that enabled us to work together effectively. She refused to set up a primary care provider appointment because she admittedly would not go. She felt that going through whatever pain or discomfort she was feeling would be easier to handle than her anxiety about going to the doctor. Finding a primary care provider that made her feel comfortable and was accessible to her was paramount we found one that was in the same building as the PCMS offices, and attending that appointment with her to provide distraction techniques and coordinating with her therapist, she attended her first primary care provider appointment. Last week, she texted me telling me that she was feeling unwell and not only called her doctor and scheduled an appointment, but she attended the appointment independently. This is the reason I love what I do–to see the positive change and growth in everyone with whom I work. Soon, she will not need PCMS, and that will be bittersweet, but I am confident that she will continue to be successful in her recovery.
As a parent I have tried to establish a strong and healthy relationship with my children with a key component being communication. This past week at a family event we jokingly discussed the things that our children will do that many times we will not know about until after the fact. Even though we may think all is good between our children and us it is still very important to be proactive and involved in our kids life. I can recall a number of conversations with parents where a parent felt as though they new what their children were doing until something was found online. A number of weeks ago I attended a workshop on “Cyber Bullying” I found some amazing resources that I wanted to pass on. These resources would be healthy for parents to watch and encourage their children to watch as well. Some of them are very compelling to say the least. For today’s blog I will pass on “6 Degrees of Information” and “Your Photo Fate” . You can find more resources on www.netsmartz.org.
“May you find serenity and tranquility in a world you may not always understand. May the pain you have known and the conflict you have experienced give you the strength to walk through life facing each new situation with courage and optimism. Always know that there are those whose love and understanding will always be there, even when you feel most alone. May you discover enough goodness in others to believe in a world of peace. May a kind word, a reassuring touch, and a warm smile be yours every day of your life, and may you give these gifts as well as receive them. Remember the sunshine when the storm seems unending. Teach love to those who hate, and let that love embrace you as you go out into the world. May the teachings of those you admire become part of you, so that you may call upon them. Remember, those whose lives you have touched and whose have touched yours are always a part of you, even if the encounters were less than you would have wished. It is the content of the encounter that is more important than the form. May you not become too concerned with material matters, but instead place immeasurable value on the goodness in your heart. Find time each day to see beauty and love in the world around you. Realize that each person has limitless abilities, but each of us is different in our own way. What you feel you lack in the present may become one of your strengths in the future. May you see your future as one filled with promise and possibility. Learn to view everything as a worthwhile experience. May you find enough inner strength to determine your own worth by yourself, and not be dependent on another’s judgment of your accomplishments.” –author unknown
I have been working with clients since 1972, sometimes in a hospital setting but usually one on one in the client’s home.
Curiosity-always remain curious for your own growth. Curiosity keeps you interested.
Lessons Learned- some of the best life lessons I have learned have been from clients and I thank them for it. Life is full of seasons so be ready for them.
Accept differences- you can learn about different cultures, religions, holiday celebrations and life styles.
Be caring- Birth and death will affect your clients and you.
Be honest- give honesty and accept honesty both in a respectful manner. Treat people as you expect to be treated.
Maintain a sense of humor
Don’t neglect your personal life.
A superhero can be defined as “a person possessing extraordinary powers.” Who’s to say that all children aren’t extraordinary in their own ways? Every child has a gift or a talent that makes them special. They are blessed with purity and innocence; something most adults wish they could have. Children can be strong, fearless and have no regrets. A child has the ability to persevere through the unthinkable and still change and grow into the responsible person their dreams are made of. Some people wish they were super or had special powers, but there are plenty of true superheroes all around us.
My job allows me the gift to walk in the shoes of my client. I am able to see every picture of a person’s life. I meet with families in their homes. I can connect a Mom with a food pantry or with meal planning to encourage better nutrition in her home. I can teach and encourage effective parenting techniques. I can meet with the child in school to help support staff. I can help someone assess their need for public assistance and then apply. I can accompany someone to a public housing or Social Security interview. This allows for better communication between everyone involved. It truly does take a community and the more we all work together the greater we all will be.
“Our case manager has been such a great help to our family. She is quick to find us resources when needed. Through the school visits that she does, I am able to be in contact with what’s going on in my boys school day. This is a great hurdle to have overcome. When we are having transportation issues, she helps us to get to our appointments. She is an amazing person with a great positive personality that is contagious. Our family loves working with her. We thank Potomac Case Management for offering all of the services that they do. Our family is truly grateful.”