Hope for Arkansas children and families facing emotional and behavioral challenges.

Compassionate Care. Passionate Physicians.

September 20, 2017

Methodist Family Health has been serving Arkansas for 118 years. First established in 1899 as an orphanage in Central Arkansas, we have evolved and grown over the years to serve children and families in Arkansas with mental, behavioral and emotional needs. With the help of our compassionate physicians, we are able to provide healthcare in 22 locations throughout the state. Without our committed team, none of our work would be possible! We honored them with a delicious dinner at Samantha’s Tap Room in Little Rock to show our appreciation for their continued support and commitment to our organization. Pick up the recent issue of Inviting Arkansas to see more photos and the feature.  

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Suicide Prevention Awareness: What Everyone Needs To Know

September 10, 2017

Many Arkansans view suicide as something to whisper about behind closed doors, or something to hide altogether. Yet 41,000 individuals die every year by suicide, and it is the 10th leading cause of death among adults in the U.S. and the 2nd leading cause of death among people ages 10-24. And those numbers are increasing at an alarming rate. In 2016, the New York Times reported that suicide in the United States has reached a 30-year high, increasing in every age group except older adults. We need to do more than talk about suicide. We need to face it head on, learn how to recognize the warning signs and get help for ourselves or others. September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to promote suicide education and awareness and initiate conversations about suicide and related topics. Read on for key information on suicide risk, warning signs, prevention and resources. Remember, if you or someone you know is in danger, call 911 immediately. SUICIDE RISK FACTORS Research has found that about 90 percent of individuals who die by suicide experience mental illness. Recognizing and addressing mental illness – which often carries its own social stigma that must be overcome – is of critical importance. Other suicide risk factors include: A family history of suicide Substance abuse; drugs and alcohol can result in mental highs and lows that exacerbate suicidal thoughts Intoxication; more than one in three people who die from suicide are found to be currently under the influence Access to firearms A serious or chronic medical illness Gender; although more women than men attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to die by suicide A history of trauma or abuse Prolonged stress Isolation Age; people under age 24 or above age 65 are at a higher risk for suicide A recent tragedy or loss Agitation and sleep deprivation SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS Although Arkansans considering suicide might take extensive measures to hide it from others, there are some behaviors that should be considered red flags. This list is not exhaustive – any unusual or out-of-character behavior could be a sign that a person needs help. Some warning signs include: Threats or comments about suicide; these can begin as seemingly harmless thoughts like “I wish I wasn’t here” but can become more overt and dangerous Increased alcohol and drug use Aggressive behavior Social withdrawal from friends, family and the community Dramatic mood swings Talking, writing or thinking about death Impulsive or reckless behavior SUICIDE PREVENTION It can be frightening and intimidating when a loved one reveals or shows signs of suicidal thoughts. However, not taking thoughts of suicide seriously can have a devastating outcome. If you think your friend or family member will hurt herself or someone else, call 911 immediately. Other recommendations to prevent self-harm include: Remove means such as guns, knives or stockpiled pills Calmly ask simple and direct questions, such as “Can I help you call your psychiatrist?” rather than, “Would you rather I call your psychiatrist, your therapist or your case manager?” Talk openly and honestly about suicide. Don’t be afraid to ask questions such as “Are you having thoughts of suicide?” or “Do you have a plan for how you would kill yourself?” If there are multiple people, have one person speak at a time Ask what you can do to help Don’t argue, threaten or raise your voice Don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong If your loved one asks for something, provide it as long as the request is safe and reasonable If you are nervous, try not to fidget or pace If your loved one is having hallucinations or delusions, be gentle and sympathetic, but do not get in an argument about whether the delusions or hallucinations are real SUICIDE CRISIS RESOURCES Methodist Family Health is staffed with experienced mental health professionals that can help you address a wide variety of concerns. We have offices and resources throughout the state, all part of a well-established continuum of care. If you have concerns about a loved one, or are experiencing suicidal thoughts yourself, please reach out right away to one of the following: If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately. If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call us any time, day or night, at 501.803.3388. Or, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255). They have trained counselors available 24/7 to speak with either you or your loved one. If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line. Content revised from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Learn more at nami.org

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August Issue Inviting Arkansas

August 17, 2017

From big hats to faux horse races, Southern Silks is one of our favorite and biggest events of the year! What better way to support behavioral and mental health care for Arkansas children and families than with a post-race Kentucky Derby inspired soiree? Last May, we spent the evening celebrating with live and silent auctions, dinner and libations, and more! In case you missed August’s issue of Inviting Arkansas, we’ve included a little Q& A below to give you some insight on the event and our organization. Check it out! Q: What is Methodist Family Health? A: Methodist Family Health is a nonprofit organization started in 1899 that provides support and hope for Arkansas children and families facing emotional and behavioral challenges. With nine clinics all across the state, we are able to help make sure no family or child goes without the care and support they need. Services include the following: Individual, family and group counseling Play therapy Grief and trauma specialists Psychological testing Medical consultation and management Board certified psychiatrists and child psychiatrists Case management Behavior management planning and techniques Parent support and education School-based counseling services in select cities Q: What is Southern Silks? A: Southern Silks is one of our largest fundraisers of the year and allows us to raise money in order to provide our patients with the best care possible. It’s a night of faux horse races, dinner and libations, live and silent auctions, a hat contest and much more. Our theme for Southern Silks is Kentucky Derby-inspired and happens the same weekend as the Kentucky Derby as a post-race soiree. Q: How can I learn more about or support Methodist Family Health? A: From volunteering to donating, we have a variety of ways you can help be a part of our mission! Check out our website and social media pages for more information and to stay up to date on events and opportunities! Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/methodistfamilyhealth/ Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/methodistfamilyhealth/ Twitter – https://twitter.com/MethodistFamily

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Ease Back Into Back-To-School Mode

August 10, 2017

For many parents, summer is the time to relax the rules and put bedtimes on hold. But then August rolls around, and parents start to panic. “School is only two weeks away!” There are classes to confirm, backpacks to fill, jeans to buy and lunches to plan, all while preparing our kids mentally and emotionally for a new school year. To help make this a successful transition – meaning less anxiety for kids AND caregivers – here are a few tips to start using now. Don’t worry, you can still enjoy summer to the fullest! These are just simple ways to make the back-to- school changeover easier on everyone. So when those school ads hit, the whole family will be ready. Or at least ready-ish. Make casual conversation. Many kids are in blissful oblivion when it comes to summer. School is in a whole other universe! Instead of letting it take them completely by surprise, start weaving school into the mix. See a fun shirt at the store? Say, “That would be great for school!” Start gathering up potential school supplies around the house. Designate a homework zone at home and let your child decorate. Remember to be positive! Instead of focusing on summer “ending” (summer lasts a long time in Arkansas!), remind kids that you will still be doing fun outdoor things even after school starts. Point out the things your child enjoys about school: cool supplies, seeing friends every day, a new class, great teachers, etc. Adjust their schedule – slowly. Now is the time to gradually start waking kids up earlier. Just 10 minutes earlier every few days will ease the shock of the early mornings to come. That means earlier bedtimes, too. For older kids, tweens and teens, a set “bedtime” is probably long gone. But you can still introduce calm, relaxing evenings to encourage winding down earlier and earlier. Maybe it’s snuggling up with a family movie, or encouraging everyone to read in the evenings. Phones, tablets, computers and TVs can keep kids up late into the night, so now is a good time to discuss (and perhaps easing into) guidelines for late-night tech. Tour the school and new classroom. A great way to help re-familiarize your child to the school environment is by scheduling a time to stop by the school or even the new classroom. This is especially important for children entering kindergarten, kids transitioning to a new building or to a new district. Certainly, in this age of technology, even getting on a school-sponsored Facebook page and arranging a play date for kids of the same grade/class can be a way for kids to make friends and have a familiar face on the first day of class. Plan one-on-one time. Schedules are hectic, and just carting kids from point A to point B can be a challenge. But planning intentional time can go a long way toward easing stress and slowing down – and it doesn’t take long to make the connection! Set aside 15 minutes for each child, every day. Read a book to your younger child. Take a walk or go for a drive. Shoot some hoops. Prep ingredients for dinner. Building in quality time is a great anchor for kids AND parents, and forces us to slow down and focus on the good stuff. Keep it up after school starts for healthier, happier kids all year long. Amanda Owens is a licensed clinical social worker with Methodist Family Health. Methodist Family Health’s emotional and behavioral healthcare services are designed to help children, adolescents and their families. Methodist Family Health offers inpatient psychiatric hospitalization for children ages 3 to 17; outpatient counseling clinics; grief counseling services; psychiatric residential treatment centers and more. For more information, visit MethodistFamily.org.

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Keep Summer Break From Breaking You

July 5, 2017

  For many parents, school can’t wrap up fast enough. The early-morning scramble, the late-night projects, the checking backpacks / homework / due dates / EVERYTHING – it all adds up to overwhelming. But now that we’re well into the break, a whole new dynamic could be making these long summer days seem a little too long. Can you keep sibling squabbles, activities, childcare issues and more from putting a damper on your summer? Yes! Read on for tips on staying sane and making the most of these next few weeks of freedom.   SPEND SPECIAL TIME TOGETHER. Sure, you could knock their socks off with a surprise vacation or elaborate, color-coded schedule of summer activities. But some of your best family memories will be far simpler: making homemade ice cream, having an epic water balloon battle, catching lightning bugs (yes, it’s still magical) or picking out the perfect watermelon from a roadside stand. Meaningful family time doesn’t come with a set price tag, or require hours of research and planning. In fact, you get bonus points for keeping it low-tech! The real beauty of summer, maybe even the whole point of it, is to slow down and just enjoy each other. Live in the moment. Appreciate where you are – and who you’re with.   LET KIDS ENTERTAIN THEMSELVES. As students become more and more involved in extracurricular activities throughout the school year, family schedules are getting packed tighter than ever before. Add to that the lightning-fast rise of gaming consoles, streaming content and phones for everyone, and we’ve got a whole generation who seems to struggle with downtime. What’s a parent to do? Nothing. Literally. When your kids are bored, you might suggest a few activities: reading, crafting, playing with pets, building a fort, etc. Then move on. Letting kids bust boredom on their own does more than relieve the entertainment burden on parents. Research suggests that occasional boredom encourages daydreaming, which can boost creativity. Win-win!   SET ASIDE TIME FOR YOURSELF. Summer is more than a break for the kids. It’s a break for YOU. Yes, work still goes on. No, the chores will not do themselves (actually, the kids can be doing more of that!). But parents and caregivers should enjoy some summer fun of their own. Give yourself permission to go see that blockbuster movie. Grab that book you’ve been meaning to start and head outside to read in the shade. Meet a friend for lunch and order dessert in the middle of the day. YOUR summer matters, too. Because few people work harder – and deserve more of a break – than the ones raising kids. And take it from us: YOU’RE DOING A GREAT JOB.

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Upcoming Events

September 26, 2017 - 6:00PM
Kaleidoscope Grief Center Group Meetings
October 10, 2017 - 6:00PM
Kaleidoscope Grief Center
October 24, 2017 - 6:00PM
Kaleidoscope Grief Center Group Meetings
November 14, 2017 - 6:00PM
Kaleidoscope Grief Center Group Meetings
November 28, 2017 - 6:00PM
Kaleidoscope Grief Center Group Meetings