Talbot Hospice Offers Memoir Workshop

Talbot Hospice is offering a six-week memoir workshop – Looking Back with Gentle Eyes – facilitated by Anne McCormick, M.Ed., Tuesday mornings 10:30 a.m. – 12 p.m., March 20 – April 24, 2018. The class is free of charge and open to the public. Class size is limited to ten participants. Advance registration is required and can be made by calling 410-822-6681.

McCormick is the retired Associate Director of the Learning and Counseling Center and adjunct professor of English at American University, Washington, D.C. She is the co-author of two books and numerous journal articles about accommodating college students with disabilities. Since retiring to the Eastern Shore, Anne has co-offered numerous workshops in memoir writing and served on multiple advocacy boards for individuals with disabilities.

Bringing Fun to Mental Health: Eddie Bishop, Hot Tub Limo, and Channel Marker Come Together

While it is sometimes hard to connect fun and good times with the challenges that come with mental illness, or the organizations that support those afflicted with brain disease, it may, in fact, be an essential bridge for better mental health for everyone.

Study after scientific study is showing documentation that the feeling of joy is an essential part of a human’s defense system against numerous conditions that wreak havoc on thinking and behavior.

So it should come as no surprise then to hear that Channel Marker, the region’s primary nonprofit organization providing essential support services to those in our community with severe and persistent mental illness, was using fun as part of their theme for their major fundraising event of the year.

And with that goal in mind, the organization could not find a better person to chair this venture than Easton native Eddie Bishop. A commercial airline pilot by day; devoted fan of local music scene when back home, Ed loved the idea of organizing a party with that theme in mind.

Eddie also knew the perfect band to headline the event. With a early exposure to the Hot Tub Limo band out of Kent Island, he felt there was a perfect match.

The Spy sat down with Eddie and Channel Marker executive director Debbye Jackson for a short chat about this decidedly “fun” event.

This video is approximately minutes in length. For ticket information please go here

 

 

Bayleigh Chase: The Future of Memory Loss on the Delmarva with Dr. Terry Detrich

Showing his strong native roots on the Mid-Shore, the first thing Dr. Terry Detrich notes about the establishment of the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase in Easton was his long-festering grievance that the center’s location had replaced his favorite goose hunting spot. Growing up as a boy in Easton, he and his friends had used the farmland west of Route 50 for that purpose before leaving the Shore to attend college and medical school to become a neurologist.

Dr. Detrich returned to Talbot County after that intensive training to become the Delmarva’s first general neurologist and since the 1960s has been watching his field go from “diagnosis and adios” to stunning new breakthroughs in eldercare treatment for cognition disorders.

And while there have been peaks and valleys in the understanding of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease since the doctor started his practice forty plus years ago, he noted in his recent Spy interview that he has never been more encouraged than over the last two years as he and his colleagues began to see an evolution in how patients are treated with better results and more precise tools for prevention.

That was one of the reasons that led Dr. Detrich to join the staff of the Bratton Clinic this year and the Spy caught up with him on first day on the job late last year to talk about this new phase of Neurocognitive work and his renewed faith that real progress is being made.

This video is approximately two minutes in length. For more information about the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic at Bayleigh Chase please go here

I Didn’t Know about Mental Illness until I Did By Liz Freedlander

For most of my life, like many of my friends and family, I knew hardly anything about mental illness until I started a consulting relationship for a few hours a month with Channel Marker. This piece about my experience has been writing itself in my head for a while.

I have had my heart broken open by the people who Channel Marker serves. I now know about persons diagnosed with severe, persistent mental illness and their families. Please read these words again: SEVERE and PERSISTENT. You can often tell by looking that people living with mental illness do not fit our definition of normal. We want to look away. I don’t look away any more because I now know about mental illness.

The chemistry of the brain of mentally ill persons usually has been changed. In some cases, by exposure to terrible things as a child that have resulted in PTSD. All this time, I thought PTSD was relegated to war experiences. Channel Marker does serve war veterans. (One Vietnam vet still hears the screams of men and the sounds of gun-fire). It also serves children and youth diagnosed with PTSD.

Many of these ill persons suffer from schizophrenia, often occurring out of the blue while in their twenties. They hear voices or have visual hallucinations – often – sometimes constantly.

During a conversation at the Channel Marker Holiday Party, one of these young men and I were having a pleasant conversation when he apologized for wearing his sunglasses. He said, “They help me with the voices.” This was once a young boy, like any young boy, who grew up riding bikes with pals in his neighborhood and enjoying family vacations. Now, he can look a little scary.

For some reason the tattoos, including the one in the middle of his forehead, give him meaning in his difficult life. He is polite and sweet and has a sense of humor. He religiously takes his meds although the side effects make him feel debilitated. They help him cope.

I have met parents. The heartache never goes away. One mother said, “The stigma of mental illness makes me feel as if my son spends each day out in the middle of a field where he is pecked to death.” One father’s sadness was palpable as he explained that his son does not take his meds so his symptoms, out of control, make it very difficult to have a relationship.  Still this father  faithfully makes an effort. You can see the pain in this man’s eyes as he describes the vibrant young man with a blossoming career who was once his son.

Lisa is a grown woman whose children live with other families. She has pretty red hair like I once did. She has PTSD with symptoms of chronic depression and anxiety disorders. She told me her life story. I cried. Her childhood with a cruel, narcissistic mother portended poor choices of men in her life. The ultimate result was fleeing for her own survival from a marriage so abusive that she had to leave her children behind with their father. She mourns the loss of her kids. I leave it to your imagination as to what might be part of her story – when she wears a skirt, she always wears pants under it. Her anxiety causes her to be unable to work in an environment where she might be alone with a man.

But this is not the totality of my experience. I have experienced hope and help delivered in the most compassionate and professional manner by Channel Marker. While mental illness may not be curable; it is treatable. The caring staff see beyond the illness into the hearts and personhood of their clients. They provide emotional support, life-skills, goal setting, job-training and placement, triage for health problems, places to live, a peer group and just plain normal laughter. There are success stories.

Only the brave and the optimistic can do this work every day. I think they are heroes. Marty Cassell, a therapist who has worked at Channel Marker for 25 years and a married father of four boys, is tall and attractive but rarely smiles. I asked him one day if the work is heavy. He said, “I love my work because I can see positive changes in my clients. Do you know that in addition to my day job here at Channel Marker, I work evenings for Mid-shore Council on Family Violence to provide one-to-one counseling for battered women. I also have a support group for men who are batterers.” He answered my question.

There are victories to be celebrated because of Marty and his colleagues at Channel Marker. Lisa who lost her children is strong and clear about her past and her future. Her goal is to have a job in an agricultural setting and be an advocate for sustainable farming. She has poured her maternal love into her cats and has a fiancé. She is a student at Chesapeake College and was recently invited to take an honors course. She, like many others, credit their successes to Channel Marker.

Channel Marker annually serves about 400 individuals almost 50% of whom are ages 21 and younger, in Caroline, Talbot and Dorchester Counties.

Liz Freedlander has been a resident of Talbot County for 41 years. She was executive director of Talbot Hospice from 1990 to 2004 and recently retired as director of development from the Horn Point Laboratory after 10 years. She has been a fundraising consultant to a number of local nonprofits. Liz has been raising money for nonprofits since the age of 9 when she canvassed her neighborhood with a tin can and collected $5.94 for the Baltimore Symphony.

;

Mid-Shore Health: Aspen Institute Cancels Rehab Center Contract

The Star-Democrat reported today that a contract for a rehabilitation facility proposed by Recovery Centers of America at the Aspen Institute’s Wye Mills site has been terminated effective Dec. 21. The house is part of Aspen’s Wye River Conference Center in Queen Anne’s County.

The full story can be read here (Reader charges may apply)

Health: National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week offers Opportunity for Dialogue

About a third of high school seniors across the country report using an illegal drug sometime in the past year, and more than 10 percent report non-medical use of a narcotic painkiller, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Here on the Mid-Shore, more than 7 percent of our high school seniors have tried heroin.

Drugs can put a teenager’s health and life in jeopardy, but many teens are not aware of the risks. Today’s popular culture is filled with inaccurate information about drugs. Without a reliable source of information, teens often turn to the Internet, TV or friends and often get misinformation. And when it comes to drugs and drug use, misinformation can have serious consequences.

We at the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office think it’s time to ‘Shatter the Myths.’ With science-based information on drugs and their impact on the body, teenagers can make well-informed decisions before engaging in risky behavior.

January 22 through 28 marks National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week, which is a time for teens to shatter myths about drugs and drug use. This national observance encourages community-based events between teens and experts to address questions and concerns. As part of the national observance, the Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office is hosting informational tables at Easton and St. Michael’s middle and high schools with games and prizes for students to learn about drug and alcohol facts.

For information, resources, interactive activities and more, visit www.teens.drugabuse.gov. For local prevention resources, contact the Talbot County Health Department, at 410-819-5600.

The Talbot County Health Department Prevention Office helps community groups, agencies and individuals in providing programs and activities to prevent alcohol, tobacco and other drug abuse, and to build a healthier community. Resources include parenting skills, video and resource loan library, awareness campaigns and educational workshops.

 

Integrace Bayleigh Chase Hires Brittni Conn as Director of Admissions

Integrace Bayleigh Chase announced that Brittni Conn has joined the Easton life plan community as director of admissions. In this position, Conn will be responsible for managing and directing the admissions process for guests entering the community’s skilled nursing level of supportive living.

Conn joins Integrace Bayleigh Chase from Chesapeake Woods Center, a Genesis HealthCare facility in Cambridge, where she worked as the director of admissions and marketing. Conn is certified as a Licensed Bachelor Social Worker, and previously provided social work at Bayleigh Chase (then known as William Hill Manor) from 2010 to 2012.

A life-long resident of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Conn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Salisbury University. She currently resides in Cambridge with her husband and two children.

Located on a 35-acre campus in historic Easton, Bayleigh Chase is a not-for-profit life plan community that affords residents a lifestyle of flexibility and choice to live life on their own terms. Bayleigh Chase offers independent living options in its villas, cottages and apartment homes, as well as a continuum of supportive living services, including assisted living, neurocognitive support, outpatient and short-term rehabilitation, skilled nursing and diagnostic and treatment support through the Samuel and Alexia Bratton Neurocognitive Clinic. For more information, please call 410-763-7167 or visit www.bayleighchase.org.

About Integrace

Integrace is a forward-thinking non-profit organization that strives to ignite in all people the passion for meaningful living. Integrace oversees a family of vibrant senior living communities in Maryland, including Bayleigh Chase in Easton, Buckingham’s Choice in Adamstown, and Fairhaven in Sykesville. Integrace is also a nationally-recognized leader in the art of neurocognitive support, with the Sykesville-based Copper Ridge community and Integrace Institute, as well as two neurocognitive clinics in Easton and Sykesville, serving as catalysts to a profound shift in how we perceive, and relate to, those living with Alzheimer’s, dementia and many other forms of cognitive change. Integrace communities provide a continuum of services to support both residents and the greater community, including assisted living, skilled nursing, short-term rehabilitation and more. Each of these innovative programs focuses on person-centered living, honoring the abilities, possibilities and authenticity of each individual. For more information, please visit Integrace.org.

The Face of Suicide in All Seasons with Beth Anne Langrell and Lesa Lee

For the record, there is no such thing as a “Suicide Season.” While it may be tempting to think of these long dark days of winter as a critical time for those contemplating ending their lives, this has shown to be statistically not the case.

In fact, the risk of suicide is a four-season phenomenon which makes it all the more understandable that our Mid-Shore’s suicide crisis and prevention center is called For All Seasons. A mental health agency tasked with being the community’s front line to save those suffering from these impulses, For All Seasons have significantly invested resources and public education programming over the years to provide a safe and caring place for those at risk and their families.

The Spy recently sat down with For All Seasons director Beth Anne Langrell and its clinical director, Lesa Lee, to talk about the ongoing threat of suicide in the region and their views of how best to attack this cry for help from loved ones.

As part of that interview, the Spy wanted to match some of Beth Anne and Lesa’s comments to the real and recent faces of suicide in our country that were found online.  Young and old, male or female, white or black, over one million Americans are trying to end their lives each year. Those images say so much more about these avoidable tragedies.

This video is approximately three minutes in length. For more information about For All Seasons please click here 

Marylanders Deadline to Enroll in ACA Health Coverage Nears

A series of “last chance” events are scheduled for this weekend to help Marylanders enroll in Affordable Care Act health care coverage for 2018 before the Dec 15. deadline.

Free events are planned at 18 locations throughout the state Dec. 8-10. At these events, trained “navigators” will be available to assist people enroll in health coverage.

Despite the growth in ACA health care rates in Maryland in recent years, racial disparities in health coverage remain. The rates of minority groups’ participation still remain below the rates of the general population, according to the the Maryland Health Care for All! Coalition, an advocacy group aiming to educate Marylanders about effective and affordable ways for consumers to access health care.

“It’s a focus for us, the groups that have been underinsured for years. We’re making progress, but there is more to be done,” Andrew Ratner, chief of staff of the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, told the University of Maryland’s Capital News Service.

Minority enrollments are lagging compared to one year ago: African-American numbers are down 2,745, and Hispanic registration is down by 858, according to Betsy Plunkett, deputy director of marketing and web strategies at the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange.

“The NAACP strongly urges Marylanders to go take advantage of these enrollment events this weekend to get health care coverage,” said Gerald Stansbury, president of the Maryland State Conference of NAACP Branches. “We have all fought very hard to enact and protect the ACA and health care coverage so let’s make it work for everyone.”

“The ACA is really important to us,” Stansbury added. “We need to make sure that all the ministers, churches and pastors make this a priority in their congregations….Get out and do what you can do for your family and your friends.”

According to Vincent DeMarco, president of the Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative, the Affordable Care Act has already proved successful in the state with over 400,000 Marylanders enrolled.

Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Mike Busch, D-Anne Arundel, a large supporter of “getting health care right in Maryland” and “protecting against rate-shock” to consumers, according to Busch’s website, spoke in favor of these events at the meeting.

“With the Affordable Care Act, the state of Maryland came down to having less than 6 percent of its population with no insurance. When you have more than 95 percent of people of the population insured it brings down everyone’s premiums,” Busch said.

It’s important for Marylanders to understand that they still have time to enroll, added Busch, and the hope is that 100,000 or more people will sign up.

Along with Busch, Michele Eberle, incoming executive director for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange, spoke in support of the initiative.

For help this weekend and in the enrollment process, Eberle advises consumers to visit MarylandHealthConnection.gov or to download the Maryland Health Connection free mobile app.

“It’s a must that you download this app, the neatest feature is that you can click, get help and find the closest-to-you broker, a navigator, a call center, and there is all sorts of free help to help you and your family find your best plan,” Eberle said.

DeMarco said that Maryland Citizens’ Health Initiative hopes to propose legislation in the upcoming session to continue support for the ACA.

President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress have pushed to repeal and replace the health care law, known as “Obamacare.” One version of a tax bill making its way through Congress would repeal the law’s individual mandate.

“Our message to Washington is simple: The ACA is here to stay in Maryland….For those who are trying to undermine the ACA, despite these threats, enrollment is going up and Maryland is not scared,” DeMarco said.

By Georgia Slater

24-Hour Substance Abuse Textline Launches on the Mid-Shore

The region’s first substance abuse information textline launched today on the Mid-Shore, offering an anonymous way for people to get information about treatment 24-hours a day.

The pilot project is the first of its kind and operates in Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne and Talbot counties. Anyone can text IWIK to 71441 and within minutes will connect with a call center operator. Texters can ask questions and get information anonymously or provide contact information and have a treatment specialist follow-up for further help.

This new platform operates year-round — including nights, weekends and holidays when most substance use disorder services are closed.

Funded through the Mid-Shore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) as part of its media campaign titled, ‘I Wish I Knew’ (IWIK), the textline aims to reduce barriers to treatment and help people understand the treatment process.

“Our team has spent several years researching the opioid crisis here on the Mid-Shore, and we consistently found that people had a hard time getting information on treatment and often didn’t know how to start the process,” said Erin Hill, coordinator for the Mid-Shore OMPP. “We know that the younger demographic prefers texting over phone calls, so we knew this pilot program could really help connect people with life-saving services.”

The Mid-Shore OMPP is a partnership between the health departments of Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne and Talbot. The OMPP team consists of prevention and treatment professionals from each health department, along with a dedicated OMPP coordinator for each county.

The Mid-Shore OMPP also includes a community coalition of more than 100 members including law enforcement, judges, healthcare industry representatives, concerned Mid-Shore residents and more. If you’re interested in joining the coalition, please contact Hill at erin.hill@maryland.gov.

The project is funded through Maryland’s Behavioral Health Administration and SAMHSA.

For more information and for local resources visit www.IWishIKnewMidShore.org.

The Mid-Shore Opioid Misuse Prevention Program (OMPP) is comprised of health departments, organizations and agencies in all five Mid-Shore counties: Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s and Talbot. The program is the first collaboration of its kind and focuses on preventing opioid misuse and abuse. The program is supported by SAMHSA and the Maryland Behavioral Health Administration. I Wish I Knew is the program’s media campaign.