WestCare Recovery Uplift Support

Mental Health Matters in My Family

Posted on Updated on

 

image1

 

I’ve never known a time when mental illness wasn’t a part of my family’s medical history or among our personal challenges. Three generations of my family have experienced mental health disorders including bipolar disorder, anxiety disorders and clinical depression. My grandmother experienced what we now would recognize as early onset of her bipolar disorder at the same time she gave birth to her first child, my mother, in 1941. She suffered greatly as a result of the denial, aversion and derision she was subjected to by her own siblings and various family members after the onset of what was then called manic depression. My grandmother eventually became a single parent to 5 children after being abandoned by my grandfather. He refused to deal with a wife experiencing mental illness in a very profound way. The stigma surrounding mental illness was more than he was able or willing to live with. My grandmother was hospitalized several times during an era in which psychiatric conditions and care was obviously less advanced than it is today. It troubles me to know that my grandmother, who was among the people in my life that I cherished more than any other, suffered more than was needed as a result of the stigma surrounding her mental illness and particularly as a result of the lack of awareness on the part of those she loved.  The fact that she had to overcome stigma from her own family, people who in every other way I also cherish is difficult to resolve in my heart and in my minds-eye. I witnessed the survivor my grandmother was as she lived a very long life filled with many more challenges. She lived, she loved and she and her children flourished.

green_ribbon

Fortunately, in my lifetime the stigma often attached to mental illness has been greatly reduced. I never felt a stigma resulting from my own depression or anxiety disorders though certainly I can relate to other stigmas. My younger brother experienced extreme psychosis and a hospitalization in 1992 as a result of an early adult onset and diagnosis of bipolar disorder in 1992. He was 23 in the midst of completing his master’s degree. Certainly he faced upset and challenges, but he was fortunate to not have to deal with many barriers resulting from stigma. He had extremely supportive friends and family, received excellent care and he is amazingly resilient. He is successful in his desired profession and relationships. I, too, am successful in managing anxiety and depression and recognize that mental health, like addiction and being overweight are simply a part of the many things in my life that further shape who I am and that require attention and self-care. There is no shame in my game and I don’t let mental health disorders define me.

green_ribbon

Self-awareness and self-care occur when we are able to remove stigma from our lives. Still, words have so much power and a lack of understanding from those around us can have such long-lasting effects.  Internalizing negative messages from others negatively impacts those who may yet flourish and do so more quickly if they were not encountering unnecessary barriers. As someone currently working with mental health consumers and their families, I see others as they experience mental illness. I’m extremely proud to assist them in their stabilization and recovery process and to be afforded that opportunity through an agency that strives to uplift the human spirit in everything they do. As we recognize Mental Health Matters Month, perhaps the greatest thing we can do is to work to reduce stigma and increase awareness of both mental illness and mental health. Are you aware that numerous published studies report that 25% of all U.S. adults have a mental illness and that 50% of us will experience at least one mental illness in our lifetimes? Such numbers require of us that we embrace and support our community, empower by encouraging self-acceptance and greater self-care. We can confront and rebuke stigma. We still have a very long way to go in advancing greater gains in the mental health movement. We can start by taking a simple pledge to reduce stigma in ourselves, our families and within our community.

green_ribbon

– submitted by Mark Leanhart 
2409a891180b9bb4d77398336e9b3761.pngFor over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

Advertisements

Strides to Success: Eduardo R.

Posted on Updated on

Eduardo R.

“Eduardo R. came to WestCare Bakersfield in June of 2015 after serving many years in prison of a life term. He worked very hard while incarcerated to earn his release by the Board of Prison Terms. While in the program, he was a role model, always positive even when he didn’t feel like it and just as he did in prison, he worked hard to meet the program requirements, often going above and beyond by helping younger residents.” –  Melodie Everest, Community Service Specialist, STOP Area 3

How has your life changed from before you entered treatment to after you finished treatment? “My life has changed for the better in many ways. Compared to my past unconcerned, unappreciative and inconsiderate attitude, I now appreciate everything in life and I do not allow my negative feelings to dictate the course of my day. I am no longer their slave. I now smile more, greet and treat people with kindness, consideration, empathy and compassion.”

What advice can you give to anyone in the early stages of their recovery? “In the early stages of recovery, you will encounter many personal obstacles. You will have to do and say things you will have trouble doing or saying. You will also hear things you may find unpleasant, but instead of getting upset, utilize these words to your benefit to learn and grow. Allow God into your life and grow spiritually. An extensive self-analysis is extremely important. I recommend the 12-steps of AA/NA. All 12-steps are important, but for me, Step 4 is of great importance in the search for sobriety, stability, kindness, forgiveness and respect for others, a love for life and love in general.” – Eduardo R.

wc-branding_CA

For over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

Oorah – Raymond Gonzalez, SJVV Outreach Specialist

Posted on Updated on

11156275_401656486685488_8001150322689634319_n

Hi, my name is Raymond Gonzales. I work as an Outreach Specialist with San Joaquin Valley Veterans (SJVV) and have been in this position for over a year and a half. I’ve previously worked with Westcare eight years as an alcohol and drug counselor.

I served in the United States Marines in the 70’s and 80’s, while the Iran hostage Crisis was happening in 1979, and was deployed to Okinawa, and Korea. I am proud to have served my country and would go again if I could.

I am thrilled to be throwing out the first pitch at WestCare Night/San Joaquin Valley Veterans Night! Let us always remember to show appreciation for our military! Happy Fourth of July weekend and Go Grizzlies!

2015 WestCare Night Flyer

The Loop – WestCare California’s Newsletter

Posted on Updated on

facebook_header-art_wcca

WestCare LOOP – 58 September/October

WestCare LOOP – 57 August 2017

WestCare LOOP – 56 July 2017

WestCare LOOP – 55 June 2017

WestCare LOOP – 54 April/May 2017

WestCare LOOP – 53 March 2017

WestCare LOOP – 52 February 2017

WestCare LOOP – 51 January 2017

WestCare LOOP – 50 December 2016

WestCare LOOP – 49 November 2016

WestCare LOOP – 48 October 2016

WestCare LOOP – 47 September 2016

WestCare LOOP – 46 August 2016

WestCare LOOP – 45 July 2016

WestCare LOOP – 44 June 2016

WestCare LOOP – 43 May 2016

WestCare LOOP – 42 April 2016

WestCare LOOP – 41 March 2016

WestCare LOOP – 40 February 2016

WestCare LOOP – 39 January 2016

WestCare LOOP – 38 November – December 2015

WestCare LOOP – 37 October 2015

WestCare LOOP – 36 September 2015

WestCare LOOP – 35 August 2015

WestCare LOOP – 34 July 2015

WestCare LOOP – 33 June 2015

WestCare LOOP – 32 May 2015

WestCare LOOP – 31 April 2015

WestCare LOOP – 30 March 2015

WestCare LOOP – 29 February 2015

WestCare LOOP – 28 January 2015

WestCare LOOP – 27 December 2014

WestCare LOOP – 26 November 2014

WestCare LOOP – 25 October 2014

WestCare LOOP – 24 September 2014

WestCare LOOP – 23 August 2014

WestCare LOOP – 22 July 2014

WestCare LOOP – 21 June 2014

WestCare LOOP – 20 May 2014

WestCare LOOP – 19 April 2014

WestCare LOOP – 18 March 2014

WestCare LOOP – 17 February 2014

WestCare LOOP – 16 January 2014

WestCare LOOP – 15 December 2013

WestCare LOOP – 14 November 2013

WestCare LOOP – 13 October 2013

WestCare LOOP – 12 September 2013

WestCare LOOP – 11 August 2013

WestCare LOOP – 10 July 2013

WestCare LOOP – 9 June 2013

WestCare LOOP – 8 May 2013

WestCare LOOP – 7 April 2013

WestCare LOOP – 6 March 2013

WestCare LOOP – 5 February 2013

WestCare LOOP – 4 January 2013

WestCare LOOP – 3 December 2012

WestCare LOOP – 2 November 2012

WestCare LOOP – 1 October 2012

Strides to Success: Salvador’s story

Posted on Updated on

QUOTE NEW Salvador J

My name is Salvador J. I have been addicted to alcohol and substances for 27 and half years. My abuse of alcohol and substances has caused me to make a multitude of bad choices over this time period. Some of the negative choices are as follows: Involvement in crime from the age of 13 until the age of 40, involvement in a validated street and prison gang, participation in violent crimes inside and outside of prison, transportation of narcotics across the state of California, total non-involvement with family and friends, eleven years of incarceration and [going] in and out of various treatment programs to name a few. I have [been] asked to share with you about the changes I have made and continue to make on a daily basis. Upon entering residential treatment on February 21, 2015, I knew for the first time in my life that no matter what, I would do whatever it took to overcome my many downfalls. The first crucial thing that I did was surrender to the fact that I am an alcoholic/ addict and that I am completely powerless over that. Also, my life will always become unmanageable if I made the choice to use. Next, I developed a relationship with a higher power, which I choose to call God to help restore my insane thinking. I believe that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane and is exactly what I did time and time again.

“I believe that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insane.” – Salvador J.

I accomplished this while at Tri-Counties Treatment in Oroville, CA. I was then blessed with the opportunity to come to Visions of the Cross’s sober living house on March 21st, 2015. In the three months that I have been here [and] with the help of the great staff members here at VOTC, Inc., I believe I have done very well in starting to make positive choices and taking steps in putting my life back together. Please allow me a moment to explain. I’ve completed all of the court appointed community service I was sentenced to and have also worked off two thirds of all fines that I owed to the courts. I’ve set up a monthly payment plan to pay off all remaining fines. I start Shasta College on 6/16/2015 to obtain an Associate of the Arts degree in substance abuse counseling and will then go to a four year college to obtain a Bachelor’s Degree in social work. I attended two very helpful groups weekly here at VOTC, Inc. that truly have helped me in conflict resolution, anger management and learning solutions to dealing with my alcohol and substance issues. I also meet with my case manager, Tami, and go over my treatment plans. She has been very supportive and encouraging to me. I look forward to our weekly sessions. I also have an AA sponsor who I talk to daily and meet with weekly to do step work. I attend 3-5 meetings weekly and am learning so much and really enjoying them. Currently, I am on step 4. I work for people in the community doing handyman work to make the money I need for car insurance, a cell phone bill and gas for my car. I am also a senior resident at Sober Living Housing. To conclude, I am very thankful to have been given the opportunity from WestCare/STOP to be able to come to VOTC, Inc. I would like to thank WestCare/STOP and VOTC, Inc. from the bottom of my heart.

Salvador J

Hope is Always in Your Corner

Posted on

“When the world says, ‘Give up’, Hope whispers, ‘Try it one more time.’” – Anonymous

Always give hope a chance. Just tell yourself you can do it and try again.