Archive | July, 2009


31 Jul

I caught myself wanting to control the agenda today — and that’s when I realized we are getting it right. 

During morning meeting one of our clients decided to sing happy birthday at the wrong spot in the meeting agenda to another client.  Everyone immediately joined in.  There was nothing awkward about this and it seemed appreciated by all.  It simply flowed.  This is when I realized that we are succeeding in building a community here — not just a treatment program.

Communities have a bit of a shared bond.  People feel comfortable together in communities.  When things happen spontaneously, somehow the many community members are not usually taken by surprise — there’s a shared feeling of right timing.  That is what happened in morning meeting today.  

A bit later in Qigong there was almost a sing-song effect going on as one client would suddenly say (or sing) a bit of something and another and another and another would spontaneously add onto it.  Now this was supposedly a silent meditation/breathing section of the exercises but it didn’t matter.  It flowed.  No one was awkward or missed a beat.  The class fell right back into the task at hand.

I was left affirmed in my realization that the community has gathered strength and is taking on a kind of group bond and shared sense of comfort.  Hopefully we keep it up.

— Michael


Birthday Cake Group

31 Jul

Kitchen manager Kevin pictured along with some clients celebrating a birthday this month.  Rosemary, Darlene, Kevin, and Leona (left to right).   


(Photo quality will improve shortly with a new camera!)

— Michael

WRAPing it Up

20 Jul

steve_1_finalBy Steve Cannon

College, prison, blue collar, white collar, lovers, hermits, poets, accountants, powerful and poor.  One’s social background doesn’t matter in the experience of mental illness. Chaos, anger, betrayal, confusion, frustration, paranoia, depression, emptiness, pain, suffering, silence, neglect, loss, dependency, embarrassment and regret are often words that people use after a hospitalization to describe their new social status — that of a mental health patient.

The very institutions that people receive mental health services from have also become also the biggest stumbling block in their search for a “normal” life.  Even psychiatrists, therapists, and support staff in these institutions that work their best for the people they serve are very aware of limitations and holes that exist in the mental health system.  Medication treatment services can only do so much.  Therapists can only discuss what is brought to the session.  Residential and rehabilitation programs can only offer limited resources and structure.  How does a person with mental illness hold onto hope and advocate for themselves?

Mary Ellen Copeland tells her own story of recovering with mental illness, and describes similar feelings to those stated above. Her story includes a variety of disappointments in her mental health treatment, family, friends, and career. Ultimately, after having a hospitalization and living on $500 dollars a month from the Social Security Administration, she was not satisfied with her quality of life.  Mary began questioning her psychiatrist as to how she could improve her life and learn to live with her illness.  After not getting what she thought to be a satisfactory answer from her psychiatrist she embarked on a quest to find out for herself by asking other consumers of mental health services what they were doing to help themselves.  The response that she got from other consumers of mental health was so overwhelming that she transcribed all the ideas into a book.  Using conferences and speaking engagements she was able to generate resources from book sales and founded the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery.  The basis for the Copeland Institute is hope, personal responsibility, education, self-advocacy, support, establishing good health care, and medication management.  These themes are facilitated through a Wellness Recovery Action Plan or WRAP. Designed as a peer to peer support or initiated with whom ever the consumer chooses, the idea is to incorporate support, understanding, and mental health recovery in whatever way the person with mental illness desires.

For the next month or so, Aberdeen PRP’s Recovery from Mental Illness class will be covering the general philosophy and applications that comprise the WRAP process. Participants in class will be using a series of videos, stories, discussions, and their own insight from personal experience if they chose, to further the class. Cindy Lewis, a WRAP certified facilitator within Key Point, will be joining to help add insight and assist with application of WRAP principles. Later, after the WRAP introductory education sessions are concluded, participants who are interested will have the opportunity to join Cindy to develop a personal WRAP in a class separate from our Recovery from Mental Illness class.

Feedback from class participants has been very positive regarding the WRAP sessions so far. Some participants have shared their enthusiasm in eventually being able to start their own WRAP. As a staff member I am excited for those who are participating in class because of the self-reliance they show during their adversities while holding onto hope.

Outdoors in Heat

17 Jul

I was pleased to see 11 clients show up for Qigong today in 90 degree weather.  Actually — with shade and a breeze it was okay outside.  I was surprised an overwhelming majority of clients voted to keep the class outside instead of opting for air conditioning.   Ramon concentrated on techniques for quieting the mind and body and most everyone was able to maintain attention through the sequences of movements and breathing.

— Michael

Weekly Schedule Updates

17 Jul

Slight changes to the Harford County PRP weekly class schedule starting Monday July 20th:

  • Qigong is moving to Tuesdays and Fridays (it was on Monday)
  • Purpose Driven Life is moving to Mondays (it was on Wednesday)
  • Music is moving to Wednesday (it was on Tuesday)

New weekly schedule available here.

— Michael

Geared Up for the Summer

10 Jul

DSCF2161Joe got in the spirit today and wore his especially appropriate hat for the new summer-time beach and tropical decor.

Thanks to Liz and staff for once again making the PRP a more inviting place to spend the season.

See below for more pictures of the community room all decked out.



Click to enlarge and view in a separate window:

DSCF2156 DSCF2159 DSCF2158 DSCF2165

The Garden Grows

10 Jul

The garden has been growing the past few months!  We now have an assortment of tomatoes, zucchini, and peppers getting ready to be picked.  The potatoes and beans are coming along too.

Erin & Jim took a small group of clients over to the garden this morning to water and weed.  I tagged along.  Pictured below are Jane, Brandy, Erin, Jim, and an assortment of plant pictures.

Click on pictures to see an enlargement.

DSCF2168Brandy DSCF2191Erin DSCF2187.
DSCF2192Jim DSCF2176Jane DSCF2181Our Garden Shed
DSCF2190. DSCF2185. DSCF2184.
DSCF2177First Zucchini! DSCF2166. DSCF2188.
DSCF2174. DSCF2173Zucchini & Blossoms DSCF2172Green Tomatoes!
DSCF2171Beans – Grown From Seed DSCF2167.