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Summer Olympics Goal Completion Contest

23 Mar

In honor of the Summer Olympics our theme for 2012 is “Going for the Goal.”  Every time an individual completes a rehabilitation goal they are awarded a paper “Gold Medal”.  These medals will hang on the wall in the community room for the entire year.  Special privileges, such as being first for lunch and trips, are part of the recognition of their hard work.  Currently we have several goals completed for 2012 and we anticipate many more in the months to come.

The idea of providing public recognition and privledges for goal completion has worked well in the past.  We are hoping to tie into the excitement of the Summer Olympics and also use this as a tool to increase client awareness of new events and help them stay excited about going-on in the world around them.


Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser Breakfast to support S.P.I.N. Inc.

20 Jun

     Please Support S.P.I.N. Inc, Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser Breakfast

S.P.I.N. Inc., commonly known as Support Peer Independence Now, located in Aberdeen, MD is a supportive group of peers that gather together to participate in a variety of activities, support groups with varied topics of interest, and programs that allow for consumers to hold one another accountable and to enrich their lives despite their illness, by providing an open door for recovery to take place and for Independence to become a reality in the lives of those who are active participants.

On Sunday, June 26th, 2011,  S.P.I.N. Inc. will be having a fundraiser from 8am-10am at the Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar at 991 Beards Hill Road, Aberdeen, MD 21001. This event is all you can eat, so please come with an appetite.

For more information, tickets can be purchased at the door or at the S.P.I.N. Inc office located at 19 Franklin Street, Aberdeen, MD 21001 (Across from Aberdeen library)

Contact Number for tickets:

Tickets are: $5.00


Please support such a good cause. It is greatly appreciated! See you there!

Qigong Returns Friday May 6th

28 Apr

We are pleased to announce that the Harford County PRP will be resuming Qigong (Tai Chi) classes this coming Friday May 6th!

Ramon Martinez with Heaven Mountain Gongfu will be returning with some newly developed forms that maintain the power of the art while simplifying the coordinated movements for our population.  He has also put together a DVD of the main forms that we can utilize on off-days with classes as needed.

Ramon is becoming increasingly well-known in the area with ongoing classes at Cecil Community College, Perry Point Veteran’s Center, and the Maryland Fencing Club.

He is also the Baltimore Marital Arts Examiner and his periodic column can be found here.

For those readers wondering what Qigong is and how it is of proven benefit, please reference the several excellent articles and videos available in an old blog post I did on this subject a few years ago.  You can access this information here.

Our past series of articles discussing Qigong in whole or in part are located here.

Is Mental Health Stigma still prevalent? Check out this article!

11 Apr

The results of this study showed that while more people are understanding that there may be neurobiological causes of mental disorders, we’re still a long way off from removing the prejudice and discrimination that accompanies a mental disorder diagnosis: However, the results show that although believing in neurobiological causes for these disorders increased support for professional treatment, it did nothing to alleviate stigma. The results show that, in fact, the effect increased community rejection of the person described in the vignettes.  Pescosolido said the study provides real data for the first time on whether the “landscape” is changing for people with mental illness. The negative results support recent talk by influential institutions, including the Carter Center, about how a new approach is needed for the fight against stigma.

By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 25 Sep 2010
Published on All rights reserved.

When I think about Stigma as it relates to mental illness, I am reminded of Stigma as a general problem and concern for many, in all facets of life. In my opinion, Stigma, as it relates to mental illness is a form of discrimination that is automatically placed on an individual due to their specific mental illness.  There are a variety of misconceptions and prejudgments about those who cope with mental illness on a daily basis. These misconceptions could possibly imply that one who suffers from a mental illness is not capable of  contributing to society as much as someone who doesn’t have a mental illness, when in fact, persons with mental illness can make just as much of a positive impact on society.  With mental illness, it is very easy for society to make judgments, but often times, stigma is prevalent specifically with mental illness due to lack of knowledge and awareness.  The topic itself is often taboo in certain respects and it almost suggests that if you have a mental illness, you are not able to hold a job, raise a child, go to school, etc. This is false.  Many individuals with mental illness are actively involved in treatment and participating in programs and community resources that will aid them in getting the best care possible. Reducing stigma requires more community education and for advocates to willingly challenge unfair treatment and discriminatory stereotypes.

So, in essence, Is Mental Health Stigma still prevalent? Yes! And something should be done! It begins with you!

Some Helpful Resources

Fight Stigma: Become A StigmaBuster!

Mental Health America,


Online Free WRAP Plans!

21 Jan

Maryland residents have access to a free online WRAP plan development system.  This is located on the Network of Care website for Maryland.

Basic information about WRAP (Wellness Recovery Action Plans) can be found here and also through our previous blog articles located here and here.  WRAP plans are a strong organized method by which consumers can create their own living recovery plan for recognizing triggers, daily self-care, and emergency plans for what to do when mental health deteriorates.

Consumers can access it in the following way:

Click on your county on the map

Here are a few direct links for convenience:

On each of these nearly identical county pages in the lower left-hand corner is a “Learn More About WRAP” consumer training link.  This contains a slideshow and a video about WRAP.

In the button bar on the upper right-hand side of the screen is a link entitled “My Folder / WRAP”.  This link will let you create a logon account.  It gets a bit confusing at this point because it talks more about Personal Health Records (PHR) here for awhile.  The state of Maryland is mixing the ideas of storing all your vital health records online where doctors can see them with the idea of having an online WRAP.

Once your account is created, there will be a link to WRAP in the left-hand column when you are logged-in.  You will first have to create a new subfolder for personal information before this WRAP link shows up.  From this point follow the online directions to create a complete online WRAP plan.

I am very happy to see this online tool become available.  It’s a bit confusing the navigate to, but easy to use once you’ve found it.   Various agencies around Maryland periodically offer WRAP trainings, including On Our Own of Maryland and our local Aberdeen SPIN client drop-in center.   You can also obtain a book on the subject from Amazon by clicking here.

— Michael

Staff Training in Online Tools

21 Jan

We recently conducted a two-hour online training for staff in some of the tools available to mental health consumers.  I have previously mentioned Ecouch, MoodGYM, and Optimism Online.  Staff got a refresher course in how to utilize these tools with clients.   We also covered:

Online WRAP – Maryland state residents now have access to a free online version of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan.  Key Point’s company trainer Cyndi Lewis has previously run classes for clients in WRAP plan construction.  The nearby SPIN client drop-in center is currently teaching a several week-long class in this topic too.

BlueBoard – An online discussion group for persons with depression.

Beacon – A database aimed at mental health professionals.  It contains peer-reviewed critiqued website links to all manner of mental health topics.  I will be exploring these suggestions for more online programs to utilize at the PRP as time permits.

BluePages – Psycho-educational materials on depression, short depression quizzes, and expert ratings as to the effectiveness and scientific evidence for dozens of depression treatments.

Psychological Study Program

21 Jan

The Harford County PRP has implemented a program for clients to study recovery-related topics in accordance with their goals.  Clients and PRP staff agree ahead of time on a course of study, such as a workbook on anxiety reduction, a CBT online program for depression, or a self-esteem workbook.  Clients are afforded notebooks and pens, access to our workbook library, access to our computer lab (with paid staff at times), and are excused from one structured class per week.  Rehabilitation counselors meet roughly weekly with each client to observe that materials are being studied and homework completed.

This program meets several goals:

  • Client choice in recovery topics
  • Enhancing sense of self-efficacy
  • More in-depth information
  • Improved custom-tailoring of individual client programs
  • An opportunity for higher-functioning clients to be excused from one class per week that may not suit their needs.

The PRP has been slowly stocking up on workbooks and increasing the array of supported online programs over the past few years.  This program, along with a short daily Goal Time for individual client goal pursuit, allows these materials to be better utilized.  We have a wide variety of expert-recommended materials on depression, anxiety, bipolar, borderline personality, self-esteem, schizophrenia, and much more.

This program is also an opportunity for therapists, in conjunction with their client’s wishes, to set-up a semi-structured course of study that compliments their limited therapy session time.  So a therapist working with a client on depression and grief might focus in session on the unique circumstances of that client’s situation, while over time arranging for CBT psycho-educational modules in depression, bereavement, self-esteem workbooks, and the like.

It is our hope that we can extend our mission through this client empowerment.  The PRP maintains its full usual array of staff-led structured activities for the large percentage of clients not able or desiring to take advantage of this program.