Teamwork: Learning with Lemons and Zucchini

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The recipe for Lemon Zucchini Bread

It was a steamy morning with thunderstorms looming, but the kitchen in the activity room at Swope Health Services was full of warmth and anticipation.

Today, instead of working in the SHS garden, a group of participants in the adult Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP) were following the directions of Lenise James, Community Support Specialist.

On this day, the participants in the Power, Hope and Recovery Program (PHRP) would put their skills to use in trying out a recipe for Zucchini Lemon Bread.

The ingredients were laid out on the table, along with bowls and utensils like a lemon zester, a juicer, measuring spoons and cups, whisks, spoons and spatulas.

There was a flurry of activity as each of the five participants tried out a new tool for the first time – a Salad Shooter. Lenise demonstrated its use first, explaining how it works and how the resulting shredded zucchini will provide moisture in the cake.

Each one took a turn using the shooter, feeding a chunk of zucchini and watching it transform into shreds. Each one showed the next how to use it, adding tips to help. It was a simple thing, each helping the other, all learning together.

The lessons were practical and immediately put to use, but they also resonate as lessons everyone can use throughout the day – be kind, help each other.

“I love cooking, I absolutely love this,” said Brenda, one of the participants. “It’s so much fun.” Antwan suggested they make pesto next week, to use up the last of the basil planted out in their gardens. Others recalled a delicious cornbread from a previous cooking day.

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The Salad Shooter produces shredded zucchini.

Step by step, Lenise and the team put together the ingredients, first the wet ingredients, then the dry, then the two mixed together. Brenda adeptly juiced the lemons, while Rosie took control of the zesting duties.

“This is really good for taking out your frustrations,” Rosie said at one point, surveying the mound of lemon zest that had accumulated after she muscled through the lemon skin all the way to the fruit.

When she was advised to use a lighter touch, she replied, “I can’t help it if I’m strong.” But she tried again, and this time did it more slowly and gently.  The results were perfect.

As the aroma of the lemon zest wafted through the kitchen, Lenise demonstrated how to properly measure the dry ingredients using measuring cups and spoons.

Deborah carefully measured her dry ingredients — flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda – checking to make sure she added the right amount each time. Orlando did the same with his batch.

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Brenda has some fun working the Salad Shooter.

After Deborah’s batter was completely mixed and scooped into the loaf pan, she moved to start the dishwashing. “I like to do the dishes,” she said, “it’s better to clean up as you go.”

The program teaches practical skills, like measuring and following instructions in a recipe, but it also emphasizes life skills – listening, sharing, patience, kindness.  Working together, there is an accomplishment at the end of the session: a jar of pickles, a loaf of bread, a meal.

Once again this year, the adult CPRP program is offering participants “Eat Well on $4/Day, Good and Cheap,” by Leanne Brown, an acclaimed book that focuses on removing barriers from good nutrition. The book offers recipes and techniques to help make tasty food on a strict budget, aligned with the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

The adult CPRP program, directed by Sonia Bolden-Oakley, supervisor, also runs the SHS gardening program, which produces cucumbers, pepper, potatoes, zucchini, herbs and more. This year, the garden added a peach tree, which Richard, a long-time participant, named Tummy. Why? “Because those peaches will be in everyone’s tummy,” he joked.

And as for the Lemon Zucchini Bread?



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Assembly of the wet ingredients.



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Measuring out the dry ingredients.


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Putting together the wet and dry ingredients to make a stiff batter.


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The finished batter, in loaf pans, ready for baking in the oven.


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Clean-up is part of every exercise. Here, Deborah takes on the dishwashing.


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Pickles, from an earlier cooking class.


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The Zucchini bread, fresh from the oven.

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A close-up of the moist, lemony zucchini bread.

Join us for National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9-15, 2018

suicide warning signsSwope Health Services is joining in the campaign to raise awareness of suicide prevention, in alignment with National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 9-15, 2018.

“Our goal is awareness,” said Nicole James, Crisis Specialist at SHS. “We want to be accessible to everyone.”

SHS activities will extend though National Suicide Prevention Month and include:

  • Promoting awareness through T-shirts and outreach: The Crisis Team will set up tables in the SHS Central lobby on Fridays (Sept. 14, 21 and 28) for outreach with information, stress balls and cards. T-Shirts will be available for sale ($12 for short sleeve, $15 for long sleeve) with all funds supporting the Zero Suicide
  • Encouraging kindness: SHS is using “Care Cards” to provide an extra outreach and show support to anyone facing challenges. The postcards have simple messages, like “I Care About YOU.” SHS providers, case managers and associates are invited to use the cards with their patients and clients. Cards are developed by participants in the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program and will be available through the crisis staff for anyone to use.
  • Advocating for primary care providers’ engagement in identifying behavioral health issues. As part of the Zero Suicide initiative at SHS, providers and clinical staff are encouraged to use a standard Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ) to identify patients in need of support.

A majority of suicides – 83 percent – are completed by people who had seen a primary care provider within a year, Nicole said, citing data from Zero Suicide. The idea is that providers can help reduce suicides by recognizing depression and other warning signs and addressing those issues.

power of connectionThere is no single cause of suicide – it occurs when an individual becomes overwhelmed by stress and experiences feelings of hopelessness and despair. Each year, nearly 45,000 people complete suicide, making it the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S., according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed. That’s why it is so important to be aware of depression and other mental health conditions, and to address them with treatment. Events like these at Swope Health aim to remove the stigma associated with suicide and depression, Nicole said.

“We can all benefit from a little kindness, and from honest conversations about mental health and wellness,” she said. “We can all benefit from connecting with each other. We all have a role in preventing suicides.”

If you are worried about someone, take action:

  • Call the Access Crisis Intervention Mental Health Crisis Hotline: 1-888-279-8188. These confidential calls are routed to Swope Health and provide direct local support.
  • Call the national Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)
  • Send a text to 741 741. You can text the word “home” or ask a question.

“If you have any doubt or any question, just call. Or text. Or come in,” Nicole said. “You can ALWAYS walk in and ask to speak with a crisis specialist. We are here for you.”

More resources and information about Suicide Prevention:

Swope Health Services wins five federal Quality Improvement Awards

NCHWSwope Health Services was honored with five Quality Improvement Awards from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration last week.

The awards cap off the annual celebration of National Community Health Center Week, highlighting the critical role community health centers play in providing high-quality affordable healthcare.

SHS was recognized with Quality Improvement Awards for:

  • Achieving status as a Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH).
    This is a program focused on coordinated organization and delivery of primary care, emphasizing access to quality and safety in comprehensive care services.
  • pcmh-badgeEnhancing Access to Care.
    This award recognizes health centers that increased the total number of patients served and the number of patients receiving comprehensive services between 2016 and 2017.
  • access-enhancer-badgeAchieving Clinical Quality Improvement with an increase in Clinical Quality Measures.
    This recognizes health centers that achieved at least a 10 percent improvement in one or more Clinical Quality Measure between 2016 and 2017. These clinical measures assess the care given to patients and show how the organization performs, leading to improved care.
  • hit-badgeAchieving Clinical Quality Improvement through the use of electronic health records data.
    This award recognizes health centers that use electronic records to report and manage all clinical quality measures for all patients.
  • Advancing Health Information Technology for Quality.
    This award recognizes health centers that used IT systems to increase access to care and advance quality of care.

“Here at Swope Health, we are proud to be a perennial recipient of HRSA quality awards and recognition,” said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., SHS Chief Medical Officer.  “Last year, we worked especially hard to identify areas for improvement and this most recent award validates our efforts and teamwork.”

Dr. Thomas emphasized that the awards are the result of a team effort, across the entire organization, to focus on quality care.

“These awards should show our patients that we value quality and safety,” he said. “We are creating innovations to make their experiences better, safer and of the highest quality.”

Wael Mourad, M.D., Associate Chief Medical Officer, noted the awards show a focus on patient outcomes.

“We look forward to building on this success to propel Swope Health as a quality leader amongst Community Health Centers in not just Missouri, but in the entire Midwest region,” he said.

Swope Health was one of 29 award-winners in the state of Missouri, according to the HRSA Awards report. Along with the recognition, SHS received $137,000 in award funds, which will be used to further develop quality programs, said Dave Barber, President and CEO of Swope Health.

“We are honored to receive these awards,” he said. “This demonstrates that our commitment to quality to every patient is making a difference.”

Life Lessons in the Garden

Collard greens and kale

Collard greens and kale ready for picking, with Garry hard at work in the SHS garden in the background.

The sun was beaming on the Swope Health Services gardens at mid-morning as the gardeners began assembling to plan out the day’s work.

The gardeners are all members of the adult Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP), along with Lenise James, Community Support Specialist.

Today’s tasks involved examining the crops already planted and then preparing two beds: one for sweet potatoes and one for zucchini.

Gardening empowers the participants, giving them specific tasks and focus.

Participants follow their interests: Garry takes a shovel and makes short work of preparing the bed for planting; Antwan, who aspires to be a herpetologist, inspects the garden for bugs – he finds earthworms, grubs and a caterpillar and he’s happy there are no signs of Japanese beetles. Stephan relishes the task of harvesting collard greens.

About 15 individuals in the CPRP participate in the gardening activity two or three days a week, weather permitting.

They plan for three seasons, rotating crops in the eight beds, and then they take care of watering, weeding and generally nurturing the plants to harvest.

Sweet potatoes

Abera Kelecho shows Lorena and Stephan how to plant sweet potatoes.

“We have a good time,” Lenise says, with her gardeners nodding in agreement. The gardens are a tangible expression of caring and nurturing, raising up tiny seedlings, and ultimately, cooking and eating the bounty that comes from the plants.

“It’s a little like raising children,” said Clarence, a program participant. “They start out so small and helpless, and then before you know it, they’re teenagers and young adults and ready to go on.”

This year’s garden program included a class on tomatoes, presented by the Kansas City Community Garden, and hands-on experience in planting and tending vegetables and herbs. Lenise notes it also gives some of the members a chance to teach the others. Some have experience and enjoy sharing memories and insights with others.

Abera Kelecho, case manager, joins the group this morning to help with planting sweet potatoes.  There’s plenty of lively chatter as he demonstrates how to separate the tender plants and prepare them for planting.

Lorena and zucchini

Lorena carefully positions the seedling zucchini in the garden.

Novice gardener Lorena listens intently and follows the guidance, earning praise from Abera.

“When I started, I didn’t want to touch the dirt,” she said. “Now I love it.”

The garden gives the group a chance to plan for the future as well as remember the past. Every year, the team dedicates a memorial to honor fellow gardeners who recently passed away.

This year’s memorial will be a large planter, filled with healthy and thriving herbs. The herbs will join the other plants when harvested in creating meals like collards and cornbread.

“They are so delicious,” Clarence said. Soon the team was busy recalling past meals from the garden while making suggestions for the next one.

Six members of the CPRP team, led by Sonya Bolden-Oakley, Supervisor, support the partnership that produces and manages the garden.

Co-leads are Lenise and Mark McIlroy, an experienced gardener and community support specialist.  The program is also supported with a grant from Kansas City Community Gardens.



Additional photos provided by Rosie, a program participant, showing the fruits of the 2017 garden: watermelon, tomatoes ripening on the vine, collard greens and peppers

Swope Health Earns New Certification in Federal Program, Expands Behavioral Health Access and Services

Quietly, after more than a year’s worth of planning, Swope Health Services launched a transformational program to improve access to mental health services.

SHS Behavioral Health is now a designated Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. SHS is one of 15 agencies in Missouri named to participate in a two-year demonstration project, directed by the federal government. There are a total of eight states participating.

The point of the demonstration project? To make it easier for the community to access a broad spectrum of behavioral health services.

“This is all about giving our patients easier access to new services,” said Mark Miller, SHS Vice President of Behavioral Health. “Our goal was to make it seamless, so patients wouldn’t have any disruption in care. Instead, they now see more things they didn’t know they could get from us.”

For example, some of the differences patients can see are:

  • reception area

    As part of the new designation as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, SHS opened a new Behavioral Health Children’s Services Clinic. The center offers new services for children in a newly renovated space.

    The Behavioral Health Children’s Services Clinic at SHS Central, a new space that integrates children’s psychiatric services, therapies and programs, with added security in separation from adult programs. The new space features a bright lobby and reception area, a community conference room, children’s play area plus access to all the children’s services. This new space opened Jan. 16, 2018.

  • A new service focused on Children’s Substance Abuse.
  • The new Opioid Clinic, launched in Fall 2017.
  • A new program focused on Hospital Discharge Coordination. In this program, SHS undertakes outreach to hospitals to coordinate transition of care for SHS patients.
  • Enhanced staffing, with the addition of three new Children’s Therapists, five new Care Coordinators and other positions behind the scenes.

Some of the biggest changes actually are occurring behind the scenes, Miller noted.

For example, one part of the new CCBHC program revises the entire financial model, moving from charging a fee for every service to a single rate that covers all the services a patient chooses.

There is an emphasis on value, making sure clients are receiving as much support as they need.

“This model gives us a little more freedom to support our clients,” Miller said. “We’ve enhanced both the quality of care and the access to care.”

CCBHC infogrph

Credit: Center On Integrated Health Care & Self-Directed Recovery

SHS has been operating under this new model for about six months, and is reviewing data from the program to assess performance.

The Behavioral Health team is using the data to guide changes and where needed, make additions to the programs.

“With the new qualitative data, we’ve had some ‘a-ha’ moments,” Miller said. For example, based on data, the team has reorganized some functions and realigned some services for maximum impact.

“We are becoming more savvy in decision-making and understanding the impact of our decisions through the data,” he said. “The data helps us respond to community needs and guides how we solve problems.”

Since this is a pilot program, SHS is in a position of leadership to influence the ultimate design of the program. It’s expected that this program will be rolled out across the state.

This experience gives SHS the opportunity to influence related and complementary programs, such as those run by Jackson County or Kansas City, while also expanding access to quality Behavioral Health programs.

“We’re ahead of the curve,” Miller said. “We’ve enhanced the access to our care and we’ve enhanced the quality of our care.”

Shiny, Sparkling New Facilities Unveiling at SHS

Open HouseAt long last, the dust is settling at Swope Health Services as three major renovation projects are coming to completion.

  • Behavioral Health Children’s Services

The north side of the second floor of building B at Central Facility is now home to an integrated Children’s Services Center. The new center is securely separated from adult services, and includes room for new services.

The total renovation of the 5,200-square-foot area cost $300,000, and took about four months of intense construction.

The project included creation of a new lobby and reception area, a community conference room, a “grand room” for groups of 30, a children’s playroom, two new treatment rooms, three new provider offices and a much-needed storage room. Additional renovation upgraded the staff breakroom, cubicles and hallways.

The result is bright and lively, full of vibrant colors.

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The new playroom in the Childrens’ Services Center is packed with games and toys in a fun space.

“It’s a friendly and welcoming environment,” said Josette Mitchell, Director of the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program. “That’s by design. If you feel good about where you go, that’s an aid to the healing process.”

The project was designed by Bell/Knott & Associates Architects of Leawood, Kansas, and construction was performed by Purdum Construction of Overland Park, Kansas.

Mark your calendars for the Grand Opening: 8 a.m. Friday, March 30.

  • Pediatrics/OB-GYN Expansion

Debbie Meads, Program Manager, shuffled departments and clinics for about a year to make room for a vastly expanded Pediatrics and OB-GYN service area.

In Pediatrics, there are now 15 treatment rooms, up from 10. The Obstetrics clinic grew from nine rooms to 23, with space to support seven providers.

“The new spaces are designed for improved efficiency and workflow,” Debbie noted, “and include better infection control procedures for testing, easier access to weight stations, and new Neonatal Stress Testing rooms.”

Some of the additions in OB-GYN – like wall-mounted vital signs monitors – speed up examinations, as medical assistants no longer have to wheel in mobile units. Plus, the readings from the monitors now flow directly into the patient’s electronic medical records, reducing potential for errors in transcribing the data.

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The Pediatrics team in one of the new exam rooms.

“It’s faster for the staff and that means faster care for the patients, too,” Debbie said.

Dr. Kenneth Thomas, Chief Medical Officer and Pediatrician, said: “It’s a beautiful place for kids – full of healthy, educational and creative themes to stimulate kids’ minds and creativity and build strong habits.”

But, he added, “The beauty is just a bonus – the most important thing is how we’ve expanded.

We now have the capacity to see more patients and provide a higher level of service. We want to be a place our patients are proud to come to, a place our patients want to be.”

The final phases of construction are wrapping up this month.

This project was supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant number C8DCS29675 Renovation of SHS-Central Pediatrics & OB/GYN Clinics with an award of $1 million with $800,000 financed with nongovernmental sources.

The project encompassed 12,955 square feet, or about 10 percent of the entire Central facility. The design work was completed by Garcia Architecture LLC of Kansas City, and Purdum Construction handled construction.

The Pediatrics and OB-GYN Grand Opening will be at 8 a.m. Friday, May 11.

  • Imani House Renovation
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The new computer lab at Imani House.

SHS’s Imani House is a freestanding facility for substance abuse treatment, just behind SHS Central, at 3950 E. 51st St. The 10,733-square-foot facility was updated from top to bottom in this project, which began in 2016 and cost more than $655,000.

There are two new group rooms, a conference room and a new six-station computer lab. There’s also a workout space, plus all new offices and remodeled group meeting spaces throughout.

“These renovations, along with new programming, have shifted the atmosphere into one clients and associates alike can be proud of,” said Andrea Buford, Director of Clinical Operations, Behavioral Health.

“This aids in our goal to make Imani House the premiere treatment facility of choice in Kansas City.”

The project was designed by Bell/Knott & Associates Architects with construction performed by Purdum Construction.

The finishing touches will await warmer weather – that’s when the new landscaping will be added, just in time for the grand opening.

The Imani House Grand Opening will be 8 a.m. Friday, April 20.

Please add these dates to your calendars and plan to join us to see the changes for yourself.

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The OB-GYN team in their new workroom.


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One of the new conference rooms at Imani House.


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There’s bright and whimsical artwork throughout the new Pediatrics clinic.


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An example of the built-in vital signs monitors in the new Ob/Gyn clinic exam rooms.


Help for Opioid Addiction at SHS

Dr Reddy

Dr. Nallu Reddy is in SHS’s new induction room for medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction.

Swope Health Services is launching a new program to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

The program addresses the increasing need for focused medical assistance in breaking the cycle of addiction to pain relievers, whether prescription or illicit drugs.

“There is an opioid epidemic across the country,” said Mark Miller, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services. Nationally, 90 people die every day from opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And, the American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates that about 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids.

The Kansas City metro area ranks roughly in the middle of the pack in opioid prescriptions and concentration, as measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We recognize this is a crisis and people are dying,” said Dr. Nallu Reddy, SHS Chief of Psychiatry. “Our number one goal is to help people stay alive.”

Supported by state and federal grants, the new SHS program will offer suboxone, a prescription medication (also known as naloxone), which helps patients manage an opioid addiction by blocking the opioid receptors in the body.

Anyone who is struggling with opioid addiction resulting from either prescription pain medications or illegal narcotics like heroin is welcome to contact SHS Behavioral Services at our Central Facility (3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.). Walk-in hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or you can call 816-922-1070 for an appointment. These services may be covered by insurance.

To be admitted to the program, a patient must be healthy enough to take the opioid-blocking medication, willing to adhere to program requirements and committed to the initial two- or three-day induction process. The medication-assisted treatment is complemented by therapy, counseling and transportation services as well.

SHS has three medical doctors certified and licensed to provide the special medication-assisted treatment. Patients are expected to stay in the program for a month and then be assessed for next steps in treatment. Each patient receives an individual treatment plan – some patients may be tapered off the medication and others may need continued access to the medication.

Some background:

  • What are opioids? Broadly, the term covers prescription pain relievers, including the synthetic drug fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
  • How did we get to an opioid crisis? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the problems began in the 1990s with the pharmaceutical companies marketing of prescription opioid pain relievers. Providers began prescribing them more at greater rates until it became clear in opioid overdose deaths that the drugs were highly addictive.
  • How bad is it? It’s the deadliest drug crisis in American history. The New York Times reported: “Overdoses killed more people last year than guns or car accidents, and are doing so at a pace faster than the H.I.V. epidemic at its peak.”
  • How do we address the crisis? Nationally, new programs promote greater access to treatment and recovery, and availability of overdose-reversing drugs. Just this summer, the state of Missouri began the creation of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

If you have questions about the program or opioid addiction, contact SHS Behavioral Services at the SHS Central Facility at 816-923-5800. Walk-in hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

Building Awareness: Zero Suicide Initiative Comes To SHS

ZeroSuicideThe Zero Suicide Initiative is a commitment to suicide prevention in medical and behavioral healthcare systems. It emerged from the 2012 National Strategy for Suicide Prevention Commission and is supported by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSA).

The initiative promotes the belief that suicide deaths for people under care are preventable. The goal of zero suicides among persons receiving care is ambitious, yet it is a goal many health systems aspire to achieve.

Nicole James, Crisis Team Specialist, leads the effort to implement Zero Suicide practices at SHS. The Zero Suicide approach is about improving the care for individuals at risk of suicide in healthcare systems. It represents a commitment to patient safety, and also to the safety of clinical staff, who treat and support suicidal patients.

“It’s about building awareness system-wide,” Nicole said. “It’s going to take some education about how to identify suicidal behaviors and react effectively.”

One key component of the initiative is increasing the engagement of the entire community, especially suicide attempt survivors, family members, policy makers and clinical staff.

The initiative uses a “toolkit” of practices in identification of suicidal behaviors, training effective responses, engaging support, and providing treatment.

Additional Resources:

How Resilient Are You?

ResilientKCYou know how some people seem to be capable of facing whatever life brings? That’s what it means to be resilient.

Not everyone has the same ability to bounce back from adversity or trauma. Science has proven that some adverse childhood experiences can damage self-esteem and willingness to bounce back. And, the more adverse experiences a person has during their childhood,  the more likely their risk for negative health outcomes later in life like diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, drug use, depression, obesity and cancer, to name a few.

But there’s also evidence of good news. We are all capable of learning skills to develop resiliency.

That’s the focus of a new program, Resilient KC, a partnership between Trauma Matters KC and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.  Resilient KC is collecting Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resiliency scores from people in Greater Kansas City, now through the end of June 2017.

If you are 18 years or older, you can help develop the area’s Resilience Score by participating in a survey about adverse childhood experiences (ACE). By collecting ACE data from the Kansas City region, the program will be better able to provide more resources for people who need help.

“As we continue to learn more about adverse childhood experiences, we understand how they truly impact us into adulthood,” said Jasmin Williams, Project Coordinator for Resilient KC. “Resilience skills can help children and adults overcome adversities. Everyone can learn how to develop greater resiliency. ”

Here are three ways you can participate and learn about your own resilience.

1.Take the survey. Your anonymous answers will be combined with others from adults in the KC region, and with results from 14 other cities across the nation. This study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson and Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, will provide data to guide development of new resources and support in the community. You’ll receive a score from the survey and information to understand what the score means.

2.Come to the Resiliency Rally, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 13 at Arrowhead Stadium, to find resiliency resources and learn resiliency skills. This event is organized by Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, along with Sesame Street in Communities, Healthy KC, the Black Community Fund, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation, RideKC, Cornerstones of Care and the Truman Medical Centers.

This family-focused event is free, and includes free food, music and activities. Free transportation is offered from the Don Boscoe Community Center, Greg Klice Community Center and Southeast Community Center, starting at 9:30 a.m. and every half-hour until 1:30 p.m. The last return shuttle from Arrowhead leaves at 2:30 p.m.

The rally features Cookie Monster, from Sesame Street. The first 50 people to attend will get a Sesame Street plush toy and the first 100 will get a free T-shirt.

“We’re expecting a large and diverse community turnout,” Williams said. “We want everyone to get connected to resources and services you can take home and use.”

More than 50 organizations will participate – including the SHS Outreach & Enrollment team. The different organizations offer tools and skills to help parents work with children with experiences involving incarceration, divorce and grief, as well as overall health and wellness.

3. Share your story in the “Our Stories Matter” campaign. You can participate by sharing your personal story on Facebook, Twitter (@ResilientKC) or LinkedIn. Sharing real-life experiences helps raise awareness of the impacts of adversities and trauma on the greater community. It also encourages sharing coping skills and developing ways to build personal resilience.

The SHS Outreach & Enrollment team  will be at the Resiliency Rally, sharing information and giveaways. Come talk with us at the Rally!

#ShareYourTruth: It’s OK to Get Help

Mental Health AwarenessGreen is the color of springtime and hope. That’s why you’ll be seeing it just about everywhere during the week of May 1-5 at Swope Health Services as we celebrate Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

This national recognition is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. The agency’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

“We want to remove the stigma of seeking help,” said Kortney Carr, Director of Children’s Behavioral Health Services. “We want to spread the word about what we can do to help with depression, anxiety, fitting in and being comfortable in your own skin.”

For the third consecutive year, the Children’s Behavioral Health Services team has sponsored a full week of activities to help raise awareness and spread the word, said Ashley Daniels, Community Support Supervisor and part of the committee organizing the week’s events.

“Our lineup is bigger than ever,” said Ashley. “We’re excited to share information and encourage others to help spread the word.”

Indeed, we encourage anyone participating in the week or in the SHS-sponsored activities to use the hashtag #ShareYourTruth on the various social media platforms

Ashley Daniels

Ashley Daniels, Community Support Supervisor, orchestrated the events for Children’s Mental Health Awareness week. Some of the items available include green ribbons, wristbands, pencils and a variety of buttons.

Want to participate? Here’s the lineup of events:

Monday, May 1: Stop by the information tables in the main lobby of Swope Health Central for a chance to meet members of the Children’s Behavioral Health Services staff. You can pick up information on mental health and buy buttons, stickers and green ribbons to commemorate the week. All proceeds will be used to buy supplies for Children’s Behavioral Health activities.

Tuesday, May 2, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Join in a celebration with families of children in SHS programs. You’ll find refreshments and festivities in the activity room in Building C. Participants will get a “passport” to visit a series of tables operated by SHS and community support agencies including the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Solace House Center for Grief and Healing and Aim4Peace, a Kansas City public health program. Participants who get stamps from all the tables are entered into a drawing for prizes.

The evening program includes “Shining Star” Awards and Success Stories, followed by The Battery Tour. This local band is fronted by the artist AY who performs in a personal and expressive style, emphasizing connections with his audience. The band will lead a discussion before performing.

Wednesday, May 3, Noon: Youth Mental Health Awareness Committee Members will create and distribute cards with positive messages and special green stickers to help raise awareness.

Thursday, May 4, is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Join in the Parent Workshop from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with families enrolled in SHS programs. The workshop features activities in parenting, emphasizing self-care and resiliency, how to redirect and reward, and other interpersonal tools and skills. The program includes separate activities for kids. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, May 5: Come celebrate with us at the Kansas City Public Library at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch, 3050 Prospect Ave., and the Southeast Branch, 6242 Swope Parkway. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can meet with SHS staff and learn about our programs as well as examine selected books from the branches to support self-care and awareness of behavioral health for children and adults.

The week’s activities align with national programs focusing on the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental health or substance abuse disorders. Come join us – and plan on wearing green!

Would you like more information on our Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs for children or adults? Please stop by or schedule an appointment at 816-825-6099.