September's Spotlight on Mental Health

September is a busy month for generating awareness on mental health issues. Every year, SAMHSA sponsors it as as a way to increase awareness and understanding of mental health issues and to celebrate those in recovery. This year, the theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Our Families, Our Stories, Our Recovery!” People in recovery are encouraged to and connect with others on SAMHSA’s forum. 

The second week of September is recognized as to help promote resources and awareness around the issues of suicide, the third leading cause of death among young people. On September 10, 2016, we observe World Suicide Prevention Day to connect individuals affected by suicide and to raise awareness on suicidal ideation and the treatment services available.

There are a variety of events and awareness campaigns taking place around the country that you can be a part of. Below are some ideas to get you started:

  • Download and share the infographics we created: Suicide Prevention: Facts and Risks and Suicide Prevention: Facts and Risks for Youth

  • Check out SAMHSA's to find out what's happening in your area for National Recovery Month.

  • Download SAMHSA’s or EachMindMatters for ideas on reaching out to your community and spread awareness around these issues.

  • Download the to view the resources and materials available for suicide prevention.

  • Use one of the Active Minds post suggestions as a guide for starting the conversation within your own community on Facebook or Twitter.

  • Take NAMI’s and share the link with others in your community.

Court-Ordered Care: One Man's Journey from Program Member to Staff Member

Thurman Williams (left) is handed a graduation certificate for completing the Assisted Intervention program from Judge Joe T. Perez (right).

Thurman Williams (left) is handed a graduation certificate for completing the Assisted Intervention program from Judge Joe T. Perez (right).

Graduation is a time for celebration and new beginnings. What better new beginning can come from a graduation than a slate wiped clean, a criminal record expunged? That’s what happened when Judge Joe T. Perez of the Superior Court of Orange County handed a graduation certificate to Thurman Williams. He had just completed one of the first court-ordered Assisted Intervention (AI) programs in California, which operates out of in Santa Ana.

“For me, graduation was emotional because you accomplish something that's very difficult,” said Thurman. “It’s also kind of bittersweet because you are part of a family. You go to the program every day or once a week for twenty-five months, and now I don’t have to. It was kind of strange to just go, ‘I can do whatever I want.’”

The “whatever I want” part was going back to his place of employment— and . Thurman was offered a job at Telecare during Phase III of the AI program after his peer mentoring skills were recognized while going through program. He was asked to give a speech at Telecare’s 50th Anniversary party in Orange County, and was offered a job as a Wellness Center Coordinator shortly after.

“The fact that I worked for Telecare while going through an assisted intervention program—that has never, ever been done before. I didn’t even really think about becoming involved in mental health at that time,” said Thurman, who had a successful baseball career both playing for the San Francisco Giants and then continued as a coach for future major league players. “I knew I was going to always advocate for mental health afterword. I was always going to do something, but I didn’t know it would turn into this.”

Now, Thurman is a PSC I and runs groups for other members in court-ordered treatment.

“It's just basically me, as somebody who's gone through the program, kind of giving advice on how I navigated through it, and how to avoid backtracking,” said Thurman. “I want to do this. I wasn’t sure, but it’s where I need to be. This is how I had to come full circle. This is where I’m supposed to end up, I think.”

Links We Love

News you can use — and a little fun and inspiration — from around the internet and our programs, too.

  • Our celebrated their first completion of the .
  • See how uses arts therapy to help youth through trauma and to develop their resiliency.
  • Thor actor Chris Hemsworth , an organization that aims to fight the sigma surrounding mental health.
  • The Anna Freud National Center for Children and Families this month to help parents understand and manage child and family mental health problems.

Orange County STEPS COEG Success!

ؼ 105-member, Full Service Partnership (FSP), , recently celebrated their first completion of the  program. The group had a total of 51 members who attend one or more of the classes, and 15 graduates!

The graduates were given certificates for completing the program and were treated to a lunch where pizza and cake were served.

To graduate, participants had to have attended all 16 weeks of the COEG program. Each session covers a different topic of discussion: from understanding addiction, to recognizing triggers, to reflecting on one's hopes and goals. The groups are open, so new participants can join a group at any time. The flexible drop-in format, and the resources and tools that are provided at the end of each group, are meant to encourage participants to take ownership over the decisions they make about their health choices.

Congratulations to STEPS' first successful group of participants, and the staff that worked so hard to make it happen!