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Lessons in Mental Health Care

Written by: Shauna Brooks, Performance and Evaluation Specialist, National Safe Place Network

About fifteen years ago, my partner Kim and I went to very upstate New York to visit her long-time friend who lived on a lettuce farm with her husband and two daughters, the elder 6 and the younger 3 years-old.  I learned two very important lessons during our stay up North: the power of a wet paper towel and the meaning of care.

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Less Than

Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network

Have you ever felt “less than”? It is difficult to explain the feeling but there are times when you can be in a room by yourself and feel “less than”. Your life isn’t what you wanted. You didn’t meet the expectations of others and worse, you didn’t meet the ones you set for yourself. Sometimes you can be on crowded public transportation, face focused outward because looking at the walls of a tunnel are more comforting than looking into the eyes of fellow passengers. The thoughts are persistent – am I “less than” these other passengers because of how I dress, the way I look, the amount of money I have with me, where I am going? Sometimes you can be in a classroom or office and feel secure in who you are and what you know and still feel “less than” your peers or colleagues. Why do they get the interesting opportunities, or feedback, or acceptance?

“Less than” makes people do strange, hurtful, and, sometimes dangerous things. The bully feels “less than” and so will reach out in anger to ensure some sense of control and superiority. The driver with road rage reaches a boiling point and is committed to saying no –  you are in my way, you are slowing me down, you are not better than me – I am not “less than.” The shooter who enters a building and takes the lives of others may even feel that any life, especially his or her own, is not worth living. They may believe there is no value placed on life because lives lived in fear, anger, poverty, mental health crisis, abuse, substance addiction  -  may be perceived as lives of value “less than” others.

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Making the Best Home for Your Autistic Child

Written by: Paige Johnson, learnfit.org

Every parent wants what’s best for their children. As a parent of an autistic child, you are certainly no different. Having a child with autism presents a set of unique challenges for parents to figure out. Your latest puzzle is your home interior, and now you want to make a few changes to give your child the best home experience they could ever wish for. While no two children on the autism spectrum are alike, there are a few known ways to make your home more autism friendly. Whether you are starting from scratch with a new home or updating your current one, here are three key essentials every parent should know when designing their home.

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Beat the Odds with These Organizational New Year’s Resolutions

Written by: Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing & Events, National Safe Place Network

Are you one of the 41% of individuals who makes one or more New Year’s resolutions? In 2017, the top 5 New Year’s resolutions included:

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A Holiday Memory

Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network

It would be difficult for me to think about or discuss the holidays without remembering my paternal grandparents and the influence they had on my life. As my mother’s parents had passed before I was born, my only experiences with grandparents were from a couple who were courageous, hard working, simple and very different from each other.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: The Gift of Giving... and Receiving

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

Tis the season for giving . . . and receiving. Have you ever thought about why it’s sometimes hard to receive gifts? Most people like to give gifts instead of receive them. There’s something to say about having a giving heart—to be responsible for invoking happiness in another. Happiness is contagious. It feels good to know you helped make someone smile. You experience excitement and glee as you wait for the person to find out what you’ve gotten them. You don’t do it for the “thank you,” you give because you know you’re sharing a positive, uplifting emotion with someone you’re connected to.  What a great feeling, right?

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Being Thankful

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

Each month, we share a little something about your NSPN family as a way to help you get to know us better. Sometimes the posts include fun facts and sometimes the answers are pretty meaningful. This month, we asked the team, “What are you most thankful for?”

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Receiving RHY Funding News: When Hope Turns to Uncertainty

Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network

If you applied for RHY funding this year, the staff of NSPN hope you have received good news. The work you do in your community is important and youth depend on your services. If you were successful, congratulations!

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Children with Cerebral Palsy at Greater Risk of Bullying

Written by Cerebral Palsy Guidance

Youth and family service organizations serve a multitude of young people, including those with disabilities. Children living with any type of disability are more vulnerable to bullying than their peers. With those disabilities that make a child look different, including Cerebral Palsy, the risk of being a victim of bullying is even higher. The Forum for Equality estimates that nearly 15-25% of students in the United States are victims of bullying. While bullying is a big problem for a lot of children, and the consequences can be serious, there are things that can be done to prevent this victimization and to help victims cope.

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Sensitivity to the Season

Written by: Tammy Hopper, Chief Strategic Initiatives Officer, National Safe Place Network

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: A LIttle Pick-Me-Up Please

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network 

 Coffee is the most coveted morning beverage of humanity. Coffee is so popular, people write about how great it is—a lot. The Huffington Post alone has a full web page dedicated to numerous blog posts about coffee, one of which is titled “19 Things You Didn’t Know About Coffee.” The article shares some interesting information. For example, legend says “coffee was discovered by a goat herder,” “a coffee plant can live up to 200 years,” and “coffee beans can vary in color”—not for the strange “cat” reason shared that no one would spend money on. Anyhow, who knew? Someone must really love coffee to dedicate precious time just to write about the goodness these little beans bring to the world. 

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Social Work: Labor of Love

Written by: Shauna Brooks, MSSW; Principal Investigator, National Safe Place Network

This was supposed to be a 4-day weekend for me - Labor Day holiday Monday, and a vacation day Friday to bring home a newly adopted pet and allow some time for her to adjust to her new environment.  This is the first time in almost 18 years my partner and I have added someone to our little family.  We have talked about it and delayed and negotiated our preferences for so long.  Kim wanted someone small, and I really like big dog personalities.  Kim wanted a fur family member to provide me with emotional support.  I also wanted a dog to help me be more active.  After months, even years, we just couldn’t push it back any longer.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: That's What They Said

Written by: Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

“Quotes.” Such a funny little word, yet “quotes” leave such a significant impression on our lives. Communication is a powerful thing when you think about it. Someone can say a simple sentence and it can evoke emotion and even completely change one’s way of thinking. It’s amazing that a few words can make someone smile, laugh, or cry—those words can really make an impact on the way someone is feeling. If you actively use social media sites, you see quotes every day through “memes” that are shared. Think about the emotions you experience while reading them.

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Laughter Isn't Always the Best Medicine

Written by Candace Leilani, Guest Blogger

“A day without laughter is a day wasted.” – Charlie Chaplin

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Self-Care: So Who Takes Care of You?

Written by: Mark W. Wolf, Training Director at National Safe Place Network

This is my first attempt at a blog so bear with me.  I volunteered to do this one because the most significant thing I have learned in my nearly 40 year career in the youth work field is the importance of taking care of yourself.

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Take a Breather

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

Sometimes when one hears the word “relax,” it’s followed up with “Relax? Who has time for that?” “If only.” “It must be nice.” “I can’t turn my mind off long enough to relax.” “If I relax, who’s going to do the work, take care of the kids, and so on . . . ?” But did you know relaxing is actually important for your health? Here are “10 Health Benefits of Relaxation” shared by The Huffington Post:

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School Supply Donation Drives

Written by Autumn Sandlin, NSPN Marketing & Communications Intern

The end of the summer season is quickly approaching. School will be back in session soon enough, and with that comes supplies. School supplies can be an underlying source of anxiety for youth and their families. While supplies are essential to a student’s education, they can be expensive and cause a strain on families and their budgets. You can help the youth in your programs ease this burden by holding back—to--school donation drives. Not only will these drives help support youth you serve, but they’re also a great way for the community to become involved with your program(s).

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Where to Turn if You're at Risk for Suicide and How to Prevent Future Suicidal Thoughts

Written by: Jennifer Scott, SpiritFinder
Note: Ms. Scott offers a forum where those living with anxiety and depression can discuss their experiences.


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hoto Credit: BrookLorin, Pixabay

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My Life as a Gruntled Employee

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

I’m gruntled. I’m so gruntled I sneak around on the weekends, wake up really early, and stay at the “office” really late. I know, I know—you’re probably thinking this sounds like the beginning of a twisted Lifetime movie. I get that these activities can be seen in a negative light, but in this case—I assure you, they’re great!

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Getting to Know Your NSPN Family: Our Independence

Written by Elizabeth Smith Miller, Director of Marketing and Events, National Safe Place Network

There are lots of ways to celebrate Independence Day. There are even few web pages that share fun 4th of July statistics. Here are a few of those stats from statisticbrain.com:

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