How Technology Can Help With Mental Health Recovery

The importance of interpersonal connection in mental health treatment doesn’t need to be argued. We need another person to get support and encouragement for new skills development; we need to feel accepted and loved before we can heal an old trauma; we need someone who would give us a hope in overcoming depression and other mental health issues.

But what if depression, low self-esteem, embarrassment, fear or social anxiety are in the way of connecting to others? In most of these cases, people prefer to isolate without asking for help or they stay away from making progress in their recovery.

Technology has opened a new era in mental health support. There are multiple web-based and phone applications which allow you to not only get information about your diagnosis, symptoms and medication side effects, they help you to monitor and manage your mood, improve your memory, develop critical thinking. They improve your time management and communication skills, they provide opportunities for budgeting money and even allow you to virtually travel to the country of your dream.

Along with the direct benefits of computer and phone-based applications, it was noticed that technology has a lot of indirect positive effects. The latest example is the game “Pokemon Go” which according to self-reports, has an unexpected improvement in depression and anxiety. The game makes people leave their houses and go out, which is not easy for people struggling with depression. Evidence-based practice shows that web-based and computer applications help people to stay focused and engaged which has been a real obstacle in mental health treatment. They increase motivation and stimulate self-directed activities.

Being aware and excited about multiple opportunities that technology offers to the mental health field, we are implementing new approaches and methods in the group treatment modality in our PROS program. Our members work on computer projects creating wellness tools for themselves to manage uncomfortable feelings. Group participants develop daily living skills, while expanding their knowledge about resources available in the community working with web-based applications. We are looking forward to exploring other technologies and applying them in our practice to help people with rebuilding their lives for a more satisfactory and productive future

Tatyana Yelizarova, PhD

Professional Clinician, PROS

MHA’s Client and Family Advocate is here to help you and your family. Here’s how:


What is a Client and Family advocate?


A client and family advocate establishes foundation relationships to better assist clients and families in need of mental health services. The advocate will establish these relationships by listening to the clients’ concerns in order to determine the most appropriate programs for them.
What will the Client and Family Advocate do for me?


The Client and Family Advocate assists in navigating and connecting various mental health services offered in order for the individual to become self-sufficient and improve their quality of life based on their own preferences and personal goals. Functions of the Client and Family Advocate include but are not limited to;


* Connect the client and/or their family to existing community resources.
* Follow up with the client to ensure a positive connection was made.
* Respond to concerns raised by the client regarding the services provided.
* Show respect for the importance of the client and family’s cultural values.


Where can I speak to the Client and Family Advocate?


The Client and Family Advocate office is located at MHA. The Client and Family Advocate is focused on you so we are willing to best accommodate your needs and are flexible to meet at a place of your preference. You are welcome to simply call MHA to speak with a Client and Family Advocate over the phone if this better suits your needs.


Mental Health Association of Rockland County
140 Route 303
Valley Cottage, NY 10989
845-267-2172 x 296



Guest Speaker Dr. Mark Hatton, Psychologist, Will Appear at Parent and Teen Support Group for Mental Health Association on March 9th

On Wednesday, March 9th, 2016 the Mental Health Association of Rockland County, Inc. will continue its Parent Support Group and Teen Support Group for adolescents who have behavioral health challenges and their parents. The MHA is happy to announce that psychologist, Dr. Mark Hatton will be the guest speaker on March 9 at the parent meeting. Meetings are held monthly on Wednesdays as follows: March 9 April 13, May 11 and June 8. The MHA of Rockland is located at 140 Route 303, Valley Cottage, NY. The meetings are free; hours are 6:30 PM- 8:00 PM. Call Madlen Setian (845) 267-2172, ext. 281 to RSVP before attending and to insure that this is an appropriate event for you or your teen.

The groups are held to address the needs of adolescents who face the challenges of achieving mental health wellness, as well as to support parents and caregivers.

The Support Groups are generally held monthly September through June on the second Wednesday of the month unless otherwise announced. The two groups meet concurrently in the same building but adjacent rooms. The Parent Support Group is facilitated by two Parent Partners with long-time experience in this area, while the Teen Support Group is facilitated by two Children’s Case Managers.

“People in crisis come together because of mutual need and because they can often no longer cope alone with their condition. One of the simplest yet profound benefits reported by people attending a self-help group is that of ‘no longer feeling alone’.”
Teens have an opportunity to participate in a monthly event where they can enjoy socializing with other teens.

Parents share personal experiences with other members of the group,
have an opportunity to address concerns, share successes, and gather information through direct and indirect participation. Occasionally, guest speakers may attend the group to present topics of interest.

To download a printable flyer for this event, please click here.

Mental Health Association of Rockland Awarded a $10k Grant from Sterling National Bank for Discovering Tomorrow Program

Wednesday, February 17, 2016


Valley Cottage – The Mental Health Association of Rockland County’s President and CEO,

Stephanie Madison, has received a $10k check from the Sterling National Bank Charitable Foundation to sustain the Discovering Tomorrow program, which serves youth ranging from 5-18 years of age. Discovering Tomorrow is an important component of the work MHA does with youth and the service it offers is recognized by the NYS Office of Mental Health as a critical tool to engage, connect and motivate young people who struggle with emotional disturbances, who are isolated and need help envisioning a hopeful future.

“Sterling National Bank has made it possible for us to continue to engage youth in talking about and realizing their hopes and dreams by connecting them to needed services and creating a team to support that child”.

MHA’s Case Managers in this program serve children who have serious emotional disturbances that impair their ability to function at home and/or school. The program is provided at no charge to the participants, so their inability to pay is never an impediment to receiving help. Discovering Tomorrow Case Managers are often the only consistent support to a child, as their behavioral difficulties typically cause considerable conflict in their relationships. Short-term, the goal is to help children and their families connect to services that will strengthen their participation in school, family relationships and social connections. Once these relationships are strengthened, the long-term goal is to reduce conflict and prevent hospitalization and out-of-home placement.

As per the NYS Coalition for Children’s Mental Health Services, an estimated 20% of youth receiving treatment for emotional or behavioral problems have either contemplated or attempted suicide. In addition, studies have shown that continuing in school through and beyond high school is strongly linked to longer life expectancies and increased lifetime earnings. “MHA serves over 100 youth per year across Rockland County and Sterling National Bank has allowed us to sustain an important program that benefits children and their families in the Rockland Community”.



For more information contact Velvet Reda (845) 267-2172,

MHA is offering a free two-day training on suicide prevention – called ASIST – on June 2 and 3, 2015

For immediate release

Event:   Suicide Prevention Training June 2nd and 3rd

Contact: Sonia Wagner, Mental Health Association of Rockland, 845-267-2172, x323

The Mental Health Association of Rockland is offering a free two-day, highly interactive training on suicide prevention, called ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), to the general community on June 2nd and 3rd from 9am to 5pm (registration at 8:30am), with breakfast and lunch provided.

Through video, lecture, and roleplaying, participants will learn how to engage a person who has suicidal thoughts, help them to develop a safety plan, and connect them to additional supports if necessary.

“It is a kind of CPR class for suicide prevention,” said Sonia Wagner, executive vice president of the Mental Health Association.  “So often people are afraid to ask a loved one about suicidal thinking.   In fact, we find that a person who is thinking about suicide is generally relieved to discuss it and grateful that someone cared enough to ask.”

ASIST training has been delivered to over 500,000 people in more than ten countries.

The ASIST training will be offered at the Mental Health Association in Valley Cottage.  To register, please call the Association at 845-267-2172, x320.