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.

What to do if you find drugs in your child’s room?

What to do if you find drugs in your child’s room?

It’s one of every parent’s nightmares. During a routine cleaning of your child’s room you accidentally come across a benign little baggie. Curiosity gets the best of you, and you open it up only to be shocked to find your teen’s stash of drugs. At first, you think your eyes must be playing a trick on you. After all, your child would never do drugs, especially after so many candid discussions about the pitfalls of addiction and the dangers of drugs. Right!?


The truth is that you are not alone, and you if come across your child’s stash of drugs, you can count yourself as one of the lucky parents. At least you know.

The trick is knowing what to do once you find the drugs. Of course, you are angry, and most parents’ FIRST reaction is to get angry and take away all freedoms that their teen has. While experts agree that consequences are necessary and should be immediate when parents realize their child is experimenting. It is also important for parents to keep the lines of communication necessary so they can ascertain the extent of their teens drug use.

Important questions that you need answered.

Is your teen just experimenting, or are they on the road to addiction?

Where did they obtain the drugs?

How long have they been doing drugs?

Why does your child feel the “need” to do drugs?


So what should you do now?

First, sit down and have an open, clear-headed conversation with your child. This is a time to build trust, to encourage your child to open up to you, to find out what is going on in their head and in their life. If you are too accusatory-your teen will think that you just don’t understand and will clam up – only hindering a positive ending.

The next step, regardless of the admitted level of drug use – is to seek some sort of drug and alcohol counseling from a professional experienced in the field.

Additionally, expose them in some manner – to the life that is ahead of them should they continue to use drugs.

Kids all over the country are becoming addicted to multiple different substances from every kind of background imaginable from the poorest of the poor to the very wealthy.

Don’t ever underestimate the role that peer pressure plays in a child’s drug use and do not give in to the guilt trip, because your child will not be helped by a parent who is feeling guilty and thus too immobilized to do anything.

If you suspect drug abuse is taking place, however, it is your responsibility as a parent to try to get help for your child. Drug abuse ruins lives, tears families apart and sometimes kills. It is nothing to be ignored!!!!!

Juliet Stiebeck is the Program Director of Recovery Services, a State-certified addictions recovery program at MHA Rockland.
Contact her at 845-267-2172, x225.

For information on programs offered at MHA Rockland and throughout the County, call our Client/Family Advocate at 845-267-2172, x296.

Consoling Someone Who has Lost a Loved One to Suicide

How can you console someone who has lost a loved one to suicide?

Many people who have lost a loved one to suicide tell us what they want most is to know that people care about them and are not judging them or the loved one they are grieving. The death of a loved one through any cause is painful, but losing someone we love to suicide adds another layer of pain and emotions to the experience of loss.

In our attempt to help, we can listen to what has helped others in this situation:
• Be there even if you don’t know what to do or say. The comfort of food, flowers, donations to causes, offers to help with final plans, and babysitting, can bring some comfort to those who are grieving
• Mention by name the person who has died and talk about his/her positive qualities and what you loved about him/her. People don’t want their loved one to be forgotten.
• Listen to your friend’s experience and try to understand what he/she is going through. Sometimes we need to stop ourselves from saying what we might think is helpful, but doesn’t really help those in sorrow, such as “You’re so strong”, “time heals all wounds”, “you will love again”. Our best intentions can be offered in words like “We love you and ________ (lost loved one)”, “What can we do to be helpful right now?” and “How are you getting along?”
• Be aware that other relatives and friends such as children and grandparents can often be overlooked.
• Take care of yourself and know your limitations – when a friend is hurting it takes its toll on you, too.
• As time passes, people appreciate those who remember the anniversary date and birthday of their loved one because they don’t want that person to be forgotten and never mentioned.
• Suffering a loss to suicide is a long-term bereavement. Your acceptance of that and not expecting a person to “snap out of it” will be appreciated.
American Foundation of Suicide Prevention Toll-Free: 1-888-333-AFSP (2377)

SOS Support Group for Survivors of Suicide, MHA of RC 845-267-2172
(A professionally facilitated group for those who have lost someone to suicide)

For more referral information, call our Client/Family Advocate – Nicole Sirignano, 845-267-2172, x296.

Author of blog – Marcella Amorese, Director, Children and Family Services, MHA Rockland, 845 267 2172 x324

Parent-Teen Support Group at MHA Rockland

Between trying to meet academic and extracurricular demands, and maintaining an active social life, each day brings many challenges and pressures to a teenager’s life. However, for adolescents with mental illnesses, these challenges are just the beginning of the struggles they face every day. Being a teen is difficult enough, but at MHA Rockland, we know that the combination of mental illness and teenage angst can feel quite overwhelming. As a parent, watching your child struggle is difficult and painful, which can leave you emotionally drained and exhausted.

The staff at MHA Rockland knows how tough these times can be for teenagers suffering from mental illness, as well as their family members, which is why we created the Parent-Teen Support Group. The concept behind the program is to give parents of teens in similar situations the opportunity to sit down and discuss the challenges and concerns they face as caregivers of adolescents with mental illness. Facilitators, all of whom have personal experience raising children with mental illness, lead each session. They step in to provide advice and support when appropriate, but let the parents interact and learn from one another as well.

Meanwhile, as parents sit and talk, their teens do the same. Adolescents also have the opportunity to vent their fears and frustrations, solicit advice, and share triumphs in their group therapy sessions with others their age who face the same difficulties. Both group sessions are low-key and informal, providing safe, supportive, and reassuring environments. Attendees of both sessions can enjoy refreshments and good company; adolescents can look forward to fun-filled activities, such as games, movies, special social events, and much more.

The Parent-Teen Support Group is a great way for parents and teens in Rockland County to work through unique challenges in a safe and supportive environment. We look forward to welcoming you to our circle.