Friday, August 27, 2010

Name That Blog!

Happy Friday Everyone!

I have a fun Friday challenge for you all. As you see, Mike has a great new blog, but he needs your help. His blog needs a name. We need your fun and creative names for his blog. Check out his video plea below!

The creator of the best name will win a $25 QT gift card.
Check out his blog, and submit your names by posting them to our Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube accounts by September 20th.

You can get more details on the contest at

Check out our Facebook account at
Check out our YouTube account at
Check out our Twitter account at

We can't wait to hear your great ideas! May the best name win!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Life Transitions

Our son is fortunate enouph to have parents who are taking him off to college.  Despite two years of community college, and 21 years of preparation,  our son, like most, need financial and emotional support as they transition from the world of family dependency to fully emancipated adult.   In our culture,  this emancipation occurs at about age 27 or 28.

But for thousands of kids being dropped out of cold welfare custody, or juvenile justice, or simply without stable families, the magic date of 18 is the date of full emancipation.  This policy and practice often leads to teen pregnancy,  homelessness, and incarnation.  This is the first a blog series on this Oklahoma and national tragedy.  Stay tuned in coming days to this blog site.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Oklahoma Recovery Alliance

What is the Oklahoma Recovery Alliance? Maybe not much. But let's hope this incredible group of mental health, substance abuse recovery advocates from across the state can make this alliance into something which involves working together, getting to know and trust each other, and to collaborate on common goals of helping people continue in their recovery from mental illness and substance abuse. The day of this meeting was exciting and optimism filled the air. There was sharing, debating, give and take, and a spirit of joy throughout the day. You could feel it and there was an initial commitment toward continuing work together while we invite others into the effort.

In the past, recovery advocates have allowed work together to be blunted by pettiness and jealousies. Will this effort be different? I think it has a chance, and the Mental Health Association in Tulsa stands ready to participate and to do our part. The people pictured above are one group of very incredible people. It was an honor to be with them on this day. Let's hope and pray for many more like this one.

Bullying leads to suicide of Oklahoma youth

When will we learn? Who is responsible? We all are because we tolerate bullying. Schools say they don't allow bullying and tout their anti-bullying curriculum. Parents insist their own kids are not bullys. Some teachers look the other way. Students look the other way. It goes on every day in schools and no one says anything. The only thing we know for sure about bullying is no parent wants their child to be bullied. It involves verbal, physical, and electronic forms of bullying. If you are different, you are a target. If you speak up, you may become a target so it is just easier to be glad it isn't you.

In Sunday's Tulsa World, page A16, was a story about a 11 year old Perkins, OK, boy named Ty Fields, who died by suicide, reportedly after being bullied. His story has apparently spurred others to action, forming a local chapter of "Stand for the Silent." Apparently, Stand for the Silent has supporters and advocates against bullying around the world. Their website has 2,700 members. Check it out and do anything and everything you can to eradicate the tolerance and evil of bullying.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Housing First...Job Second

The Mental Health Association in Tulsa is totally sold out to the concept of "housing first." First coined by Sam Tsemberis in New York, the strategy of ending homeless in America through the adoption of "housing first" approaches is now accepted as THE best practice in moving people from homelessness into stable living. But what are the factors that keep them housed and stable? What are the factors that help them become interwoven into the fabric of the community? Mental and physical health care? Sobriety? Good nutrition and good dental care? Integrated case management services and support? Spiritual care? Yes, yes, all of the above. Without housing, none of those things will work and money is wasted. We have learned from experience all of the listed items are critical factors in a transition to housing stability. Still, it is remains my contention that the second critical factor after housing first, is job second.
We are made by God to feel and be productive. We need to work and we need to be compensated. We need to be able to go home tired. We need to believe employment opportunities provide hope for the future, for personal sustainability, and a place to belong and to be appreciated. Employment feeds growth in self-esteem. It enhances dignity. Work IS therapy! Our friends at Crossroads and Goodwill clearly have understood this for many years. Above is pictured members of our property maintenance work crews that go out to mow, trim, and care for the appearance of our properties and for the properties of others. Take a close look at their faces. See if you can see satisfaction, sweat, diversity, esprit de corps, and friendship. Believe me, its there and more. Housing first, job second.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Fabulous Graduate Students Complete Internships

Pictured above is Esther Bold, Master's Degree candidate from Southern Nazarene University, and Jeremy Nikel, Master's in Social Work candidate, at the beginning of their last week of their internships. These two have grown so much and all of us at the Mental Health Association in Tulsa are so very proud of them. They have done fabulous work and both will be great additions to the profession. While we have had a significant impact on their development toward becoming helping professionals, they have in turn profoundly impacted us with their enthusiasm to learn and their willingness to wade into the deep waters of difficult situations. Esther and Jeremy have displayed their grit and determination to struggle with distresses and difficulties, and both have strived to grow internally to improve their practice skills. They will be missed, but something tells me they won't be far away. Anyone looking for two great young professionals with great personal/professional qualities and character should take a hard look at these two. It is only a matter of time and they will both be in significant demand for their talent and services. Esther and Jeremy...We will miss you two. God's speed.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Part of the Housing Development Task Force Brain Trust

Pictured is Judy Alexander, chair of the Association's Housing Development Task Force, along with key staff member Greg Shinn, and housing specialist Bill Packard. These three make up a good portion of the brain trust which reviews potential properties for possible purchase. The HDTF is made of up of board members, past and present, community volunteers, our crack attorney Mac Rosser, and other staff who all work together to evaluate all aspects of the possible purchase of a property. This is one tough crowd, but absolutely fun to be around. To set in one of their meetings is like going to real estate school.