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September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month.

Guests include John Holzscheiter & Andrea Wells, Parents of AJ who died by suicide on November 30, 2018.

From 1999 – 2016 Vermont had the 2nd highest increase of any state for people that died by suicide. During 2016, 118 people died by suicide, which means on average, someone dies by suicide in our state every 3 days. Suicide is also the 2nd leading cause of death for Vermonter’s aged 15 – 34. What are the risk factors, are there programs and services available for individuals that are struggling with suicidal thoughts and, are there trainings that can help with understanding early warning signs?  We’ll address these topics and more today.  Plus, we’ll also discuss, Afterglow, a music festival for suicide awareness and prevention which will be held on September 21st at Hard’ack Hill in St. Albans.

Relationship between chronic absenteeism and health.

Guest: Melissa Gaudio, School-Based Clinician located at MVU  

We’ve always associated student absenteeism with lost opportunities for knowledge relative to academic performance but did you know that it also influences social functioning, mental health and even life expectancy. Today we’ll discuss the many facets of an individual’s life that are impacted by chronic absenteeism.   

Pathways to Human Services Job Shadow Program. 

The initiative provides job shadow experiences to students that highlight the varying Pathways into the Human Services field.  The experience addresses next steps after high-school graduation, which may or may not be higher education.  The goal is to help the students successfully achieve their specific goals.

The purpose of the program is to provide greater awareness of career opportunities in the field of Human Services while positively impacting the state-wide workforce shortage as we engage the younger generation in the work.  In addition, raising awareness of NCSS’ commitment to the economic health of our community.

Integrative Psychiatry for Mood and Anxiety Disorders – part 2

This month we bring you the second portion of a remote broadcast of a Grand Rounds presentation by NCSS Medical Director, Dr. David Mooney on Integrative Psychiatry for Mood and Anxiety Disorders.  There are some individuals that don’t respond well to traditional therapy for depression.  However, many times there are nutritional reasons why therapy doesn’t work for some people when treating for depression.

In today’s episode, Dr. David Mooney discusses micro-nutrients, Vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium that are involved in the integrative therapy treatment of depression. 

Integrative Psychiatry for Mood and Anxiety Disorders

May is Mental Health Awareness Month.  This is a remote broadcast of a Grand Rounds presentation by NCSS Medical Director, Dr. David Mooney on Integrative Psychiatry for Mood and Anxiety Disorders.  There are some individuals that don’t respond well to traditional therapy for depression.  However, many times there are nutritional reasons why therapy doesn’t work for some people when treating for depression.

In today’s episode, Dr. David Mooney discusses micro-nutrients, folate, and vitamin 12 involved in the integrative therapy treatment of depression.  Then, in next month’s episode, Vitamin D, zinc, and magnesium are among the topics to be covered.


Autism Services That Make A Difference

Host Joe Halko connects with Shawna Shappy, April Wright, and Brian Turbide.  This month is Autism Awareness Month.  NCSS provides individuals diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder a variety of programs and services through our school based autism team, applied behavior services team, Program for Adaptive & Expressive Arts, and numerous summer camps. We discuss how NCSS services impact individuals and their families, the importance of individualized plans and goals, parent involvement, school readiness, and the importance of summer camps.

Encore presentation of A Day in the Life

This month’s episode is titled: A day in the life.  Perhaps your typical day starts with a quick shower followed by making and consuming breakfast before heading out to work.  In the evening, following dinner, you wash dishes and do laundry.  All of these and other activities seem effortless and don’t consume much of your time.  Now, let’s say that you have cerebral palsy.  How would that dramatically change every aspect of your day.  You’ll gain a better understanding by viewing this month’s episode.  

Vaping...Myths versus Facts

Amy Brewer, who is the Health Educator for Northwestern Medical Center and the Coordinator of the Franklin Grand Isle Tobacco Prevention Coalition, joins me this month to discuss vaping.

Vaping is the act of inhaling and exhaling the aerosol, often referred to as vapor, which is produced by an e-cigarette or similar device. Vaping has grown in popularity with the rise of e-cigarettes, which were introduced to the mass market in the U.S. in 2007.  Vaping devices include not just e-cigarettes, but also vape pens and advanced personal vaporizers (also known as ‘MODS’).  The e-liquid in vaporizer products usually contains a propylene glycol or vegetable glycerin-based liquid with nicotine, flavoring and other chemicals and metals, but not tobacco. The newest and most popular vaping product is the JUUL, which is a small, sleek device that resembles a computer USB flash drive. Its subtle design makes it easy to hide, which helps explain why it has become so popular among middle and high school students. It now accounts for about 72 percent of the market share of vaping products in the United States.  A growing body of evidence indicates that vaping products may be dangerous.  Despite early optimism when these products first came on the market in the late 2000’s, health advocates now recommend caution in using them in light of growing evidence suggesting that their risks, especially to young people, outweigh their benefits. 

The American Cancer Society… attacking from every angle.    

Now, you may ask, how does cancer affect your mental health?  Having cancer affects your emotional health.  A cancer diagnosis can have a huge impact on most patients, families, and caregivers.  Feelings of depression, anxiety, and fear are very common and are normal responses to this life-changing experience. In addition, changes in body image can affect self-esteem and confidence. 

Many times this leads to instances in which NCSS collaborates with the American Cancer Society in serving certain individuals and their families.

In addition, the American Cancer Society works diligently throughout the year with numerous initiatives that go beyond raising funds for research.  Among their other services and programs, they provide transportation assistance for patients and their families plus, offer health and wellness education for people of all ages.

Encore Presentation of Metal Health First Aid

This month’s episode is an encore presentation of Mental Health First Aid. Since this episode first aired, earlier this year, an exciting development has occurred. Vermont Care Partners was awarded a three year mental health awareness training grant, named Community First, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). This is a statewide initiative, which in our region will allow NCSS to provide no cost Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid trainings to community members.

Studies show that training in Mental Health First Aid builds confidence in helping an individual experiencing a mental health challenge, reduces negative or distancing attitudes towards individuals with mental illnesses, and increases mental health literacy by being able to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental health and substance use disorders.

To gain a greater understanding of the value that Mental Health First Aid offers its participants let’s go to our encore presentation of my interview with Lance Metayer about Mental Health First Aid training.

Integrative Psychiatry for Mood & Anxiety Disorder

There are some individuals that don’t respond well to traditional therapy for depression.  However, many times there are nutritional reasons why therapy doesn’t work for some people when treating for depression.  This is part one in a series on Integrative Psychiatry with Dr. Mooney.   

Understanding Down Syndrome

The month of October is Down syndrome AWARENESS Month.  Down syndrome is the most commonly occurring chromosomal condition and occurs in approximately one out of every 691 births, in people of all races and economic levels. The addition of a third copy of the 21st chromosome alters the course of development resulting in all people with Down syndrome experiencing cognitive delays. Today we’ll learn about Down syndrome, positive strategies for families, what are the child’s most important resource and support services, plus,  we’ll get a glimpse of this year’s Buddy Walk, and more. We discuss the topic of Down syndrome in greater detail with Elaine Carpenter, parent, board member, and former NCSS Team Leader.

No One Has to Walk Alone

No One Has to Walk Alone was an amazing journey during the month of July along the entire 272 mile Long Trail by Betsy Leblanc and her dog, Sam.  The hike was an effort to raise awareness of suicide and suicide prevention while raising funds for the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center.  NCSS was a proud sponsor of the walk. During this month’s episode Betsy’s discusses her struggle with depression, you’ll see video clips from along her journey, and this classically trained musician will close the show playing a song on the clarinet.

The month of September is SUICIDE PREVENTION AWARENESS Month.  At NCSS we want to make certain this topic is in the forefront, not only this month, but 24 hours a day / 7 days a week / 365 days a year.  Among the many specialty services made available to the community, NCSS offers prevention programs by facilitating Mental Health First Aid and Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings; in addition, we have Adolescent Services, Community Services, Outpatient, Crisis, and Mobile Crisis available in your time of need.  NCSS provides confidential services and programs to individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts.


Host Joe Halko connects with Samantha Thomas, Katie Mable, Claire Thompson and Raya Noreault.  Loneliness is far more than a social misfortune.  It is what we say we value more than anything else.  In surveys to determine the factors that contribute most to human happiness, respondents consistently rate connection to friends and family – love, intimacy, social affiliation – above wealth or fame, even above physical health.  However, despite their genuine, human desire to connect, millions of people are predisposed to undermine social connection.  Despite their best efforts, they alienate rather than engage others.  And yet these people are no more or less attractive than anyone else, and their problem is not lack of social skill.   


NCSS Integrative Psychiatry Clinic

Host Joe Halko connects Dr. David Mooney. Excitement continues to build as NCSS prepares to launch the Integrative Psychiatry Clinic. This is where integrative medicine seeks to restore and maintain health and wellness across a person’s lifespan by understanding the patient’s unique set of circumstances and addressing the full range of physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual and environmental influences that affect health.  What does this mean and why is it important in addressing population health?  We learn more during this episode as NCSS prepares to move from the pilot phase to launch this initiative during August 2018.     

School Based Behavior Consultation Team

Host Joe Halko connects with the school based behavior consultation team, Matt Habedank, Amy Irish, Tara Lawyer and Dan Bebernitz. Did you know, as part of our integrated care model, that NCSS has staff situated in schools throughout the area?  What does this mean and why is it important in addressing population health?  This month we explore the services that the School Based Behavior Consultation Team provides area schools.

Mental Health First Aid

Host Joe Halko connects with Lance Metayer, School Based Clinical Services Team Leader.  This month is Mental Health Awareness Month and this show serves as part of our initiative to raise awareness.  Did you know that 1 in 5 people in Franklin and Grand Isle Counties will experience a mental health challenge during their lifetime?  Do you also realize the significant increase in substance abuse in our two county area? Anxiety, depression, suicide, and self-injury are also prevalent mental health disorders. Mental Health First Aid Training is a program aimed at reducing the stigma of mental health for people who live with it and for the community at large by educating people about the importance of early intervention to prevent a mental health crisis. 


Addressing Adolescent Substance Use

Host Joe Halko connects with Kayla Tatro and Mary Gratton members of the our Adolescent Services Team. Not a day goes by without hearing another news story about substance use and its effect on adolescents, families, and communities. It’s important to note that no community is immune from this epidemic. The substances that are used, and in some cases abused, are varied but the results can be devastating. During this episode, we’ll discuss how NCSS clinicians work with adolescents in an attempt to change behavior and who we partner with in the community to make a difference in young peoples’ lives.


Program for Adaptive and Expressive Arts

Through a remote broadcast from the Ted Mable Family Center, host Joe Halko connects with Pad Smith, Team Leader for the Program for Adaptive and Expressive Arts;  Tina Cross, Team Member; Bea Corwell, Interactive Community Member; and Brian Turbide, Team Coordinator. In this episode, learn about the history of PAEA and the magic behind its purpose: to enhance the lives and life skills of children and adults with autism and intellectual disabilities through musical, artistic, and sensory exploration.

Building Resilient Communities

Host Joe Halko sits down with Danielle Lindley, Director of Children, Youth & Family Services; Sam Thomas, Integration Project Manager; Amy Johnson, Parent Child Center Program Manager. This episode focuses on resiliency: what does it mean to be resilient? How can children become more resilient? What is NCSS doing to build resiliency in our communities?


Integrative Medicine

Host Joe Halko sits down with NCSS medical director, David Mooney, to discuss integrative medicine. Integrative medicine is an individualized, whole-body approach to mental illness, used in conjunction with traditional medicine. Dr. Mooney talks about how our gut affects our mood and the many ways that our lifestyle patterns influence our mental health.

Is Anyone Better Off?

Host Joe Halko connects with Alison Krompf, Quality Manager; Tony Stevens, Crisis Team Leader; Cara Corneau, Service Coordinator for the Community Support Team; and Amanda Morong, Transitional Support and Academy of Learning Team Leader. With a focus on the three programs within NCSS, and an emphasis on population health, prevention, and wellness, Joe and his guests address the question: is anyone better off?


Meet Todd Bauman

Host Joe Halko talks with Todd Bauman, new executive director of Northwestern Counseling & Support Services. Bauman discusses what brought him to the position and what he sees for the organization in an ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Blueprint Self-Management Workshops

Host Joe Halko connects with Deana Chase, Integrated Health Team Leader and Regional Coordinator for the Blueprint Self-Management Workshops, and Rebecca Chaplin, Social Work Care Coordinator and workshop facilitator. In this episode, learn about the self-management workshops designed to offer support to individuals with chronic conditions.


Impacts of Adverse Childhood Experiences

Host Joe Halko connects with Samantha Thomas, Children's Initial Response Team Leader; Danielle Lindley, Director of Children, Youth & Family Services; Amy Johnson, Parent Child Center Program Manager. In this episode, learn about adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and the lasting health impacts--mental and physical--that ACEs can have on individuals into adulthood. The group discusses various protective factors, such as early identification, increased knowledge, and access to concrete supports.


A Discussion with Ted Mable

Host Joe Halko connects with Ted Mable, long time executive director of Northwestern Counseling & Support Services. In this interview, learn what inspired Ted throughout his career and what ultimately led him to the mental health field and to St. Albans. During his tenure, the agency has grown from 100 employees to nearly 600 employees and has undergone great changes in terms of culture and structural organization.

NCSS is seeking qualified candidates. Check out this video to see what we're all about! You can visit our careers page to see open positions!



NCSS Here for You: United Way of Northwest Vermont

Host Joe Halko connects with staff from the United Way of Northwest Vermont: Molly Lambert, Interim Executive Director; Amy Carmola, Director of Community Impact; and Paul Chapman, Community Impact Manager for Franklin and Grand Isle Counties. In this episode, Joe and his guests discuss the functions of the United Way of Northwest Vermont and what impact this great organization strives to achieve in the community.



NCSS Here for You: A Day in the Life

Host Joe Halko connects with Lisa Langlois, service coordinator, and Ken Gagne, NCSS' board of directors member, to talk about Ken's daily life, living with cerebral palsy.



NCSS Here for You: Celebrating Staff

In this episode, watch some highlights from NCSS' Annual Meeting! This episode focuses on celebrating staff and the outstanding services our staff delivers day after day and year and year.

NCSS Here for You: 2016 Award Ceremony

In this episode, watch the awards ceremony from the 2016 Annual Meeting.  Bob Begley, on behalf of Martha's Kitchen, received the Marcheta Townsend Community Partner Award for outstanding contributions to the community.  Tric Rogati and Melissa Machia both received the Partner in Excellence Award, the highest honor that NCSS awards its staff.

NCSS Here for You: 2016 Annual Report to the Community

Host Joe Halko shares clips from the NCSS Annual Meeting that was held on November 2, 2016. This episode highlights the annual report to the community presented by Ted Mable, Kathy Brown, Tony Treanor, Steve Broer, and Todd Bauman.




NCSS Here for You: Perinatal Mental Health Counseling

NCSS Here for You host, Joe Halko, talks with Heather Wilson, Early Childhood Support Team Leader; Jessica Dewes, Early Childhood Specialist; and Anna Gabaree, Supervisor of the Northwestern Medical Center Birth Center about perinatal mental health counseling.




NCSS Here for You: Clinical Programming in Developmental Services

Host Joe Halko connects with Kathy Brown, Director of Developmental Services and Amber Schaeffler, Developmental Services Program Manager to discuss the various programming available in our DS division. In this episode, you'll hear about dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), a group program that typically runs for 16 weeks and biofeedback therapy, an alternative form of therapy that helps one develop self regulation by learning to control heart rate and breathing. Kathy and Amber also discuss quality oversight and overall priorities within the DS division.


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