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MHM treats team members to daylong “skip day”

Retreat 2smI’ve got spirit, yes, I do… I’ve got spirit, how about you? MHM was full of spirit at the 2014 MHM Retreat also known as #MHMSkipDay.

Last Friday, team members were granted a “skip day” from work gathering together at the Main Event entertainment center for the annual MHM Retreat. The retreat provides an opportunity for the executive management team to share information about the current state of the business and offer insight into upcoming events. Tenured team members celebrating 5, 10 or 15 years with the organization were also honored for their service during an award ceremony. The main purpose of the retreat is to show gratitude for the dedication of each MHM team member and provide a time for fellowship. Retreat 1sm

There were a wide variety of activities to choose from, including laser tag, ropes course, arcade games, bingo, photo booth, bowling and billiards tournaments. “We wanted to show our appreciation for the staff and all they do in support of our mission throughout the year. The MHM Retreat is one way we recognize their contributions while also having a lot fun,” explained Oanh Maroney-Omitade, vice president of community health programs and organizational learning. The retreat was organized by MHM’s Ambassador Academy, a select group of team members participating in a one-year program that focuses on skill development and leadership opportunities.

Retreat 3smA highlight of the day was the announcement of the executive management team awards. With titles such as “Miss Congeniality” and “Too Cool for School” these endearing awards had everyone guessing until the recipients’ names were read.

“I really enjoyed visiting with team members I don’t see on a daily basis. I’m thankful to work for an organization that cares deeply about our clients and also takes time to recognize its team members.” shared Susan Garcia, administrative assistant. 

Diabetic Support at WHWC focuses on mind, body and spirit

By Jorge Luna Jr., LMSW, Behavioral Health & Social Work Supervisor

JorgeLunaIn my profession, I often encounter individuals with diverse feelings. I must educate my clients about how to recognize their triggers and healthy ways to manage them. I also work with caregivers because they are directly affected. It’s important to talk about feelings and emotions—the general thoughts a patient has about him or herself and their condition. When an individual is living with illness, or caring for someone who suffers from a chronic ailment, the journey can be scary, lonely and exhausting. It’s my job to help the patient and their families manage these feelings in a healthy way. I call it providing holistic support—mind, body and spirit.

Recently I led a six-week support group at MHM’s Wesley Health & Wellness Center for patients living with diabetes and their families. With the San Antonio diabetic population rising over 14 percent—which is double the national average of 7 percent according to the American Diabetes Association—the group was a very timely resource. The purpose was to help the patients better understand their personal thoughts, feelings and goals while coping with the chronic issues associated with diabetes. Using the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy concept, the main goal was to help all the participants understand how their state of mind affects their overall health and wellbeing. At the end of the session, participants left with new skills to recognize harmful and negative thought patterns, understand the importance of self-care and how to effectively manage stress.

Topics discussed during the diabetic support group included: Understanding Depression; Identifying Healthy Coping Skills to Manage Stress; Acknowledging Spirituality in the Healing Process; and Healthy Aging.

My favorite part of the group has been the opportunity to learn from the group members themselves as they openly share about their personal experiences. The personal testimonials from the group were both inspiring and touching. I look forward to the next session.

MHM-funded scholarship helps address the professional shortage in South Texas

Erica is the proud recipient of the George Wray & Col. Vane Hugo Scholarship funded by MHM. As a first-generation college student, Erica believes without the financial support the scholarship provided her she wouldn't have been able to put in the hours necessary to succeed. "I certainly wouldn't have been able to finish graduate school…," explains Erica.

The scholarship, honoring George Wray and Col. Vane Hugo, has helped pay for seven years of Erica's education.

Erica has since graduated with her Master of Science in nursing degree and is working as a nurse practitioner providing mental health care to the underserved in rural areas of South Texas.

Rev. McCandless offers blessing for 2014 academic year

WHWCBlessing-9As a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, spirituality is a core component of MHM’s outreach. Our faith is not only something we talk about, but also something we practice. "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:6

Students, families and community members gathered at MHM’s Wesley Health & Wellness Center (WHWC) this week for a special invocation led by Rev. Mickey McCandless to start the 2014 academic school year. Arlynn Ellis, director of family wellness at MHM, greeted guests and offered her continued support for the students. The children were each presented with a cross to serve as a reminder that our Lord is always with them.

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The behavioral health services, dental, parenting programs, health education and recreation and enrichment teams provided resources to the students and their families about services available at WHWC throughout the year. At the end of the evening, everyone enjoyed healthy snacks provided by the Wesley Café and a time for fellowship.

"This ceremony is intended to help students and their families start the new school year on the right foot. The event was so well received and attended that I hope to make this an annual tradition at WHWC," explains Arlynn Ellis. 

Wesley Nurse Leads Summer Meltdown Challenge in Mason: A focus on fitness and relationships

By Ann Scarth, Wesley Nurse, First United Methodist Church, Mason

AnnScarthThe Summer Meltdown Challenge is underway in Mason, Texas and it seems to be catching on fast. Churches and area organizations have teamed up with instructors from various fitness genres to offer a variety of free exercise classes in locations across this small city of around two thousand people. From tai chi to Zumba, there is a class for every taste and fitness level. Participants are encouraged to track their time exercising using logs provided for the challenge, which are validated by instructors at the completion of each class. The tracking logs will be tallied at the end of the challenge and the top three participants who logged the most hours will win health and wellness prizes. The Summer Meltdown Challenge runs from June 11 to August 15 and will end with a covered dish event to celebrate the successful completion for all participants.

The challenge helps the citizens of Mason to develop a habit of pursuing exercise as a means of improving and/or maintaining optimal health, while fostering relationships with community members. In fact, the challenge was intentionally scheduled during the summer so school district employees would have the opportunity to participate if they wished to do so.

I feel a close connection to community events such as this. Exercise not only improves physical health, but improves mental wellbeing too. Exercise classes offer a psychosocial benefit in that they provide socialization, especially for those who travel into Mason from remote ranches or nearby smaller communities that lack such programs and opportunities to network with people who share their same interests. Similarly, this aligns with MHM’s holistic approach to health—mind, body and spirit.

As long as people are moving, they are actively taking steps toward a better life. Since this challenge began, participants reported feeling a difference in their health and feel a stronger connection to their community. Others, who had drifted out of class, have now returned with a renewed zeal for fitness and commitment to their health.

What inspires me most about being part of this endeavor is the fun that everyone is experiencing—myself included! I believe in exercise and a healthy diet, but strong relationships are also important. We are created for relationships. It’s one of those trickle-down things in life. If meaningful relationships exist, there is more meaning to all the other aspects of life. If someone comes to an exercise class, he or she may not make a lot of changes in looks (we are still going to have gray hair, a few wrinkles, etc.) but we will gain a whole cheering section to share in the victories and challenges in class and in life.

Read the original article featured in the Mason County News here.