Mental Health Month, Wk. 4

Did you know?

Mental Health Court is a program through the court system that was established for clients with mental health diagnoses that get into legal trouble. Mental health court assists them getting into treatment to become stable and build a rapport to hopefully keep them in treatment once successfully graduated from the program to prevent recidivism.

Catalyst has a team to support individuals in the court hearings and treatment team meetings and assists in coordinating the treatment services at Catalyst for those in Mental Health Court.


Q&A with Erin 

1. What is your occupation, title and how long have you worked at Catalyst? 

Executive Director/Executive Vice President, I have been employed by Catalyst for the last 20 years (14 of them full-time).   

2. Can you briefly describe the services you are over?  

I oversee all mental health services for the agency, as well as compliance, Forensics, and crisis services.   

3. Mental Health and the jails, this is something many people don’t think about. Do you have any information about this? 

Nationally, it has been reported that 20% of the population in jails and prisons is severely mentally ill (ref: Torrey EF, Zdanowicz MT, Kennard AD et al). The treatment of persons with mental illness in prisons and jails: A state survey. Arlington, VA, Treatment Advocacy Center, April 8, 2014.).  This means about 350,000 people in jails and prisons are identified as severely mentally ill.  If there are approximately 50,000 psychiatric beds in the United States, then you can see how upside down this statistic is. We are not treating mental illness; we have criminalized it.   

4. I believe one of the least known services we do are the ones in the jails, can you explain these services and how they help? 

We have staff who are on site at the jail for 30 hours per week, providing mental health support, referrals to services, and connecting people to drug & alcohol treatment.  This has been invaluable in helping to get people the treatment they need when they are ready to receive it.  This also helps to stabilize some of our most severely mentally ill who end up in jail, as they get medications started immediately upon incarceration.  Staff in the jail treat people as human beings, which can make all the difference.  Regardless of your location and regardless of what might have happened, we are all human beings and deserve to be treated as such.   

5. Being in the mental health field for the past 25 years, can you speak to the stigma surrounding mental health? Has it changed over the years?    

We are both less able to talk about mental health and more able to discuss it.  It seems we can acknowledge it exists – we talk about it on TV shows, we address it on social media, and we have hashtags to trend it in our awareness.  However, it is still extremely difficult for people to admit it for themselves and speak it out loud.  To admit someone struggles with mental health issues seems to admit “weakness”, and nothing could be further from the truth.  When we admit our struggles, we actually allow ourselves to be vulnerable which softens others to us and brings people toward us – exactly what one needs when struggling emotionally!  It is so important for us to speak of our own struggles so others know it is ok for them to do so as well.   

6. What are some applicable ways we can fight against the negative stigmas associated with mental health treatment and MI?   

Talking about our own experience, sharing common stories, and letting people know we are here to help and support them.  Sometimes the best thing we can do for someone who is struggling is just to be present with them.  No words need to be exchanged; just being willing to sit with someone who is in pain is enough to let them know they are not alone.  Like the hashtag for the pandemic says, we are #InThisTogether.

Click the picture below to read about 5 ways to decrease the Stigma of Mental Health by Erin Schaefer on Mind Body Align’s Blog.


In this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Child and Adolescent Department from Catalyst Life Services wanted to put together this fun video to remind you about the importance of mental health for Mental Health Awareness Month!

Click the picture below to view our video!


    Click the picture below to view our appreciation for all of our case managers!


     Some days it seems hard to believe that it’s been almost 3 months since COVID-19 altered so much of our world and what we have all come to know as normal. Not just in the work place but in each of our daily lives. Other days it feels as if it’s been so much longer.  I truly believe, for similar or differing reasons, we have all felt stress, pressure, frustrations, and uncertainty at times. One thing that I am certain of today, is that Catalyst is filled with amazing, committed, and loyal employees.  

    As the end of Mental Health Awareness month nears, there is strong evidence, as we navigate through such unprecedented times, the importance of mental health awareness each and every day.  Please don’t forget to take care of yourself.  If you are still struggling or ever need someone to reach out to – we are here 24/7 through our helpline (419-522-HELP) to help connect you to our services.   

    I wish you all a Happy, Healthy and Safe Memorial Day, and I want to give thanks to all present and past servicemen and women who have served our country.

With gratitude,
Laura Montgomery, CEO



Thank you so much to the following organizations/individuals whom have helped us out with donations during this time!

We appreciate our Case Managers!


Jamie Starkey supervises adult and child case management staff and wanted to share:

“Case managers are an important part of our agency. They are the eyes, ears and voice in the community for our consumers. Case managers have continued to serve throughout this pandemic. They have made sure that our consumers have the things they need and continued to connect people to resources and agencies. Our case managers are one of many treatment team members at Catalyst and are out there helping every day. I think of case managers as the oil of the car- it is needed to run successfully.

My case workers are patient, kind, caring, good listeners, teachers, helpers, coordinators, and help people connect with crucial resources.”

Jamie Starkey, Case Manager Coordinator


Nicole Kimble supervises the ACT case management staff and would like to share:

“The case managers always go above and beyond going out in the community, being the needed support for clients and to assure their needs are met. The case managers truly care about those they serve and it shows in their work. I am so appreciative of all that they do and the great client care that they provide is a big part of the agency.”

Nicole Kimble, Adult Mental Health Program Director


Mandi Whitlatch and Deanna Roberts co-supervise the AOD case management staff and share:

“Our case managers are the consumers’ advocates in the community. While we developed a way for people to work from home, the case managers continued to take people into the community, shopping for them and providing daily supports to those on their caseloads. They have had to be very resourceful to meet the needs of the clients.”

Mandi Whitlatch, SUD Residential Supervisor

“I don’t know if I can truly put into words and express the gratitude and appreciation I have for our case managers! They have selflessly continued to provide quality care and support for clients, taking them shopping in the community and ensuring that their other safety needs are meant during this time of uncertainty. For some clients the only support they have is their case manager. Thank you for your professionalism and dedication to the clients and agency.”  

Deanna Roberts, Counselor/Peer Recovery Coach Coordinator


Tanya Haga supervises the Deaf Services Case Manager and shares:

“One of the unique services that Catalyst can provide is case management services for those who use American Sign Language as their first language. This allows for advocacy and community supports that also include access to services due to language difference and the need for sign language interpreters.” 

Tanya Haga, Director of Deaf Services

Mental Health Month, Wk. 3

Did you know?

Catalyst has many employed Peer Recovery Support Specialists!

This refers to a certified individual who has a lived experience of a mental illness and/or substance use disorder and has been in recovery for at least 2 years. Peer Support programs have been shown to be one of the only constants that people experience as they move between the other points in their continuum of care.

Want someone to talk to?

Call Warmline to talk to a peer support specialist today!

419-522-5300


My name is Vicki Davis and I am a Peer Support Specialist at Catalyst Life Services and for the past year, I have been Acting Coordinator for the Oasis Peer Center. In July, I will be working at Catalyst for 5 years. I love working at Catalyst because I can give back to the mental health community. People who suffer from mental illness desperately need compassion and acknowledgement. Just by these simple things, I can brighten their day and even help their light inside shine a little brighter. 

When it comes to mental health, lack of education, misconceptions and judgements all still continue to feed the stigmas surrounding mental illness. Through my diagnoses of OCD, depression and anxiety, I have learned I am now better equipped to provide hope and spread education. I can attest to the hardships of mental illness. Many of my family members also struggle with mental health diagnoses. Although I have been through some difficult times, this has helped me to connect to many different kinds of people and has led me to my calling. I share with those who are struggling, ‘If I can overcome and see the light at the end of the dark tunnel, I believe you can do it too.’

Oasis helps provide a safe place for anyone with a mental health concern. All are welcome to come and gather with others who understand what they are going through. Oasis lets you know you are not alone; it provides structure and it helps many individuals to feel loved and cared for. 

At Oasis we have classes to expand our knowledge of mental and physical health. We also gather together and talk about different topics and tools on how to help one another through the difficult times. I would say, one of my greatest wishes is for more people to come to the Oasis Peer Center and experience the community for themselves! I can understand the worry of coming to a new place that is classified as a ‘mental health club’, but we are not defined by that. We are people first, people who laugh a lot and enjoy each other’s company. I would like to encourage new club member to come down for 3 to 4 days in a row and I am sure they will return! They will learn that they are welcomed with understanding and open arms. The Oasis Peer Center is truly an amazing place to be.

Although the Oasis Peer Center is temporarily closed, we continue to provide telehealth services through the Warmline. 

Oasis will resume normal operating hours with guidance from the State of Ohio.



Supplies Needed! 

Below you can see a list of all supplies that are currently needed. You can drop off supplies at The Center or Rehab Center Locations.  If you have any questions contact Melissa Drozda at 419-774-6710 or email at drozda@catalystlifeservices.org. 


Q&A with Jennifer

1. What is your job title at Catalyst?

“My position is the Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU) Lead and Residential Assistant.”

2. What do you like most about working for Catalyst, specifically for the Crisis Stabilization Unit?  

“I love helping people. The Crisis Stabilization Unit staff helps people when they need us the most. We also take calls from different people that are having mental health issues. Working on the Crisis Stabilization Unit is very rewarding as you see clients get better with their treatment.” 

3. In your own words, why would you encourage someone to call the helpline if they are struggling? 

“I would encourage anyone to call the helpline when they feel they need our help. Your Mental health is as important as treating any other medical disease such as heart disease or diabetes. The Helpline is always here and willing to talk with people and get them the help they need.”   

4. There seems to be a hesitancy and stigma attached to receiving help/support for mental health, can you speak to that?  

“I feel people think they have failed if they seek mental health help. I want everyone to know it is not a failure. Sometimes it takes help to get back on your feet. And everyone has been down at some time in their life before and needed a hand to get back up.”

5. Please feel free to share any other information in regards to the helpline or mental health that you want people to know.  

“I would just like everyone to know that it is possible to live a fulfilling life with having Mental Health Problems. Mental Health is a piece of us but it does not define us.”  


    “As someone who previously supervised and coordinated the Crisis Stabilization Unit (CSU), I have seen so many success stories of people who have started their recovery journey on the crisis unit.

    The crisis unit has remained open and available for admissions during the COVID-19 pandemic. Our 24/7 crisis helpline (419-522-HELP) also continues to operate from the CSU. Staff are available 24 hours a days to provide support, help, and access to needed services. 

I continue to be grateful to all our donors, funding sources, and employees. All of you have shown that we are in this together and continue to collaborate to serve those in need.”

     With gratitude,   
Laura Montgomery, CEO


     There are many types of people that be considered heroes.
And the individuals who work in our 24/7 residential services definitely fall into that category.

Click the picture below to view our appreciation for our residential staff!

Mental Health Month, Wk. 2

Did you know?

   Complications linked to untreated mental illness include social isolation, legal and financial problems, poverty and homelessness and medical conditions. Mental health concerns do not have to go untreated, Catalyst is here to help @ 419-522-HELP!


Q&A with Paul
Q 1:  What is your role at Catalyst and how long have you been in the role?

Paul: “I have been in my current role of Child and Adolescent team leader since November/December of 2019. I have learned a lot in a short time, but I also realize that I have so much more to learn, so I want to keep striving.I have been at the agency since September of 1999.” 

 
Q 2: Why do you have a passion for mental health and more specifically, children’s mental health?

Paul: “I feel passionately about the field of mental health, in particular the children’s dept., because I think so often that the diagnosis or the condition that people struggle with, is perceived as “them”. I think the strengths and the remarkably unique things that each client has is so important and should not get overlooked! So I am glad that I can be an advocate and encourager and try to walk side by side with them in treatment. I feel privileged to be able to help lead this team and to assist clients in meeting their goals.”  

Q 3: What do you enjoy most about your job at Catalyst?

Paul: “I enjoy working with and helping to guide the team. I enjoy hearing about and seeing the successes the staff have with their clients. I enjoy the energy this team brings and their ideas, passion, and commitment to clients.  I also enjoy how each day is different and brings it’s challenges. Not a day goes by that I don’t have a laugh with someone, this team has a great sense of humor!”  

Q 4: Many times there can be a hesitancy and stigma to seeking professional help for your child’s mental health. Can you speak to that? 

Paul: 
“I realize there is a perceived stigma to one seeking mental health treatment. However, I have witnessed a positive shift in this in the past couple of years. Celebrities such as Kevin Love from the Cavaliers have been open about their own struggles with mental health and have advocated people seeking treatment. I think this is awesome, I certainly try to encourage that getting help is okay, that people need to take care of their whole self.  I would like to think that Catalyst and other agencies can be a safe place.”  

Q 5: What are some of your hobbies and/or something interesting about yourself that you would like to share?

Paul: “I am married and love spending time with my 13 year old son and 14 year old daughter. I love music, play guitar, like movies, and theatre (which I used to do in the area). I also love fishing and am a huge Browns fan, (which means  I guess I’m a glass half full guy! )”         

Q 6: Please feel free to share anything else pertaining to children’s and parent’s mental health you would want readers to know.
Paul: “I truly feel fortunate that I am a part of an organization so passionate and committed to the people and families of this community.I am glad that we can be looked at as a place that people can trust to help them, and to feel safe doing it, because I think we are needed now more than ever.”  


Supplies Needed! 

Below you can see a list of all supplies that are currently needed. You can drop off supplies at The Center or Rehab Center Locations.  If you have any questions contact Melissa Drozda at 419-774-6710 or email at drozda@catalystlifeservices.org. 


Q&A with Josh

Q 1: What is your role at Catalyst and how long have you been in the role? 

Josh: “I am an employment specialist and I help people get jobs and connect them with resources to get them things they need in order to be successful in a job. I have been doing that for over 6 ½ years and will keep doing it for many more.”    

Q 2:Why do you have a passion for vocational services? Could you share how that may extend to mental health?   

Josh: “This one may make more sense if asked backwards. My interests started in psychology because I wanted to know how people think and why people are the way they are because there are so many personalities and so many interesting and different qualities about each of us so I wanted to learn more about that. 
As an intern counselor I noticed that most people in counseling had the same 2 issues- too much free time to think about their problems and not enough money to do anything to change that. This lead me to check out the vocational department and it was an instant fit and they basically offered me a job that they did not even have as a job coach on an as-needed basis. 
That got my foot in the door and I fell in love with being able to help people in a concrete way. Of all the employment specialists here, I have been here the longest.  

Q 3: What do you enjoy most about your job at Catalyst?

Josh: “That would have to be sharing the joy somebody feels when they get a job! It is such a wonderful feeling knowing their life is improving and I was able to be a part of that. Admittedly, I also have a great time when I get to take people shopping for work clothes because it is fun and they are usually so grateful and joyful to get nice things. Many of them tell me it is the first time they have been able to get new clothes in years! It is so nice to be able to help them in a more fun way instead of in a clinical way which we typically think of when it comes to mental health services.”    

Q 4: Many times there can be a hesitancy and stigma to seeking professional help for mental health. Can you speak to that? 

Josh: “This is definitely something we see from both sides. Clients can feel awkward about getting help and employers can stigmatize people receiving help and unfortunately that is always going to happen. We continue to try to educate people and build relations in the community to alleviate this as much as possible and I would say we find just as many people interested in helping us and our clients as we find those who are turned off by it so there is hope out there!”     

Q 5: Could you share how vocational services can help someone with a mental health diagnosis?   

Josh: “Getting to work can be a big part of treatment for some people because doing work you enjoy becomes a big part of who you are. It gives a sense of pride, a sense of accomplishment, the ability to be independent, and much more. It also keeps people busy and out of trouble, gives them a chance to socialize and make friends, and make money to take care of themselves and have fun. All of these things play an important role in our daily life and affect our overall well-being.”   

Q 6: What are some of your hobbies and/or something interesting about yourself that you would like to share? 

Josh: “Well outside of working full time, the main thing I do is continue working lol. I have a part-time job as well and that is another passion of mine. I work and play in car audio. I always have a great sounding system in my cars and I have over $50k in audio equipment because I can not live without my music!”   

Q 7: Please feel free to share anything else pertaining to mental health and vocational services you would want readers to know.   

Josh: “It is important to take care of yourself because even if you do not have a mental health diagnosis and go to counseling, we all have our own struggles and if we do not manage them properly we could easily be the ones needing help so be happy, have fun, and eat ice cream if you want.” 


   “As we continue to work our way through this uncertain time filled with constant change, we find ourselves in new positions.  Many have had to adapt to either working remotely or have lost their employment entirely .Those that continue to work onsite may have children at home with the closing of schools. Children are feeling isolated as activities are cancelled and they are away from their friends, and we know many are facing anxiety and fear about the pandemic itself. We have counselors available for youth and adults to assist with the multitude of emotions and fears many are experiencing. These services can be provided over the phone.   

   We want to thank the Richland County Foundation and other community supporters for their donations to help with telehealth tools, PPE and infectious control items during this difficult time.  As a community behavioral health organization, we could not do it without this ongoing support!”

     With gratitude,   
Laura Montgomery, CEO


Mental Health Month Weekly Newsletter!

“The COVID-19 pandemic has taken a sense of normalcy from us all. In the midst of this disaster, we have adapted our service delivery, followed new protocols, and worked hard to keep people safe. New emergency rules have given us the ability to provide many of our services via telehealth. While our doors have remained open as an essential business, telehealth has been our preferred method of treatment. 

We are here to support the residents of Richland and contiguous counties during this crisis.  This global pandemic can significantly affect mental health for everyone since it is a difficult time filled with apprehension and uncertainty.  If you are feeling overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, fear, depression, or anxiety please contact someone at Catalyst to begin services. We have a 24-hour crisis helpline (419-522-HELP) with trained professionals that can help you access our services. Your initial appointments as well as on-going appointments can be conducted over the phone from the comfort of your own home.   

I am truly grateful to all the staff at Catalyst Life Services. They have pulled together to take care of the people we serve and each other. We are here to help.” 

With gratitude, 
Laura Montgomery, President & CEO


Weekly Mental Health News!



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Above is a list of all supplies that are currently needed. You can drop off supplies at the Center or Rehab Center Locations. If you have any questions contact Melissa Drozda at 419-774-6710 or email at drozda@catalystlifeservices.org.


“My name is Nicole Kimble and I am the Adult Mental Health Program Director at Catalyst. I have been in this role since October 2019, however, I have been working at Catalyst since 2006. I have had many different roles here including residential at the group homes, Helpline, case manager, therapist, ACT team coordinator and now stabilization unit coordinator and Program Director of adult mental health. I am married with three children and I enjoy spending time with them. We mainly enjoy outdoor stuff such as camping in the summertime and going for walks and traveling.

Honestly, when I first started at Catalyst, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I had a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and had interest in this type of field, but I was unsure at what all that entailed. As I began working more closely with the clients, I began to realize that I thoroughly enjoyed helping these individuals, specifically the SAMI/ACT population. This refers to individuals who are diagnosed with severe mental illness and co-occurring disorders. It feels great to see the clients make progress and be able to see the advantages of psychiatric medications and treatment. Although I really enjoy the direct care work with our clients, I also love educating, training and building the ACT team as well as our clinical staff so they are best prepared to help and support our clients.

I don’t think people realize all the mental health services Catalyst actually provides. We have outpatient services for therapy, case management, medication management services, the SAMI/ACT team, the stabilization unit and the mental health court services working with courts on getting those in the legal system the treatment they need.

Although I do believe the stigma attached to mental health has decreased over the years, there is still that hesitancy for some to seek the support they need for their mental health. People many times do not realize a mental health diagnosis is no different than a medical diagnosis and, with both, there is treatment to help to maintain health with medications and therapy and support. Catalyst is dedicated to fighting against this stigma and works hard to speak about the successful outcomes of those who seek mental health treatment and to encourage individuals in treatment to share from their own perspective, to encourage people to come get the help and support they need and deserve.”