The Astor Blog

Mental Health

Suicide Prevention via Facebook

One of the most powerful tools for helping to prevent suicide is something every one of us can provide: being sensitive to signs that someone we know may be suffering from suicidal thoughts and not being afraid to reach out to them and provide support and resources.

In the past, this was most likely to happen during face-to-face conversations or over the phone. Of course, the times have very much changed.

An increasing amount of our communication with family, friends, and acquaintances is now happening online via social networking sites.

Therefore, with the increase in social networking, there has naturally been an increase in people sharing suicidal thoughts and signs on sites such as Facebook.

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Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In commemoration of Mental Health Awareness Month and Children’s Mental Health Day on May 7, 2015, Astor wants to draw attention to reducing the stigma around mental health, especially for children. 

For too long, the stigma surrounding mental health has prevented many needing treatment from receiving it.

Astor also recognizes the importance of early intervention and diagnoses in reducing the severity of mental illness.

Did You Know?

1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. -National Institute of Mental Health

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. -Center for Disease Control and Prevention

40% of child abuse and neglect victims, receive no post-investigation services …

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Pet Therapy Incorporated at Astor

For eight years now, volunteer, Pat Cortese, and her Labrador retriever, Angelina, mostly known as Lina, have worked with the children at the Residence in Rhinebeck. Lina is a therapy dog who provides comfort and a sense of safety, and helps keep the children keep calm.

“It is such a rewarding experience. This is such a tiny thing that Lina and I do to help make the children feel good,” Cortese said.

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Family Counseling When You Need It

In 2013, over 1,400 families came in to our Mid-Hudson Valley Counseling Centers to receive assistance. They arrived with an array of challenges which afflict families during difficult times.

Astor’s team faces a tremendous challenge that they hope to overcome: opening the eyes of parents to the role stress plays in their lives and the lives of their children.

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Supporting Children and Families’ Mental Health Year Round

For many families, facing ten weeks of summer with fewer supports and services for their children is a time of significant stress, because good educational programming for at-risk youth can sustain youth and family through times when a child’s behaviors are more challenging or more risky.

Let’s make every month in our communities a month that provides meaningful support so that children can be healthy, happy and productive, and families can receive the support they need to thrive.

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Astor’s Head Start Programs: Support Students in the Classroom!

This I have never understood:

How can anyone, anywhere not want to support a program that gives those who are most defenseless, who are without a voice, without a constituency, without a lobby, a chance?

Head Start works. By all the metrics it has an immediate effect on the kids. On IQ scores, academic achievement, crime, and poor health.

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What Really Prevents School Violence?

School communities are the most critical factor in the prevention of school violence.  The more inclusive and welcoming the school community, the more connected most youth in that community feel.  The more connected youth feel, the more likely it is that any youth contemplating violence will be revealed to caring adults early in the path toward an actual violent act.

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Strive to Thrive: Train Your Toddler’s Brain, Part 3

Last fall, I wrote about self-regulation, the important “brain training” that is needed for children to be competent and confident.   Parents can help their babies develop this important skill with warm, responsive, and predictable parenting.  When your children are toddlers, you can continue to train their brains by developing your own calmness, telling your toddler what to expect, and teaching them how to behave.

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Strive to Thrive: Building Confidence in Your Kids, Part I

Did you know that the roots of confidence and competence start when your child is just a baby? In my business, we call these roots “self-regulation,” which is a fancy way to say that a child (or adult) can be in charge of their own thinking, emotions, and behaviors.

By helping your kids develop the ability to be in charge of themselves in a healthy way, you can build their confidence in themselves and make them more likely to do well at home, in school, and with friends.  In short, YOU can TRAIN YOUR CHILD’S BRAIN.

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Strive to Thrive: 6 Ways To Build A Stronger Family NOW!

A discussion on what it takes to be a “successful” family.

I am not talking being a rich family, or a famous family. I am not even talking about being a trouble-free family. I am talking about being the kind of family that endures during hard times and rolls with the punches, stays connected to one another, and raises kids that go on to have the same connected, strong kind of family when they grow up. Scientists have studied families for many years, and they have found that there are some ways to make families stronger.

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Do Families Have to Strive to Thrive?

Astor Services has been helping families and kids thrive for a long time now.  In my job at Astor I try to help staff bring the best practices to our families and kids; I find those practices by reading about what scientists who study families have discovered about helping families and kids heal.

But a few years ago, something changed in my life.  I became a Mom.  When I had my twins, my questions changed from, “How can Astor help families and kids who are struggling with mental health and behavioral issues?,” to “What does the science say about helping all families stay more connected, feel healthy and happy, and help their kids grow and thrive?”  Most importantly, “Can science provide families and kids who are struggling with mental health issues a road map to recovery?”

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