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Hill Country
MHDD Centers
Newsletter
 
~ April 17, 2020 ~

What’s Happenin’

A note from our Executive Director, Ross Robinson
CARING FOR OURSELVES AND OUR LOVED ONES

Wow! Here you are again with yet another message from me. I truly hope I’m not burning you out with all of them! I simply want to pass along some guidance provided by the CDC on how to care for yourself and your family during this unprecedented time of social distancing and restricted community/school access. It is so important that we not lose sight of how essential it is for us to be good to ourselves so that we have the strength to be there for others. On their website, the CDC has provided a list of suggestions for all of us. First, realize that feeling stress during a time like this is normal. But coping with this stress will “make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.”

Some suggestions for coping and helping others to cope:
· Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories—including social media! Repeatedly hearing about the pandemic can be upsetting and not provide us any relief from worry.
· Take care of yourself physically—Regularly take a few minutes for deep breathing, stretching, or meditating. Stop what you’re doing and for a few minutes simply listen to your favorite music or just close your eyes and enjoy silence if possible. Try to eat healthy, balance meals. Exercise regularly and get plenty of sleep. Avoid alcohol or drugs.
· Take time to unwind—do activities that you enjoy. I’m seeing people walking in our neighborhood that I’ve never seen do that before. I’ve also seen families exercising together in their driveways.
· Connect with others—Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you’re feeling. Stay in contact with those who are special to you. Our extended family once a week engages in a “happy hour” video conference that includes folks not only from Texas but also Florida, Minnesota, and Oregon.
· Remember the skills we teach to those we serve—If we really believe what we tell others, it’s the perfect opportunity to “practice what we preach.” If it is supposed to work for them, it definitely will work for us! What a perfect time to serve as a true role model! Now, we can tell them that “I tried this during the social distancing times and it works!”

Tips for assisting your children:
· Talk with your child or teen about the virus. The CDC has excellent and factual information that you may provide them. Do it in ways that they can understand.
· Reassure them that they are safe. Let them know it’s okay if they feel upset. Serve as a role model and share with them how you’re dealing with your own stress so that they may learn from you.
· Limit your family’s exposure to news coverage just as you should limit your own. Once again, this includes social media.
· Try to keep up with regular routines. Many of our lives have been disrupted with the closure of schools and daycares. Try to create a schedule for learning activities as well as relaxing and fun activities. One staff member makes cooking a chance for learning by using measurements and amounts. Others incorporate outdoor activities into school and learning activities.
· Once again, be a role model. Take breaks, get plenty of sleep, exercise, and eat well. Try to find ways that they can remain connected with friends and family
At Hill Country, we are a community. Be there for each other and don’t be afraid to reach out if you need anything. By taking care of ourselves, we may remain healthy for our loved ones and communities. Be healthy and stay safe!!!!
 
EMPLOYEE PICNIC NEWS
by Maria Baskett, Executive Assistant/Board Liaison
The employee picnic scheduled for May 2 will be postponed to a date in October 2020.
 
Please watch for an e-mail in the next few months with a new picnic date. If you still have flyers posted at your work sites, please remove those to alleviate any confusion, and look for an update from the Picnic Planning Committee in the coming months! Thanks for your help! I think we all look forward to having some fun together when it’s safe for us to do so. If you are interested in helping plan the 2020 picnic, please e-mail me at
mbaskett@hillcountry.org
.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”
– Benjamin Franklin
by Randy Consford, Director of Special Projects
Mr. Franklin’s quote is timely. Preparing for disaster is an important component of Disaster Response. Part of Hill Country’s preparation and response to COVID-19 is our Disaster Response System. We have staff trained in Incident Command and we have many staff that have weathered the storms of various disasters. We have responded to a shuttle crash, to fires and several floods, to school and community shootings, to everyday life issues, and now all of us…every staff member at Hill Country MHDD is a COVID-19 Response Team Member. Thank you for your service and I believe your work has already saved lives.
 COVID-19 has bombarded us with new and old sets of threats. We are threatened by a virus that exacerbates anxiety, depression, isolates us from those we care for, makes us ill, and can be deadly. It results in changing our cultural norms. Long held traditions like shaking hands is now taboo. We have new terms like “social distancing.” We have challenges in going to our place of worship. Weddings and funerals are delayed. Family gatherings are discouraged. We have witnessed a spin-off of hoarding jokes based on toilet paper. Now, we must wait in lines wrapped around our neighborhood HEB in order to get a few groceries.
 The National Incident Management System (NIMS) provides a framework for disaster preparedness, response, and recovery. NIMS was established to face disasters like COVID-19. NIMS “incorporates solutions developed over decades of experience by incident personnel across the Nation.” The Incident Command Structure (ICS) is created as a preparation and response process to disasters. NIMS defines the goal of an ICS is to “save lives, stabilize the incident, and protect property and the environment.” “Success depends on a common, interoperable approach to sharing resources, coordinating and managing incidents, and communicating information.”
 As Ross has outlined in his COVID-19 updates, we have mobilized an Incident Command Structure at Hill Country. In future emails and newsletters, we hope to share some of the initiatives we have created and will be creating to respond to COVID-19. Also, we hope to spotlight some of Hill Country’s staff successes and challenges as we face COVID-19. Please write to us some of these stories and let us hear what you are doing. Again, thank you for your service!
 

You are essential!

Llano County MH Director Elisha McPeek shared the story below with Randy Consford, Director of Special Projects.
This is a wonderful reminder of our mission, and why all of your hard work out in the field is so important.
“We had an individual that has been in services for five years. He always attended appointments and was engaged. In that five years he had missed a handful of appointments but had called to let us know that he was having to care for his dad, had another appointment, or was sick. This allowed a great deal of communication between the clinic staff and the individual. He had two appointments scheduled which were the only two he had missed without a phone call ahead of time to alert us. We made several attempts to call and realized that this was very unusual for him. It was then we did a welfare check on him.
It was when the welfare check was completed that we discovered he had passed away. 
 
His father was still in the home and stated to us ‘it is so nice to know that he was missed, by someone other than me’. The father was very tearful and continued to express how important it was for his son to be engaged at the clinic and receive the help that he was provided. However, the greatest thing for him was knowing that someone noticed that his son was not around, and he was not forgotten; that made a difference to them. The mental health deputy is continuing to check on the father as part of our community because the loss was so sudden, and his son was his primary caregiver. Every member of the community matters.”
Public Service Announcement
by Chasity Price, LVN Kerr County MH
I’m happy to see so many people taking the initiative to wear a face mask out in public. However, the
MOST IMPORTANT PART
of wearing a mask is to wear it correctly, and almost every single person I’ve seen is NOT.
“SHOW YOUR COLORS!”
– If one side of your face mask is blue (most of them are blue, however, there can be different colors), wear your mask with the blue side facing OUTWARD.
MYTH:
“Wear the colored side outward if you are sick and wear the colored side inward if you want to protect yourself from those around you that are sick”.
FALSE!
FACT:
The colored side of the mask should be worn on the outside, AWAY from your face, regardless if you are sick or healthy.
The OUTER colored layer is a hydrophobic (fluid repelling) layer that PREVENTS germs from sticking to it. There is also typically a middle layer that helps filter bacteria. The INNER layer helps absorb moisture, as the air we breathe contains moisture. If you wear the mask incorrectly, with the colored side towards you, the moisture from the outside air will stick to it, making it easier for germs TO STAY THERE.
We are truly living in unprecedented times, and I understand that not everyone is familiar with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the proper way to use it. With that being said, if you see someone wearing a face mask incorrectly, please thank them for doing so, but also kindly educate them on the proper and SAFE way to wear it. It’s a simple fix, and it helps keep us all safe!
COVID-19 Safety Tips
Safety tips when in public:
· Wear a face mask when out in public (grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations
· Wear disposable plastic gloves when getting groceries and putting gas in your car
· Do not go out in public if you feel ill or have any symptoms of the virus
· Do not shake hands with anyone
· Do not hug anyone outside of your household
· Do not take your family to the grocery store with you
· Disinfect groceries when you get home before putting them away
· Use hand sanitizer after handling money or using credit/debit card machines
· Always wash your hands or use hand sanitizer after touching door handles, elevator buttons, light switches or anything that the public would be touching outside of your home
· Always cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing
Safety tips in the office/workplace:
· Wash hands or use hand sanitizer after touching door handles, elevator buttons, light switches or anything else that your co-workers or other employees have touched
· Sanitize your phone, keyboard, desk, copy/fax machine, coffee pot, refrigerator, microwave and any other things or surfaces your co-workers or other employees have or will touch
· Do not go to work if you feel ill or have any symptoms of the virus
· Always cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing
Safety tips in the home:
· Wash or sanitize your hands often
· Sanitize and clean counter tops and faucets often
· Always wash your hands before preparing and serving food
· Wipe down and sanitize door handles, light switches, appliances and things your family touches often
· Always cover your mouth with a tissue when sneezing or coughing
· Clean and sanitize your bathroom often including counter tops and faucets
· Clean and disinfect groceries before putting them away and wash or sanitize your hands
· Wash or sanitize your hands after you clean or disinfecting anything
· Always launder the clothes you use to disinfect your house before reusing
· If you or a family member feels ill or are having symptoms of the virus, go to a separate room in the house if possible to prevent the virus from spreading to other family members
Do you have a kiddo at home who loves dinosaurs?
Dinosaur George is offering online lessons each week for kids to learn about science and history! Click the link below for more information:
Reading app for kids
Sign up with Epic to instantly access 40,000 of the best books, learning videos, quizzes & more. To get the first 30 days free, click the link below:
GOT NEWS?
Do you have information to contribute toward the next issue of the newsletter?
We want to include you! If your location has info, kudos, or ideas to share, please e-mail Corrie
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