Friday, March 18, 2016

“Left behind”...  not only on Mars!

The Martian...
A popular movie...
A good book...
But is it more than just entertainment?  
What about the story giving you direction in your collapsing world?
Relating to any probem you might be forced into.
A movie can do this?
Before a personal crisis changed my world, my son had seen the movie and encouraged me to do it.  But I’m pretty careful with my finances (also called cheap), so I just got on the waiting list at the library to see it for free.
I was about number 92 on the list!
And I was busy with other circumstances.
But all of a sudden, I was surprised to see the movie had come in for me!   I have no clue how I bumped all the others!
And I took time out to watch it.    
Not knowing that I would then refer to it day after day... just to keep on going.
The Martian
The story is about an astronaut to Mars whose team is in an emergency situation and thinking he is dead they take off and leave him on the lonely planet.
So what does he do?
The lead character is Mark Watney.  
Another lead character...
Compare this to the the lead character in my personal story... as I was also left behind, in a way, when my husband died.  But since I am on another planet, the title of my story would be “The Earthian”, I guess!
Granted, “Earthian” is not as romatic as the sound of “Martian”.  It sounds more like a burp.
Anyway... on with the story.
Our hero...
Now Astronaut Mark Watney is a cute kind of guy.  Not like the “larger than life” heroes, John Wayne or Superman.  I couldn’t have related to them.
And I can’t swear like Watney does - although it seems appropriate to do so in his situation.  This is not because I don’t know the words... I’ve slipped on too many manure piles on the farm.  But it’s because I’ve been trained in newspaper journalism and we can only use symbols to express frustration.  “#$%*”!”
Also, I love Watney’s wry sense of humor... that helps you keep on going too.
 Keeping on...
I have corresponded with the author, Andy Weir, to express my appreciation for his lead character’s ability to keep on struggling.  It was helping me.
So I used Watney’s slogan... “You just do the math and solve the problem... and then on to the next problem and solve that problem.  And solve the next problem too.  And if you solve enough problems, you get to go home.”
I wasn’t very good at math so this scared me a bit.  But I could do the next step - take one thing at a time.
Although one day I tried to organize too many “problems” and was overwhelmed.  
But I had Mark Watney in my mind and I settled down to just handle one issue at a time.
And I figured that I was making progress when I could feel sorry for Watney because he was all alone... and I had friends and family around.
And my faith.
And now I found some other symbols that I can use -


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Crisis Intervention!

What to do in a crisis…

A professional actress and a former cop showed how they train law enforcement personnel to deal safely with people with apparent mental health issues at a Cannon Falls Area TRIAD meeting.
The program helped one member of the audience deal with a difficult situation she found herself in a few days later. By responding calmly in the interaction and then calling the police she was able to get help.
Crisis Intervention Team
“The Minnesota Crisis Intervention Team (MN CIT) is a law enforcement mental health crisis response team. They stage a simulated environment for crisis intervention professionals which includes law enforcement officers, teachers and school administrators, crisis intervention workers, mental health service providers, mediators, dispatchers, hostage negotiators and hospital staff to practice verbal de- escalation techniques in a safe learning environment.”
Kari Pohl LeVan, the daughter of Bill Pohl, former football coach at Cannon Falls High School, also is a graphic artist and musician and helped demonstrate various scenarios that law enforcement officials might encounter along with Michael Peterson, Executive Director of MN CIT.

Before using force...
The scenarios are taken from a 40 hour training that promotes the use of verbal de-escalation skills before using force. “CIT training gives officers the tools they need to understand what someone in a mental health crisis may be experiencing and to direct someone in crisis to appropriate care.”
“The professional role-players have specialized in the accurate portrayal of persons in crisis and/or suffering from mood, thought or personality disorders.”
Mental illnesses affect one in four adults in a given year statistics show. Many of these individuals will experience signs and symptoms such as risk taking, impulsive behavior, aggression, paranoia, substance use, grandiosity, hallucinations, delusions, disordered thoughts, etc.
The first scenario that day showed a disturbed woman (played by Kari Pohl LeVan) threatening to jump off an overpass of a highway. It was explained that if you try to stop the person by grabbing at them they may jump. Also, if you are close enough they may grab you and take you with.
So Michael stood a short distance away and only used his voice to try to connect with the somewhat incoherent woman.

He explained that he purposely identified himself by his first name, Michael, rather than Officer Peterson to make his presence softer but included the fact that he was with a police department.
The woman was babbling on about something beeping and that she kept hearing it.
Michael kept talking to her... “I’m concerned... what happened today?”
He listened to her.
He told her to keep focused on him.
She kept babbling on... “Beep beep beep...”
He suggested, “Come with me to the squad car.”
She didn’t like this.
Would you like to go to a doctor’s office?
Would you like lunch?
Woman: “Can they help me?”
He might have to say that he’ll go along with her to the doctor’s 
office... to help her get there.
Michael stopped the scenario and explained, she’s focusing... she’s
much safer than she was.

Desperation crying...
Second scenario. A woman (played by Kari Pohl LeVan) is desperately crying.
The officer says: “Ma’am, I’m worried about you... My name is Michael. I’m with the police department... you seem very upset... 
Woman keeps sobbing...
Michael gets her name... and gently lets her know that he is concerned. “I see that something bad has happened...”
Let’s review what is happening...
Michael takes a “time out” and asks the audience, “How is my voice? It’s softer than the first scenario."
One member of the audience said, “She appears to want help.”  Michael explained that he is offering help but its up to her if she wants to take it.
He continues with the scenario: “I can tell something bad happened to you. I am here to help you.” They don’t want to pile guilt on her.
Not a quick fix...
Crisis Intervention Training explains that these methods aren’t a quick fix but they are trying to establish a trusting relationship and get to the next step.
Programs like these at the Cannon Falls Area TRIAD educate the public as to what they can do and what officers can do to create a safer environment.