Monday, September 27th, marks the 21st anniversary of Family Day: Making Every Day Special, founded in 2001 by the Center on Addiction. Research by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink, or use other drugs. Conversations during mealtime are a way for parents to stay connected and involved with their children. Including youth in meal prep and clean-up instills a sense of responsibility and they are likely to feel like part of a team. In addition to family bonding, kids who eat with their families are more likely to learn healthy eating habits, eat smaller portions, do better in school, and are less likely to stress about food. Depending on weather, a picnic with board games would be a fun way to enjoy nature and appreciate each other’s company.
Televisions, cell phones, and other mobile devices should be turned off during dinner so each person can share the day’s events without distractions. Trips in the vehicle can also be used as teachable, quality bonding time, as parents have a “captive” audience. The earlier parents start connecting with their kids, the better. If kids aren’t used to talking to their parents about what’s going on in their lives when they are eight or ten, it will be more difficult to get them talking when they are older.
Teens are at greater risk of substance abuse as they move from middle school to high school, so, parents need to be especially attentive during this transition period.
If parents are unsure of how to start an age-appropriate conversation, they can access tips in the Parent Toolkit on the CASA Family Day website. Other valuable information can also be found in the toolkit, such as “connecting” with kids, preventing substance use, background facts on substance use, family activities and worksheets, and tips for talking to kids about substance use. To follow Family Day like their Partnership to End Addiction Facebook page, partnershiptoendaddiction on Instagram or @ToEndAddiction on Twitter. Family photos can be shared on social media using #NationalFamilyDay and #MyFamilySelfie.
This year’s sponsors are Quest Diagnostics, American Express, and ACOSTA. Partners include CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America), Faith and Fabric, Fathers Incorporated, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), National Military Family Association, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, Prevent Child Abuse America, SADD (Students Against Destructive Decisions), Super Healthy Kids, The Family Dinner Project, and The Moyer Foundation.
Celebrate with parents nationwide and pledge to commit to:
Remember, parental engagement does make a difference, and prevention works!
Often when problem gambling makes headlines, the focus is on the financial toll and the devastation experienced by spouses, children, and other loved ones. Although these are very impactful consequences of someone’s gambling problem, it can unfairly vilify the person without providing insight into their own struggle.
Problem gambling is the result of gambling causing problems in someone’s life, which may include poor mental health, conflicts with friends and family, financial trouble, and the like. For many, their problems can be the result of gambling disorder, a diagnosable behavioral disorder. As we have learned with issues related to alcohol or drug use, this behavior cannot be boiled down to a moral failing or lack of discipline.
Mental health issues could be the cause or effect of a gambling problem. Some people may have started gambling for fun but now experience a compulsion or need to keep gambling. Others may use gambling to escape worry, stress, or trauma in their lives. Either situation can lead to painful depression, anxiety, shame, thoughts of suicide, all of which can decrease the ability to make positive, rational decisions.
Certainly, there may be consequences for which a person with a gambling problem must take responsibility. However, to ensure that he or she can make amends for wrongdoing and avoid future problems, we must promote the individual’s and family’s health and wellness through support, treatment and recovery for problem gambling and gambling disorder. The Western Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC) is here to support anyone being negatively impacted by problem gambling. If you’re dealing with problems related to your own gambling or someone else’s, call (716) 833-4274 or email WesternPGRC@nyproblemgambling.org to speak with a caring and knowledgeable PGRC staff who will connect you to the resources that will best meet your needs. Recovery and healing are possible.
This September marks the 32nd National Recovery Month, an observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with a mental and/or substance use disorder to live a healthy and rewarding life.
Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those in recovery, just as society celebrates health improvements made by those who are managing other health conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, asthma, and heart disease. A major difference, however, is that the successes of the millions of Americans whose lives have been transformed through recovery often go unnoticed by the general population. The observance reinforces the positive message that behavioral health is essential to overall health, prevention works, treatment is effective, and people can and do recover.
Each year, Recovery Month selects a new focus and theme to spread the message and share the successes of treatment and recovery. This year’s theme, “Recovery is For Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community,” is meant to remind people in recovery and those who support them that no one is alone in the journey through recovery. The observance will work to promote and support new evidence-based treatment and recovery practices, the emergence of a strong recovery community, and the dedication of service providers and community members who make recovery in all its forms possible.
As part of Recovery Month, National Addiction Professionals Day will be celebrated on September 20. This day was established by NAADAC (National Association for Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors) to commemorate the dedicated work that these vital players of the health system and continuum of care do on a daily basis.
Previously, Recovery Month was sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In June of 2020, SAMHSA announced its decision to retire its annual convening of Recovery Month stakeholders, the development of future themes and assets, and the management of the events calendar. For more information visit Recovery Month or Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. NAADAC now “carries the torch” for Recovery Month.
Local counseling is available at the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc., at 585-593-6738. Together, we can stop the stigma surrounding mental and substance use disorders, and help more people find the path to hope, health, and overall wellness!
School-aged children are facing their first exposure to the concept of a job. They have to show up at school every day, do what’s asked of them, and finish work at home for the next day. While it may be their first job, it’s not for you. You’re well-versed in the concept, but the job that you now have is new: getting them to do their homework.
This can be a tricky road to walk, so if you’re in need of a few tips, tricks, and tech tools to get your child to happily do their homework every day, here are a few of our favorites.
Family Matters, a subcommittee of Partners for Prevention in Allegany County, provides support and tools to help parents raise responsible children and to help foster healthy relationships in families. Visit our website and Facebook page for more information.
Who can get work done without a clean, organized space to do so? Make sure your child has a designated homework space where they don’t have to compete for the chance to get their work done. A well-lit section of the kitchen table, or a desk in their room, or even a corner of the living room (if they are not distracted by others) are all good options you can manage in your home. Scholastic recommends showing them how to organize their space and to keep it that way, as it’s a practical set of skills that can be carried into adulthood.
Nobody can work effectively without the right equipment, and your kids are no different. In this day and age, children use technology to cover the majority of their tools. Just like in adult workplaces, when a machine is clunky, outdated, or just slow, it becomes frustrating to operate.
Thankfully, there are plenty of options available for families, such as an iPad or Kindle Fire. With generous displays and computer-like speed and power, these tablets are up to snuff for schoolwork, surfing, and games. They’re also lightweight, portable choices that are both fun and practical, and parents can take advantage of parental controls to ensure kids don’t get too carried away in their use.
If you decide to buy a new device for your family, keep in mind that it can sustain damage from falls, dents, dings, and spills without proper care. Make sure you outfit your device with a good-quality case to reduce such worrisome incidents.
Just like a real job, your child needs to be responsible for his or her own work. It can be easy for involved parents to cross the line into being too involved in their child’s schoolwork, to the point that they just do the work for them. This is a terrible habit to get into, as it leads to lazy and unproductive kids. Be supportive and make yourself available to answer questions during homework time, but be sure that your child is doing the bulk of the work themselves.
Sometimes we don’t feel our best, and that’s okay! Remember that your child is just that – a child. If they’re not feeling well, vocalize to them that it’s okay to not feel 100%, but we still need to get our work done. Tell them about a time you had to finish something at work while you weren’t feeling the best.
Kids pick up your habits, so as HealthyPsych points out, they will learn through you that this is just a part of life. Homework may be the last thing they want to do when they’re feeling down, but help them to push through and they’ll feel rewarded for accomplishing something they didn’t think they could.
While this “work-life” may be a new thing to your child, don’t go too hard on them. Be understanding and supportive, so they know they can come to you with questions and struggles they encounter along the way. Help them, and provide them with the tools and resources they need, but don’t overshadow the work they’re doing themselves.
By Emily Graham of Mighty Moms.
Remember Prevention Works.
Tomorrow, August 31 marks the 21st International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD), started in Melbourne, Australia, in 2001. Sally Finn, a manager of the Salvation Army syringe program, saw the sorrow that families experienced when they lost their loved ones to a drug overdose. When she realized that the families were unable to express their grief due to the stigma of drug use, Sally arranged an event that would allow families to commemorate the memories of their departed loved ones. Six thousand ribbons were distributed that day, and the awareness day has been supported every year since then.
According to the the International Overdose Awareness Day website, there are several ways to make a difference on this global event day to celebrate, commemorate, or educate:
Can you get infected with Covid-19 from the vaccine?
No, a person cannot get infected with COVID-19 from the vaccine as it does not contain the live virus. Instead, it teaches our immune systems how to recognize and fight the virus. Sometimes this process can cause mild fever, headache or tiredness, pain and swelling at the injection site. This Indicates the body is building protection against the virus that causes COVID-19.
Are COVID-19 vaccine side effects worse than being infected with coronavirus?
Although COVID-19 vaccine side effects can be uncomfortable, Covid-19 itself can be life threatening, cause more extreme and long-lasting symptoms, and can plague a person throughout their life. Remember, you should get the 2nd shot even if you get side effects from the 1st shot.
Is the COVID-19 vaccine unsafe because it was developed too quickly?
Although Covid-19 vaccines were developed in record time, no compromises were made. The vaccines have undergone the same rigorous Food and Drug Administration process as other vaccines and are distributed under Emergency Use Authorizations. Both pre-clinical and clinical data show that the vaccines are safe and effective at preventing COVID-19 and reducing the risk of spreading the virus.
Can COVID-19 vaccine can cause infertility?
There is no scientific evidence that the Covid-19 vaccine will cause infertility. Remember, any information you find online should be verified.
Is COVID-19 the government’s way of controlling citizen’s lives, should Allegany County be worried?
The federal, state, and local government leaders are working hard to protect our communities from the devastating impact of COVID-19. The government is not using the spread of the coronavirus to curb personal freedoms.
Where can someone go if they need a Covid-19 test for a trip, camp, or back to school or if they have symptoms?
If you need a COVID-19 test there are pharmacies and Urgent Care Facilities in Western New York offering a rapid or PCR test. You should call the Allegany County Department of Health (ACDOH) at 585-269-9250 for assistance in finding the type of COVID-19 test you need and the closet location to you.
What types of COVID-19 vaccine are available in Allegany County and where can residents get their vaccine?
Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are available in Allegany County and surrounding counties. You can check the Allegany County website to see availability at: https://www.alleganyco.com/news/community/upcoming-covid-19-vaccination-dates/ .
You can also go to www.vaccine.gov and narrow down your search by the type of vaccine and zip code. It is important to call ahead to make sure the vaccine is on hand. If you have questions about COVID-19 vaccines or need assistance registering for an appointment, call the ACDOH at 585-268-9250.
On March 31, New York State Governor signed the Marihuana Regulation & Tax Act (MRTA) legalizing the adult-use (21+) cannabis in New York State. While there are currently no stores open to purchase adult-use cannabis, the possession and use of cannabis for adults 21 years of age and older in accordance with the MRTA, is now legal. Cities, towns, and villages can opt-out of allowing adult-use cannabis retail dispensaries or on-site consumption licenses from locating within their jurisdictions; however, municipalities cannot opt-out of adult-use legalization. If the municipalities wish to enact a local opt-opt law for marijuana retailers or consumption sites they must do so by December 31, 2021. If a municipality does not opt-out by December 31, 2021, the municipality will be unable to opt-out at a future date. However, at any time a municipality may opt back in, to allow adult-use retail dispensaries and/or on-site consumption licenses, by repealing the local law which established the prohibition.
Studies have shown that 80% of California, 64% of Colorado, 79% of Michigan, and 60% of Oregon municipalities opted out of allowing marijuana sales.
Due to the short period that municipalities have to decide if they want to opt-out local agencies in Allegany County, including the Allegany Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Inc. (ACASA), the Allegany County Department of Health, the Allegany County Sheriff’s Office, and Partners for Prevention in Allegany County (PPAC) have sent a letter, resources, and a model policy to all the towns and villages in Allegany County. Be on the lookout for when your town or village holds discussions on this topic to share your thoughts for what you would like to see in your community.
Allegany County is a great place for residents and visitors alike to enjoy the outdoors in the warm summer months. As a Forest Ranger, which are police officers within DEC’s Division of Forest Protection, our main duties in this great region are patrol, enforcement, and education on DEC lands; search and rescue; and wildfire suppression, investigation, and prevention.
There are nearly 60,000 acres of state land open for free public recreation administered by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) in the county, including State Forests, Wildlife Management Areas, the Wellsville-Addison Galeton (WAG) Trail, and fishing access sites. There are also Allegany County-managed forests; the Genesee Valley Greenway Trail, managed by New York State Parks; numerous Genesee River access sites operated jointly by the county and the Genesee River Wilds organization; and Moss Lake, a Nature Conservancy property. In addition to paddling opportunities, Cuba Lake and Rushford Lake are large enough to accommodate motorized watercraft. The Finger Lakes Trail is part of a network of long-distance footpaths including the North Country and Appalachian National Scenic Trails that stretch all the way from North Dakota to Vermont, and from Maine to Georgia, passing through Allegany County along the way.
When hiking this summer, be sure to become familiar with the area that you plan to visit. The DEC’s website has maps of each State Forest showing the location, access sites, and trails. Carry a compass and/or a GPS, and know how to use them. Tell somebody back home where you plan to hike, and when you plan to return. If you become lost, do not hesitate to call 911. Cell service, although not 100 percent reliable everywhere, has improved in recent years. If lost, your coordinates can be obtained by the dispatchers and relayed to Forest Rangers and other responders to locate you if necessary. Do not panic and remain where you are. Carry plenty of water to avoid dehydration. After your hike, remember to check for ticks, which have increased in our area and are the major carrier of the Lyme disease.
Primitive Camping is allowed on all DEC State Forests in Allegany County. Camping is primitive in nature; there are no facilities. Follow ‘Leave No Trace’ principles by bringing all garbage home with you – there is no trash pickup. Leave the area as you found it, or better. Dispose of human waste by digging a trench in topsoil (and covering) at least 200 feet from the campsite and from water. Campfires are allowed by using any firewood you find on site that is both dead and down. You may bring natural untreated firewood with you if you are traveling 50 miles or less from its source. This distance restriction is to help prevent the spread of invasive species. Keep the fire contained in a cleared burn area if a ring is not already provided, and make sure it is cold out when you leave. On State Forests you may tent camp most places, if you set up at least 150 feet from roads, trails, and water. In addition, most of the State Forests have scattered designated sites if you wish to be closer to your vehicle or are using a trailer or RV to stay. Free camping permits, required for stays longer than three nights, or any length for groups of 10 or more people, are available from Forest Rangers (see listing below). Camping on Wildlife Management Areas is generally prohibited, except for under permit from DEC’s Division of Wildlife on designated sites for Hanging Bog Wildlife Management Area.
When boating or paddling this summer, stay within your safety experience level for the conditions you plan to encounter. Kayak paddling on the Genesee River has become extremely popular in Allegany County due in part to an abundance of access points along its south-to-north route. The river conditions can vary depending on recent rain amounts, changing from a gently flowing float, to having to get out frequently to pull over rocks in shallow water, to near whitewater conditions requiring higher-than-average skill levels. River gauges are located in Portageville and Wellsville and can be read online through the United States Geological Survey website. The best source of information is obtained by looking for yourself at the part of the river you plan to visit before you start your paddle to determine if it is safe for you. Remember that the Genesee through Allegany County is a largely wild river; there are twists and turns and may be trees down.
Whether paddling in rivers, ponds, or lakes, or operating motorboats, alcohol causes impairment and can have deadly consequences. Similar to driving, an operator can be charged with Boating While Intoxicated. Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs) are required by law to be worn by children under 12 years old in any watercraft under 21 feet at all times. Although only required for ages 12 and up during the colder half of the year, they are strongly encouraged and every person not required to wear them must still carry them in the boat, canoe, or kayak. If towed on water skis or operating a personal watercraft (such as a jet ski), people must wear a PFD.
Operation of All-Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) and Utility-Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) have become increasingly popular in the county. Be aware it is illegal to operate these vehicles on DEC lands, or on the roads on DEC lands. The exception to this is that a person with certain partial disabilities or medical conditions can obtain a permit to ride on designated trail systems on some DEC parcels in the area. Some town governments have begun the process of designating their town maintained roads as permitted for off-road vehicle use but you must know where you are – only certain towns have done this, and you may not legally operate on county or state highways (with small exceptions for crossings), even within a town with designated permitted roads. Wherever you do ride, helmets are required for ATV use and recommended for UTVs.
New York is home to tens of thousands of acres of State lands to visit, dozens of campgrounds, and thousands of miles of trails across the state for hikers of all abilities. “Love Our NY Lands” and follow @NYSDEC on social media to recreate responsibly, plan ahead, and Leave No Trace™. All New Yorkers and visitors should be able to access, enjoy, and feel welcome on state lands. These lands belong to all of us, our families, and our neighbors. While enjoying these shared spaces, please be respectful of other visitors. All of us have a responsibility to protect State lands for future generations. On Twitter, also follow @NYSDECAlerts, which provides real-time updates from certain DEC-managed lands across New York State; visit https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/119881.html to learn more.
For more information on outdoor activities please see the phone numbers and websites listed below. Have a safe and fun summer!
Forest Rangers based in Allegany County, direct cells – (585) 415-1521, (585) 278-7777
Lands and Forests office, West Almond – (585) 466-3241
Allegany office (Division of Wildlife, Forest Ranger office) – (716) 372-0645
DEC’s Love Our Lands – https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/119881.html
Places to Go (state land information) – https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/82098.html
Hike Smart NY (more outdoor safety tips) – https://www.dec.ny.gov/outdoor/28708.html
Western NY Wilds (Allegany County Tourism)
Tall Pines ATV Park – (607) 478-8805:
Happy Pride Month! June is established to recognize the impact that gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer individuals have had on the world. LGBTQIA+ groups celebrate this special time with pride parades, picnics, parties, memorials for those lost to hate crimes and HIV/AIDS, and other group gatherings. It’s also important to recognize that the LGBTQIA+ community has been impacted by various mental health issues, including problem gambling. Problem gambling is anytime someone’s life is negatively impacted by their gambling habits. This could be financial struggles, relationship or partner issues, conflicts with work and school, and even translating to criminal behavior.
Unfortunately, there is limited research on the prevalence of gambling addiction among the LGBTQIA+ community. However, the information that is available does suggest that there is a correlation between problem gambling and those who identify as gay, bisexual, and transgender. A 2006 U.S. study reports that 21% of 105 men seeking treatment for problem gambling identified as gay or bisexual. That percentage is 7x higher than the (reported) rate of gay and bisexual men in the general population (21% as opposed to 3%) raising the possibility that gay/bi men might be at increased risk for problem gambling (Grant, JE, and Potenza, MN, 2006). Additionally, a 2015 Australian study reports that 20.2% of 69 LGBT participants met DSM V criteria for gambling disorder. Pub/slot games (58%) and scratch offs (43%) were most common about LGBTI populations. The amount spent ranged from $1 – $3K per month. Reasons were “because it is fun” and “because I like the feeling.”
The most important takeaway from these limited studies is that it’s important to have a comprehensive screening system in place for all individuals receiving treatment for problem gambling, especially screening specifically for LGBTQIA+ folks who are already in care or seeking treatment for mental health or chemical dependency needs. First and foremost, establishing a safe environment for clients should be a normalized step within all counseling and therapy-related practices. Secondly, help is available for problem gambling no matter how you identify. The Western Problem Gambling Resource Center (PGRC) is excited to promote our clinicians who are experienced in treating LGBTQIA+ individuals, as well as have training in cultural humility. Below are some barrier-free options the Western PGRC offers our community:
To get started, call the Western PGRC at (716) 833-4274 or email WesternPGRC@nyproblemgambling.org.
For more information, visit https://nyproblemgamblinghelp.org/.
This May for Mental Health Awareness Month, we are working with Partners for Prevention and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to send the message that no one’s mental health is fully supported until everyone’s mental health is supported. We are encouraging everyone to get involved by taking one simple action to encourage their friends, family, and community to take care of their mental health. Everyone has different experiences with their own mental health, and their own preferred methods of care and support. It is important that we all remain open and ready to listen to others’ points of view and perspectives, especially during this challenging time.
Mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable. While 1 in 5 people will experience a mental illness during their lifetime, everyone faces challenges in life that can impact their mental health. The past year forced many to accept tough situations that they had little to no control over. The pandemic forced us to cope with situations we never even imagined, causing a lot of us to struggle with our mental health as a result and challenging our resiliency. It is critical to reduce the stigma around mental health struggles that commonly prevent individuals from seeking help slow down their journey to recovery.
For the People in Your Life
For Your Community
To ensure mental health for all and prevent suicide, we need your help to reduce stigma, build awareness, and support those at-risk for suicide. You have the strength and power to reach out and save a life. Knowledge, awareness, advocacy, and empathy are the tools you may already have. Below are even more resources to empower you to confidently tear down the stigma surrounding mental health and save someone’s life.
Together We Can Prevent Suicide…Prevention Works.
WHAT TO DO
WANT TO LEARN MORE?
Join the Allegany County Suicide Prevention Coalition at any of our upcoming workshops; including SafeTalk, Talk Saves Lives, ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training), and Youth Mental Health First Aid, or share your time and support as a member of the Coalition.
Are you a survivor of suicide loss? We can help connect you to local support groups.
To learn more, like us on Facebook or call Jose Soto at 585-610-9765.
Or visit these great online resources:
National Prevention Week 585 Prevention Podcast with ACASA’s Community Educator Ann Weaver.