Hey all! It’s been a while. Mostly because it’s been a really busy and strange year. It’s been radical shift from all completely at-home Zoom work, teaching, and meetings in addition to having a remote schooling 4th grader at home, to now teaching in-person and my son being back full-time in school. The whole family has gotten vaccinated, many of us boostered, traveled, and done a handful of super pre-COVID normal things. And I do crossfit in a mask 🙂 When I spell it out like this, it really hits me that so much has changed and that we have made an immense amount of pivots and adaptations this year. And, honestly, as unbelievably hard as it’s been in moments and weeks, we are a-ok. In the grand scheme of things, I would say we are thriving.
One of the things that I am exceptionally proud of is the work of our Behavioral Health team has created and launched in this last year (and we now launching for a second run!) in collaboration with Providence Medical Center in Anchorage, AK. After countless hours of meetings to assess the needs and desires of the administration, providers, and support staff at Providence, our team designed a year-long, 4-course Behavioral Health program. The goal was to enhance knowledge, literacy, confidence, and empathy in interacting with people experiencing mental and behavioral health challenges as they come into the medical system. This included nurses, front desk administrators, patient service representatives, security personnel, and other medical staff. It was such a cool, diverse, and enthusiastic group of people to teach and learn from!
What is even more exciting than dreaming, creating, and launching a project after two years of work and collaboration is that it seems like we did what we said we were going to do! I mean, how often do we set out to do a project in any arena and call it good when it’s done? How often do we go back with rigorous and detailed feedback, and say, “did I do what I actually said I would?” Well, after synthesizing the incredible and critical feedback, our students shared a number of things with us that were so impactful: 100% said that they would recommend that their peers engaged with this work and program, they felt significantly more prepared to recognize mental and behavioral health challenges alongside medical concerns, felt incredibly better-prepared to recognize the impact of trauma and ACES upon medical care and mental health, and overall an improved sense of compassion and empathy. Our team recently shared our story with an in-house reporter so that they could feature this work for our colleagues and academic community, and I want to share it with you here! There are some beautiful gems shared from students of our program!
Alongside this work, I had a chance to present at a couple of conferences on topics related to mental and behavioral health, and feature in a podcast (coming soon!). The topic of pediatric & mental health is definitely on many people’s minds, providers and parents alike, and it is a great honor and opportunity to be able to share some of what I have learned in my years of clinical practice, my own study, and my K-12 work. I’ll share more of that content as I am able!
Finally, but definitely not the least of my work, mental and behavioral health has been a deep dive for me in this last year. Many of you know this, but I burned the f*@k out. I put blood, sweat, and tears into years of midwifery care, primary care, and family care alongside founding, building, and running a clinic. Oh, and also parenting a young child. Needless to say, the only person who got zero care was me. While I don’t regret one single shred of that time and effort and treasure the families and the clinic that thrived in our time together, the last few years have been a distinct reminder of how dreadfully I cared for my own well-being and neglected the need to be surrounded with the kindness, care, and tending that I offered others. So, that is what I have been doing. Really, truly tending to myself. One of the ways I do that is to write. I love words and I love the physical feeling of writing them on paper. I love the way that they can carry what is felt on the inside toward the outside so that I can see it, learn from it, and maybe even share it. So my current labor of love is a book. Not a professional book; rather, a shared human experience of what it is like to live, dismantle yourself and your life, and set it free.
I’ll definitely keep you posted on that one too 🙂