Archive for category Mines and Associates

Resilience in Vegas

This week I was in Vegas for a client’s open enrollment. This trip had been scheduled weeks before the mass shooting and I was quite looking forward to the trip between getting to see our clients in the Vegas area and enjoying some great food, there is nowhere else in the world quite like Vegas. However, as I was preparing to leave and heard the news of the shooting, it completely shifted my focus to how I personally could support our clients and the city while I was down there. I had no idea what the atmosphere would be like when I arrived but I should have guessed that Vegas would pull together and support each other through this tragedy.

The emotions down there ranged from solemn, to anger, to anxiety over the unknown, to great sadness. You could feel people reaching out for support, talking about the incident, and wanting to encourage each other. The word resilience, solidarity, and strength constantly popped in my mind as I walked the streets and talked to locals. The police were out in full support, talking to tourists and locals alike, on the sidewalks, on the streets, and in venues. It was amazing to me to see the police force stand together and willingly work overtime so that the rest of the community could feel supported and protected. Everyone I talked to, both locals and tourists, were appreciative of the support and attentiveness of the police and other first responders. Words cannot express the gratitude I heard and felt towards those who gave up vacations, wedding anniversary plans, and sleep in order to help their city. You could not go 10 feet without seeing the now trending hashtag #VegasStrong, or seeing advertisements for free counseling and other support services. (http://www.ktnv.com/news/counseling-trauma-relief-services-made-available-following-las-vegas-shooting) Venues, superstars, locals, and workplaces could all be seen working together, offering help with what they could.

As I talked to various locals about the experience, it was clear that though this act would be etched in their minds for a long time, the sense of unity and connectedness was firmly stated. During my stay, the names of the victims had not been released yet, which made many people unsure if they knew someone among the injured or dead. Parents expressed concern over their children’s’ friends who did not show up for school on Monday.

The biggest question on everyone’s mind was “why?” Unfortunately, this still has not been explained. Even now, the FBI and local first responders continue to pick through evidence, review what happened, and decipher the reasoning behind this shooting. I am very grateful for their efforts and the opportunity to experience the camaraderie amongst those that I talked to and helped while I was there.  There is not enough “thank yous” and praise to go around to all those who have stepped up to help, support, and give services. I am very proud to work for an organization and with affiliates who stepped up to provide process groups and counseling to employees, family members, and household members who were affected by this tragedy. Through quick responses and taking time away from other responsibilities, MINES and its affiliates have set up groups to go through the different stages of grief, PTSD, and how to help those who are struggling with this event. It was a great privilege to see this happen first hand while I was in town.

The United States has faced many tragedies in the last several years, both from man and nature. However, in each city that something has happened, it has brought the city together and made the city stronger, better, and full of community support. New programs come out of tragedy and new support systems are created. I am optimistic that the same will happen with Vegas. I look forward to traveling back there and seeing how the community has come together after this event and how they are stronger overall. I want to encourage any of you who knew someone who was at the concert or lives in Vegas to seek out counseling support to help you work through this horrific event and the aftermath that is to follow. And as always, MINES is here to support you and your companies if you need it. Please feel free to outreach us at 1-800-873-7138 if there is anything we can do.

 

To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

The MINES Team

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Mental Health Awareness Day 2017

World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day is observed on the 10th of October every year with the goal of raising awareness and boosting efforts to provide care and resources to those in need. Here at MINES every day is mental health day as we are constantly striving to raise awareness and provide helpful, often life-saving, resources to not just our clients but also our community.

Impact

Whether you suffer from a mental health condition or not the impact on our workplaces and communities is undeniable. In the workplace alone, increased absenteeism and lowered productivity due to mental health condition and substance abuse cost US organizations nearly 100 billion dollars per year according to the World Health Organization. The WHO also reports that mental health conditions are the leading cause of disability-adjusted life years worldwide, accounting for 37% of lost healthy years from non-communicable diseases. With this information in mind, it is no question that we need to continue the fight to provide access to resources and care around the mental health crisis, especially in a society where the importance and funding of mental health services are being undermined. So what can we do?

Helping

Try as we might we are not able to reach everyone with our messages and resources, which is why it is so important that as we all do our part to help those around us. If yourself or someone you know is struggling with mental health conditions, please seek help. Aside from traditional counseling that may be covered under your health insurance, there are many community-based and employer-supported resources that may be available to you such as an Employee Assistance Program. If your employer does not have an Employee Assistance Program in place, there are numerous resources that you can that can point you in the right direction and help find solutions for long-term goals or just help you deal with a crisis you may be going through here and now. Below is a selection of resources including national helplines, information sources, support groups, and organizations dedicated to helping.

Resources

If you want to take an even more active approach and receive training on mental health first aid head over to mentalhealthfirstaid.org to find courses near you where you can learn how to better identify, understand, and respond to those that may be suffering from mental health or substance abuse issues.

Going Forward

Remember that the need for access to quality mental health resources is not just an issue on World Mental Health Day. Today is a great conversation starter, but it is action by people like you and me and action and support by organizations like yours and mine (MINES) that will provide real results that may just save the lives of people in need. So, let’s talk to each other, lets act together, and as a society let’s take the next step towards less stigma, more support, and better care for everyone.

 

To your wellbeing,

The MINES Team

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MINES celebrates 35 years of behavioral health excellence

Did you know that just a few weeks ago, MINES celebrated our 35th anniversary? It’s true, back in January of 1981, MINES was started with the vision of being a psychology firm addressing the needs of its clients based on the expertise of multiple professionals even though it initially consisted of one psychologist, our founder, Dr. Robert A. Mines. Soon after, Dr. Richard Lindsey joined the firm and over the ensuing years, MINES became well-known for providing health psychology services such as its expert case management in behavioral health, a leader in Employee Assistance, and a valued partner to our clients regarding organizational psychology services. We’ve been proud to call Colorado our home and to expand to all 50 states. We’ve seen many changes in our industry over the years but no matter how we partnered with groups or consulted on projects we’ve always maintained our core vision as a guiding principle for doing business: to save lives and influence the course of human events.

So, to commemorate the occasion, we wanted to reconfirm our solemn promise to our clients, past, present, and future, to continue to work in every way that we can to serve the good of those organizations and individuals/families. MINES continues to strive to apply the latest evidenced/research-based practices for the wellbeing of our clients. We do this with compassion and loving kindness to relieve their suffering and enhance the quality of their lives.

As a practical matter and update moving forward, we have rolled out a brand new website at www.minesandassociates.com that will significantly improve the ability of individuals to access our services and information about our program through mobile devices. We have a number of changes to our Provider Portal that will streamline our billing and reporting processes. We’re upping our social media game to provide great content on facebook and twitter (so make sure to check it out!) And we have a number of projects underway that will be rolling out in 2016 that will make it easier and more enjoyable to access services with MINES.

We want to thank all of our clients for their partnership over the years and look forward to the next 35 years! Have a great 2016 and, as always, “to your wellbeing!”

The MINES team

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Psychological Aspects of Financial Wellbeing

There are countless resources online that give advice on how to budget, how to get out of debt, how to save, how to invest, and so many more topics on money and finances. The interesting question, then, is why is money still such a difficult issue for people?  Why don’t we all feel financially confident and successful, all the time?

At first glance, money and wellbeing (one’s state of overall health, across all components of life) may not seem to go together. However, there are numerous psychological components associated with people and their financial wellbeing. The broad categories include brain chemistry, the behavioral economics of loss aversion, family views of money and what it means, and personal beliefs regarding money, its meaning and how to manage it. There are also many others that will not be addressed in this blog.

The neurochemical elements related to money have to do with brain changes related to spending money versus saving money. It is well documented that when people act on urges for immediate gratification (i.e., I need those shoes NOW!), they activate specific chemical “pleasure centers” in the brain, which can cause them to have stronger, more frequent urges to repeat the gratifying behavior.  Some people have a more difficult time delaying gratification than others.  This experience alone accounts for significant differences in people who are able to save: they are able to study instead of play, achieve higher levels in education and subsequently higher levels of income, which can be tied to money wellbeing later in life. People who routinely act on spending impulses often run up debt, have cash flow problems and subsequent stress related to these situations. Other neurochemistry-related conditions that negatively affect financial wellbeing include addiction (to food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, etc.), which often includes diverting money to support those immediate gratification demands of addiction with corresponding money problems.

The area of behavioral economics includes a significant body of research related to factors of influence and people’s decisions about money and subsequent financial wellbeing. For example, most people would rather not lose money than take the risk of getting more money. This was played out again in the last recession, when people pulled their money out of a market that was dropping in prices, bonds paid virtually nothing. Yet people who had cash and were risk-aversive did not reinvest ended up missing out on 70-200% returns in stocks over the next few years. Those who thought bonds were safe ended up losing money against inflation, even as low as it was during that time. This clearly had an impact on financial wellbeing.

Family views about money are passed on in the form of modeling, messages and social influence. For example, a family that views money as a typically scarce resource that should be shared equally will expect family members who do succeed in attaining higher levels of financial wellbeing to subsidize them. This can create family stress if the individual who has the money disagrees with the others’ beliefs about it. There is case after case of lottery winners suddenly being contacted by family members they had not heard from in a while asking for money. There are also a number of lottery winners who went bankrupt. Some of the reasons for this can be traced to family views about money, a feeling or belief that they did not deserve it, not knowing how to manage it, and an inability to tolerate the social isolation of being in a different economic stratum than their extended family, among other elements.

Individual beliefs about money play an important role in financial wellbeing. How people think about money plays out in their everyday decisions. If one cannot see their “future self” clearly, they may have difficulty saving or participating in their employer’s 401K. Those who do have a clear view of their future self generally find it easier to save and invest systematically. Some people have “all or none” beliefs about money. If they have it, they spend all of it.  If they were going to save, and spent it instead, then they say they will start tomorrow. Unfortunately, tomorrow never comes because they repeat the same sequence the next time. This is in contrast to people who view money with more complexity, who are able to allocate money to budget categories, and value the practice of paying themselves first (saving) versus spending.

What can you do to build your awareness of the psychological aspects of financial wellbeing, and make them work in your favor?

  1. Spend time becoming aware of your thoughts and beliefs about money. Where did you learn them? How do they serve you? How do they positively or negatively impact your financial wellbeing?
  2. If your neurochemistry is part of your financial wellbeing in a negative way (addictions, impulse control) consider seeking professional help.
  3. Identify your family patterns related to money. How do they enhance or detract from your financial wellbeing? How do you feel about what you learned or did not learn from your family related to money?
  4. Become aware of external factors related to behavioral economics that lead to risk-aversive versus “irrationally exuberant” decisions.

To Your Wellbeing,

Mines, R.A., Stone, W.C., DeKeyser, H.E.

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Counseling FAQ

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Past Newsletters

Counseling FAQ
May 3, 2011

This past month I had the privilege to present an employee orientation to a group of extremely courteous men. I have oriented employees on the benefits of their EAP hundreds of times, but somehow presenting the topic of counseling to a group of men usually makes me slightly nervous. Perhaps it’s because my Dad overdid the “Men don’t cry or have emotion” routine, or maybe it’s because I have presented to a group of men who literally laughed as soon as I said counseling. Either way, I always get a bit nervous.

I was pleasantly surprised to find myself with an entirely different experience this month. Every gentleman gave me their full attention, asked questions, and even shared their own experiences with MINES. I was in awe of their openness and kindness. I know my perception is largely based on what I have experienced in my life but this event truly warmed my heart.

Getting anyone to understand the benefit and process of counseling isn’t always easy unless they have experienced it for themselves. The theme for May is “Mental Health Matters,” and our first communication is a quick guide to understanding what counseling is and how it can be used.


Read more on this topic here…
Britney Kirsch
Account Manager

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[insert opinion here]

Since recommitting to our blogging efforts here at MINES, we have seen a tremendous response in viewership.  In the Marketing Department here, we like statistics and so we watch for data that help us make informed decisions.  I wanted to share a couple of interesting statistics with you all:

  • Since January 1, the number of views has increased by 50%
  • The most searched term that has brought viewers to our blog so far this year was, “healthy decision making.”

We’ve been working very hard to provide useful information to those that visit our blog and want to use this venue for sharing with you as well.  We want you to comment with feedback, “like” the posting if you find it useful, retweet it if you think it’s valuable, or share it with your friends and colleagues in any other way you’d like.  The more you share with us about your interests and what you’d like to see, the more we can focus our attention on providing content you want to see.

Ryan Lucas
Marketing Supervisor

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Happenings from Account Management

Labor’s Community Agency is a nonprofit organization that serves as the community services arm of the Colorado AFL-CIO.  They provide assistance to union members, their families, and the community at large.  The phone number for the LCA is prominent on MINES’ resource contact list and given to those with nowhere else to turn for assistance – they have never let us down.  As with any organization that does this type of work, volunteers and donations are a big part of what keeps them going and each year at the annual meeting they pay tribute to those that help.  This year the Community Services Award was given to Judy Braun (a long-time MINES employee who retired last year).  Two MINES member organizations were also acknowledged:  Sheet Metal Workers Local 9 received the Community Excellence Award and Volunteer of the Year Awards were given to Ed Knox and Michael Hixson, both with IBEW.  A big “Thank You” to all for the support of this organization that touches so many lives in a positive way.

Until next time!

Peggy Hill
Britney Kirsch
Account Management

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Incarceration Doesn’t Solve the Problem

MINES and Associates is proud to be partaking in the Access to Recovery III program. This is a federally sponsored program that helps those with substance abuse problems and little economic resources to get help kicking their addiction and becoming productive members of society. It also may be a step in the right direction for our government and our society.  Our government, at the federal, state, and local levels, spends billions on enforcing our current drug policy with little to no effect on overall drug usage. The costs for one year of incarceration only (i.e., excluding law enforcement and court costs), is approximately seven times higher than one year of court mandated drug treatment.  The efficacy of prison on rehabilitating inmates is abysmal as well. Approximately 67 percent of prison inmates will offend again in the three years following their release compared to only 16 percent of drug court graduates being rearrested for drugs. Seven times the cost for only 40 percent of the success rate with no tangible effect on overall availability of drugs or on their usage? From an economic stand point, this doesn’t make any sense.

The other side of this is the human side. Many addicts have underlying psychological and physical conditions that they are self-medicating with their illicit, or in the case of tobacco and alcohol, legal substance of choice. For example, in some cases of depression a chemical in the brain called dopamine may be low. This can be elevated to normal levels with medication from a medical provider or can be extra-elevated with street drugs such as cocaine and meth. Someone who tries the illegal drug before getting medical treatment may continue to use the illegal drug to treat their depression eventually becoming physically dependent and an addict instead of treating their depression with medication and therapy.

There is, of course, much more to this debate than a blog post can allow but perhaps it is time for an honest debate about how we treat people who may be damaging themselves but have not committed any other crime against another person or someone else’s property. What do you think about this issue?

Mike Mines
Executive Vice President, Finance & Operations

 

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Psychology of Performance – 23 Shanti Bhavan

As many of you know I am functioning as an ambassador of the firm doing volunteer consultation at Shanti Bhavan, a school for very poor children in India who would have very few opportunities in life had they not been admitted to Shanti Bhavan.

I will provide some video/audio of the piano recital put on by the students of our former colleague Allegra Boggess and photos of the first ever Shanti Bhavan chess tournament, plus the two daily martial arts classes.

We had 97 children participate in the chess tournament. The chess boards range from those purchased at local stores to paper boards and pieces that were homemade. In addition, there are some pictures of the tae kwon do and jujitsu classes I am teaching. The classes are taught in the grass for falls and throws and on the clay/rock soccer fields – no mats, no air conditioning, and Frisbees for kicking pads.

From a performance stand point two important elements are represented in these examples.  First, high levels of performance can be achieved with few resources and making the best of those available. Second, enthusiasm, passion, and persistence, along with appreciation for the opportunity, can carry one to heights one may not have dreamed of.

www.shantibhavanonline.org

Namaste,

Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist

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