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Total Wellbeing: November 2018

 

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Physical Wellbeing, Happiness, and Your Workplace

Welcome to the November edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. The focus this month will be on the importance of your physical wellbeing and how to maintain good physical health and happiness while at your workplace. We will look at ways to focus on your health while at the workplace as well as the role that your employer plays in providing resources that you can utilize to reach your goals. This month is also Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. This is an important topic for all of us because the prevalence of Alzheimer’s means that almost everyone has someone in their life impacted by this disease at some point in their lives. Whether you are a caretaker, suffer from a form of dementia yourself, or know someone who is, take a look at our latest blog post here for updated information and resources that may help you or someone you know.

If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As a reminder, this newsletter is aimed at providing helpful information about various aspects of your wellbeing and then connecting it all back to important and relevant parts of our everyday life. As we near the end of the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Physical Wellbeing and Your Workplace

Physical wellbeing can be closely tied to your workplace. If you have a job where you are very active such as a construction type job or a job that keeps you on your feet all day then your job likely supports your physical wellbeing. However, if you have a job that requires long periods of sitting or requires strenuous positions or activity like getting into crawl spaces, or lots of repetitive motion, your physical wellbeing may suffer as a result of your work. If that is the case make sure you are being mindful and taking time out of your day to get up and stretch or are taking the necessary precautions to protect yourself from harm such as proper lifting techniques, back supports, knee pads, ergonomic workstations, or whatever it is that your particular job requires to lessen the impact on your body. If an opportunity to do these things is not available please make sure to ask your employer what can be done to provide you with the time, space, and resources to protect your physical wellbeing, in a reasonable way, while at work.

If you would like to talk to a counselor or wellness coach about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great Happiness at Work tips and webinars this month to focus on your wellbeing while also being productive at work. For more be sure to check out our “Assertiveness in the Workplace” infographic.

Question of the Month

What do you feel your limitations are in maintaining your physical wellbeing at work, and how might your co-workers and employer help you overcome these obstacles?

Quote of the Month

“If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done. Make at least one definite move daily toward your goal.”

– Bruce Lee

MINES Updates/Community World View

The daily commute to work is something most people throughout the world do and represents a distinct connection between the workplace and physical wellbeing. How people get to work directly affects their health. People who walk or bike to work or take public transit that requires walking to a bus stop or train station, tend to be in better physical health than those who drive or work from home with no commute. So how can those of us who must drive get the same benefit as those who have a more labor-intensive journey each day? Try changing up your routine and try biking once a week or more to work. Too far to bike? Try parking farther away from your workplace to give yourself a little walk time. Not only can this be a great chance to get your heart rate up, it can give you time to practice some mindfulness exercises to mentally prepare for the day, or even destress with some mindful walking and breathing exercises after a busy day. Looking for other ways to enhance you your Physical wellbeing but need motivation? Try looking for community support. Join a fun run or participate in national bike to work day with co-workers. Try organizing workout groups with friends and family or look online for community events.

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Check out this month’s webinar: 5 Generations in 1 Workplace

MINESblog:

Alzheimer’s Awareness Month Update

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINEs Archives

Contact Us

 

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!
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National Alzheimer’s Awareness Update

It’s November and of course that means that the holidays are just around the corner, but it also means that it is once again National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month.  You may see familiar buildings in the greater Denver area lit in purple to remind people that the quest for a world without Alzheimer’s is more determined than ever.

Much has happened since my blog entry last November.  All very positive, by the way.  I appreciate this opportunity to update you on many things that are happening in the field of Alzheimer’s/Dementia.  As a reminder, the reason for my passion and commitment around this subject is that three of our four parents were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease within a year and a half of each other, and they lived for 16, 14, and 11 years with the disease.  Although we lost our last “Lovie” four years ago, I remember vividly those many years of caregiving and how challenging it was to juggle work/life balance issues.

I have been with MINES and Associates for six years now and present a lunch and learn session called Alzheimer’s/Dementia A to Z to our client groups.  I am seeing attendees of all ages in the sessions and because we always end the presentation with an explanation of the twelve things we can all do at any age to reduce our risk for dementia or delay its onset. I am seeing more and more young people taking an interest in brain health.  I am also seeing an uptick in employees seeking coaching on the topic of Alzheimer’s/Dementia through the Employee Assistance Plan benefits that their employers provide.

One thing is for sure.  Going it alone while trying to care for someone with dementia is never recommended.  Our community offers a variety of resources to family care partners and I will talk about some of them in this posting.

But first, a quick update on promising research!  I continue to be the most optimistic I have been in years that a breakthrough is on the horizon.  So much going on!  One of the most interesting clinical trials is happening right here in the Denver area at the Rocky Mountain Alzheimer’s Research Center on the Anschutz campus.  My good friends and renowned neurologists Dr. Huntington Potter and Dr. Jonathan Woodcock are now in Phase III of the Leukine trial.  Leukine is a compound already approved by the FDA for bone marrow stimulation.  The Anschutz clinic team discovered that it might have possible benefits for Alzheimer’s as well.  Stay tuned – you may be seeing updates on the evening news about the great work being done here in our area.  There are also other promising angles on how to tackle Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.  Current thinking is definitely outside the box – many new cause and effect theories are now being explored by the medical and scientific community.

I spent a week in Washington DC in June this summer, representing the Alzheimer’s Association at our annual Public Policy Forum.  Our group spoke with every member of Congress and I am pleased to report that we got the $425 million in additional research funding we requested.  That will put the National Institute of Health’s Alzheimer’s research budget at $2.3 billion annually beginning in 2019. The National Alzheimer’s Plan that was written into law in 2010 calls for a prevention, treatment, and cure by 2025.  Hope has never been stronger that we are going to meet that goal and get this fixed.  By the way, when that finally happens, I will be throwing a party for the world so you will all be invited!

In the meantime, there is much work to do to educate, help, and support families who are living with Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia.  The number one question I am asked is what is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia.  A good way to explain it is to say that everyone with Alzheimer’s has dementia but not everyone with dementia has Alzheimer’s.  Vascular dementia from strokes, Lewy Body dementia, and Frontotemporal dementia are other forms of the most common dementias.  While Alzheimer’s accounts for approximately 65% of all cases of dementia, many primary care physicians may not be prepared to provide a specific diagnosis.  Asking them for a referral to a neurologist or geriatrician can help a family learn what type of dementia they are facing with their loved one.

While there are no treatments that stop the progress of dementia at this time, there are some drug therapies that may help with symptoms in some cases to some extent for some period of time.  Asking your specialist about these options can get a conversation started about what might be beneficial for your loved one.

Aside from the dementia coaching provided through the MINES EAP program, The Alzheimer’s Association provides a 24/7 helpline (800.272.3900) that family members can call regardless of what type of dementia their family is dealing with.  This is a powerful resource tool for caregivers who have questions or simply need to chat with someone about behaviors, etc.

Another organization that I am involved with is also at the forefront of trying to improve the quality of life for those living with all forms of dementia and their family care partners.  Dementia Friendly Denver is part of Dementia Friendly America, a not for profit, grassroots, all-volunteer initiative that was introduced at the White House Conference on Aging in 2015.  Our volunteer team is working on eight projects in the greater Denver area and you can check them all out at dementiafriendlydenver.org.  The goal of the projects is to make our community more dementia-friendly and to reduce the stigma surrounding the topic of dementia.

And please remember that you can still enjoy the holidays with family members with dementia.  The key is to practice the “Holiday Lite” approach.  Things don’t need to be extravagant or perfect.  Make sure holiday activities and outings are short in length.  Our Lovies wear out faster than we do.  An hour for us is like five hours for them.  And make sure holiday decorations that look like candy or food are out of the reach of those with dementia.  Be prepared for upsets due to the disruption of routines during the festivities and provide rest periods for everyone!

So in closing, as we enter November and National Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, remember that you are not alone.  Utilizing the dementia resources available throughout our city can help you get organized and knowledgeable.  And most importantly, don’t forget to take care of yourselves.  Respite care is available in our community and the Alzheimer’s Association can help you investigate options.  Exercising, taking walks, meditation, and outings with friends can help alleviate the stress associated with being a dementia caregiver.  Best wishes for a peaceful and enjoyable holiday season!  – JJ

 

JJ Jordan

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Total Wellbeing: October 2018

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Environmental Wellbeing and Investing

Welcome to the October edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month’s focus is going to be on environmental wellbeing which involves looking at how your surroundings impact your health. This can be your home, workplace, or city that you live in or the types of environments such as city, desert, mountains and so on. Environmental traits that can affect your health include air quality, noise levels, access to resources, and more. We will also be looking at investing basics and providing resources around tax tips and financial advice. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As a reminder, this newsletter is aimed at providing helpful information about various aspects of your wellbeing and then connecting it all back to important and relevant parts of our everyday life. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Environmental Wellbeing and Motivation

Environmental wellbeing and motivation can be very closely tied to one another. Think about your workspace. No matter what type of environment you work in, whether it be an office, a warehouse, or even outdoors, you work the best, are most productive, and have the most energy when everything is organized or to your preference. Likewise, clutter, loud noises, interruptions, and other things that contribute to a bad work environment can bog you down and make work less enjoyable and productive. Therefore it is important to do what you can to make sure that your work environment is set up for success. What this means is going to be different depending on where you work and how you prefer to work. While one person may like an impeccably clean workstation, another might actually prefer to have some clutter and things like decorations. To determine what environment works best for you ask yourself what feeds you energy and try and fill your environment with those aspects while removing what you think distracts or you or drains your energy and motivation. This translates to your free time as well. What kind of environments give you energy. Are you a person who thrives in the outdoors? Do you prefer an urban setting? Maybe quiet solitude at home is where you prefer. Try to identify the environments that you thrive in and make them your go-to for when you need to recharge your batteries.

If you would like to talk to a counselor or wellness coach about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great investment tips and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around a wide variety of financial topics and elder care. For more be sure to check out our “Investment Taxes” infographic.

Question of the Month

What are your key sources of motivation that inspire you day to day?

Quote of the Month

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says, ‘I’m possible’.”

– Aubrey Hepburn

MINES Updates/Community World View

People and communities thrive when the environments they live and work in are clean, safe, and sustainable. The saying “Think Global, Act Local” is a great way to connect the concept of environmental wellbeing with the larger scale of things. To keep our environments clean and safe it takes everyone working together. From simply cleaning up after ourselves, not littering, and recycling where possible, all the way to volunteering for cleanup crews or even organizing one yourself, everyone can take part in making sure us humans are responsible for the environment in a way that will keep our world safe and habitable for generations to come. Find out ways you can help by visiting the following sites depending on where you live, and we promise your environmental wellbeing will all the better for it!

Denver areas initiatives

River cleanup initiatives

Ocean cleanup initiatives

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Check out this month’s webinar on Investments 101

MINESblog Review:

MINES Archive 2017: Mental Health Awareness Resources 

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINEs Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Total Wellbeing: September 2018

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Financial Wellbeing, Elder Care, and Community

 

Welcome to the September edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at your Financial wellbeing, as well as community support, and eldercare. Check out the segments below to see how your financial wellbeing is connected to your community and how the overall wellbeing of your community is tied to the support that community members put in. Community is a big pie, we all have to help cook it! If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As a reminder, this newsletter is aimed at providing helpful information about various aspects of your wellbeing and then connecting it all back to important and relevant parts of our everyday life. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

Financial Wellbeing and Supporting Others in Your Community

The communities that we live in are only as good, as safe, and as supportive as the members of the community make them. Therefore, it is imperative that each member of a community strive to make a contribution in their own way. Whether it’s a neighborhood, a school, or even an entire city, every little part matters and adds to the greater whole in some way. As a member of your own communities, you should always be looking for opportunities to give back in meaningful ways. It can be something like working at a local homeless shelter or organizing a clothing drive. It can be something as simple as taking time out of your day to talk with or play a game with a lonely elderly neighbor. It can even be a financial act such as donating to a local charity or supporting l­­ocal businesses that you believe bring value to the people they serve. Providing support like this will help you make a bigger impact as well as enhance your own sense of community.

Financial wellbeing has a big connection to your surrounding community as well. The type of community in which you live affects the types of goods, services, and prices that are in the marketplace. Additionally, the ways in which you spend your money within the community affects how you live. For a community to thrive it is important that its members provide financial activity to keep it going. This includes the buying of goods and services, business investments, employees being paid, and even friends and family helping each other out with money problems from time to time.

Your financial wellbeing is made of many categories and it is just as important to give back to causes close to your heart as it is to make sure you are saving money for retirement.

If you would like to talk to a financial counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away or you can use your coaching sessions to work on your financial goals. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great planning tips and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around a wide variety of financial topics and elder care. For more be sure to check out our “Elder Communication” infographic.

Question of the Month

Do you have an estate plan set up for yourself? What about any aging loved ones?

Quote of the Month

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

– Mother Theresa

MINES Updates/Community World View

From the information above it is easy to see that financial wellbeing is one of the most scalable areas of wellbeing. From your personal bank account to the global economy, everything is connected. The more income you have the more you can buy, save, and invest. In turn this supports your community and affects the health of your local economy. From there the financial actions of your local businesses, service organizations, and bigger corporations make up the larger state and national economies. These along with the national economies from around the world make up the global market that is reflected in the stock market. The performance of these entities directly affects all of us in the form of pay rates, job markets, returns on investments and retirement plans, tax spending, and so on. This makes the old saying “every penny counts” take on a whole new perspective. So, the next time you are thinking of spending your hard-earned money, make sure you consider the down/upstream consequences on both a personal and community level.

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Check out this month’s webinar on Managing Toxic People

MINESblog Review:

The Importance of Walking and Talking

Break Free from Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINEs Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Total Wellbeing: August 2018

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How Challenging Relationships affect Your Spiritual Wellbeing

Welcome to the August edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at how your spiritual wellbeing and challenging relationships interact with each other.  If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Difficult Relationships Can Disrupt Your Spiritual Wellbeing

First, we would like to define Spiritual Wellbeing as it can be misinterpreted. We are not here to discuss various religions or belief systems. Spiritual Wellbeing as defined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is simply your sense of purpose, feeling of belonging, and ability to find meaning in the world around you. Everyone nourishes their spiritual wellbeing in their own way. Looking at this that definition it is probably easy to see how difficult relationships and hostile people might disrupt your sense of purpose, place, and meaning, especially as it applies to the workplace. If a particular relationship in your personal or professional life is difficult right now, ask yourself:

  • Is this person always this way or just this way once in a while?
  • Is this person having a hard time right now that might be affecting their behavior?
  • Are you having a hard time right now that may be affecting your feelings and the way you see things?
  • Do you often enjoy this relationship, or do you mostly feel hurt?

If the things another person says to you or does to you make you feel hurt and the person won’t stop doing those kinds of things, he or she should not be in your life. It is always your choice whether or not to have a relationship with another person. Reach out to others for information and advice, but the final decision should always be yours.

 

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Difficult Personalities” infographic.

Question of the Month

What are the things in your life that help give you a sense of belonging?

Quote of the Month

“This above all; to your own self be true.”

– William Shakespeare

MINES Updates/Community World View

Today’s world is full of “us or them” mentality. This can be seen in the current political climate, social media movements, and cultural issues and it can often be tough to find your place in all of the chaos. At these times it is often best to take a step back and try and get away from the noise and constant feed of information. Get offline, go somewhere peaceful so that you have a chance to catch your breath and connect with yourself and reflect on your own thoughts away from the barrage of outside opinions and demands. Then when you return to the daily rush, make sure to keep that connection with yourself.

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Check out this month’s webinar on Managing Toxic People

MINESblog Review:

The Importance of Walking and Talking

Break Free from Shoulda Woulda Coulda

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINEs Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Total Wellbeing: July 2018

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Social Media, Family, and Your Intellectual Wellbeing

Welcome to the July edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at intellectual wellbeing with a focus on social media and your family. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

 

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

The impact of social media on your family and intellectual wellbeing

Social media is a key part of our culture, our expression, and our connectivity. From using social media as a platform for expressing opinions to sharing pictures with family and friends, social media has many applications. Your intellectual wellbeing can be improved by social media by giving you access to information and topics of interest to you. It also allows you to look at things differently and to explore topics that pique your interest you may not have investigated otherwise. Using social media with your family allows you to connect in different ways, stay close if you are far apart, and to keep up with their new adventures or read about their experiences. It is also important to remember that Social Media can impact your intellectual wellbeing negatively. As we have been reminded in the last several months, your preferences are tracked throughout social media and the articles you choose to read may influence the other articles that show up in your news feed or advertisements in your apps. This can help shift your perspective one way or another and unless you are vigilant to check out information outside of your readily available feed to find out the whole story. It is also important to take time away from social media or using the internet to engage in good old-fashioned face to face time with your friends and family members. Don’t forget that these people in your life can engage your intellect as well. Learn new and amazing things from the children in your life. They can have a fresh perspective or may be studying something new and cool in school they can share. Or take advantage of one of the most popular knowledge sharing methods of human history and tap into the vast life experience of your older family members. It doesn’t always have to be about shares and likes!

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Internet Mindfulness” infographic.

Question of the Month

When was the last time you asked a family member how they would handle a situation?

Quote of the Month

“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

– Benjamin Franklin

MINES Updates/Community World View

There is so much knowledge that each culture and community has to share, from tricks to make the best pasta to how to clean off stains from clothing, to traditions around how to engage your family. Take time this month to talk to a co-worker, friend, or family member and see what you can learn from them to help improve your intellectual wellbeing and what tidbits you can impart on them as well.

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Check out this month’s webinar on Harnessing the Power of Social Media

MINESblog Review:

Foster Families and Mental Health

John Oliver: Rehab, Last Week Tonight Psychology of Performance

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINEs Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Total Wellbeing: June 2018

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Stress Management is key to your Occupational Wellbeing

 

Welcome to the June edition of TotalWellbeing, your guide to the 8 dimensions of wellbeing. This month we are going to take a look at occupational wellbeing with a focus on reducing stress in the workplace and things you can do to help yourself and your fellow employees maximize workplace satisfaction. If you missed us last month you can catch up on our newsletters page. As we make it through the year we will continue to emphasize the concept of community and look at how our actions affect our community, country, and in some cases the rest of the world.

To your total wellbeing,

The MINES Team

How Your Employer can support your Occupational Wellbeing

Occupational wellbeing is maximized by finding ways to increase your personal satisfaction and enrichment from your work. Your co-workers, supervisor, and employer are all key players that can help you increase your occupational wellbeing. The next time you talk to your supervisor whether it is during your 1:1 or during a review period, take a moment to discuss your stressors, your thoughts for improving your workplace, and what support you would like when it comes to your wellbeing. It may be as simple as finding a training for you to attend or redesigning your cubicle or it could be a more complex solution around how to reduce your scheduled meetings or giving you support from someone else to finish a task. No matter what would help improve your work-life and reduce stress, it is important to let those you work with know about how they can support you, and in turn, how you can support them. You never know when your idea might be the same thing that others have been thinking of will help improve the whole department’s wellbeing.

If you would like to talk to a counselor about these topics, please call us at 1-800-873-7138 to get connected right away. Also, PersonalAdvantage has some great tools and webinars this month to improve your knowledge around dealing with stress and maximizing your life by reducing worry. For more be sure to check out our “Stress/Health Connection” infographic.

Question of the Month

What is one thing you might be able to change that would help you do your job better and be happier doing it?

Quote of the Month

“Adopting the right attitude can convert a negative stress into a positive one.”

– Hans Seyle

MINES Updates/Community World View

If you don’t have a wellness committee, now is a great time to start. A wellness committee is a perfect place for these ideas to come to fruition and help give you the satisfaction and enriching your work life needs. There are a lot of ways a wellness committee can work, and if you ever need some ideas, MINES would be happy to help. Additionally we invite you to outreach Health Links to have them assist you with developing your program or give you advice on how to help improve your occupational wellbeing. Also consider gathering ideas about how your own employees reduce stress and share those ideas amongst everyone. Or check out any one of the great webinars, blogs, or infographics on our site to share with your co-workers and friends. Stress is universal and it is always good to discover new ways to deal with it.

If you or a member of your household needs assistance or guidance on any of these wellbeing topics, please call MINES & Associates, your EAP, today for free, confidential, 24/7 assistance at 800.873.7138.

This Month’s Focus

Check out this month’s webinar on Minimizing Worry to Maximize Your Life

This Month on MINESblog:

Foster Families and Mental Health

John Oliver: Rehab, Last Week Tonight Psychology of Performance

Check out this Month’s Infographic

Important Links

Visit our BLOG

MINES and Associates

2018 Training Catalog

Balanced Living Magazine

LinkedIn

MINEs Archives

Contact Us

Email MINES

mines_logo_blue MINES does not warrant the materials (Audio, Video, Text, Applications, or any other form of media or links) included in this communication have any connection to MINES & Associates, nor does MINES seek to endorse any entity by including these materials in this communication.  MINES accepts no liability for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided herein, nor any additional content that may be made available through any third-party site. We found them helpful, and hope you do too!

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Foster Families and Mental Health

Happy National Foster Care Month

Several important subjects are tackled in the month of May. Two of them I will be addressing here. May marks National Foster Care Month and Mental Health Awareness Month. Those that work within the foster system are well aware of the issues and concerns around mental health in this subset. Between the abandonment that the majority of these kids feel, to the oversaturation of kids in the system and lack of foster families, all parties are susceptible lack of resources, energy, resilience, and understanding about how to handle the emotional situations that are bound to happen.

Personal Perspective on Foster Care

My husband and I have been working with foster families for five years. Since we do not have kids of our own, we have found a way to work with a group of kids that are severely in need of love, understanding, patience, and support. We work with those who have their own biological kids and yet have opened their home to others in need. We have found that these foster parents lack the support and sometimes understanding of how to give themselves self-care or how to support the emotional needs of the kids in their home. The first family we started working with had a set of siblings who brought forth a lot of complications, concerns, and opened their eyes to how little they really were prepared for this change in their lives. This brought into focus various ways how we can help families traverse this experience.

Examples of Mental Health Concerns within the Foster Family

Lack of Basic Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence comes in many forms and levels of understanding. Just type in that term and thousands of articles will come up on it and how you can improve your “emotional intelligence.” Most people have some level of understanding emotions and how to differentiate how between various emotions and can recognize those emotions in others. However, most children coming into the foster care system do not understand mad, sad, glad, and the variations that come from these basic feelings. They can’t describe how they feel, and the most can’t express their feelings without throwing a tantrum as that was the only way they could get attention at home.

Foster parents often are uncertain the best way to deal with the lack of emotional understanding of the foster kids. Another dynamic happens when the foster children leave the foster home to be reunited with their biological family. Foster families aren’t often shown how to express their feelings around this with their own kids or their foster children. Teaching families that grief is natural and it is ok to feel various emotions is vital and sorely lacking in my opinion. I think that the movie, InsideOut, was a blessing as we use those characters all the time when we are teaching parents and kids how to express different emotions and talk to each other about what they are feeling in a way that the whole family can understand.

Consequences around Lack of Information

We worked with a family who was fostering 3 kids between the ages of 7-11. The oldest witnessed horrible things his younger siblings went through with trusted family members. Due to this, this child’s emotional age was stunted at 5 years old. The 11-year-old also came from another family that had placed this child on psychotropic drugs to help control their mood swings and poor sleeping habits. This medication variant added another layer that the foster family was unprepared for and was unsure the best action-whether the child should stay in the home or not. The sibling group had an unspoken history and acted as a team against the foster family. These siblings struggled to share anything in therapy and since foster parents do not generally have the rights to hear about what happens in therapy, there was a wall between these kids and the foster family.

The foster family ended up making the hard decision to have the 11-year-old leave their home, but they kept the other two. Due to the lack of knowledge of what happened and the limited access to Medicare therapists, the whole family suffered. The remaining foster kids grieved losing their sibling, and the foster parents were unsure if they made the right decision or to remove the child.

The Effects of Extreme Emotional Turmoil

Another case we have seen revolves around a 12-year-old child went to a home with other kids in it. This child had been in the foster system for 10 years and had a history of being moved around the system, along with going through the adoption process.  This child was on ten different medications and labeled as ODD, RAD, and ADHD. Although the system readily accepted these medications and diagnoses, the foster system restricted access to therapy, support at school, and tools to help this child process their past. This began a 1.5-year cycle of the child threatening suicide, attempting suicide, and threatening the other kids in the home.

Once theft and continual lying was added to the mix, the foster parents had to make the difficult decision to remove this child from the home. The bio-children in the home were devastated, angry, confused, and totally unprepared on how to handle this turmoil. The foster parents struggled with guilt, grief, and burn out between the drawn-out hospital stays, the having to drop everything, and the effort to have this not affect the other children in the home. The relief they felt when the child wasn’t in the home made them feel guilty, the emotions of seeing what he put himself through strained their relationship about how to handle it, and the destruction and stealing of property put them in a difficult situation of deciding what was best for the child and the family. Again, lack of training by the foster system or support to the whole family system around resilience, becoming trauma-informed, and how to give yourself a break as parents was all very hard to witness.

The Need for Training in Foster Families

Although the foster system has access to legal, financial, medical, educational, and mental health services, generally foster parents aren’t told how to access these. In the age of focusing on emotional resilience and work/life balance, these foster families aren’t taught how to do this within the confines of having foster kids. We need to find ways to support our foster families better and give them better access to mental healthcare for the whole family. We need to find ways to give them access to training on emotional resilience and how to do self-care.

Emotional Resiliency

You don’t get to go home and escape the stressors when you are a foster family. You don’t get to take time off when you need it to restore your energy. It is a 24/7 job and unless you have others who tell you to pace yourself or offer you resources, you will burnout as a foster parent. We see this in all the horrible stories of the poor conditions of foster homes or the additional trauma and lack of supportive care the foster children receive in some foster homes. We need to teach those who are foster families (yes the bio-children and foster children too) about resiliency and how to thrive through whatever life throws at you. Here is a great resource around resilience strategies. Also, if you are a MINES client, you have access to a great online resilience program.

Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma/Vicarious Trauma/Burnout

When a child is suicidal or has severe attachment issues, it can be draining to deal with the continual manipulation or the dynamics these mental health conditions can bring into a home and it is easy for families to experience compassion fatigue. When a child finally breaks down and expresses they don’t know how to read and that is why they ditch school or when they share their story of seeing their family die in a fire, foster families need to learn how to recognize secondary or vicarious trauma as they take these stories to heart and want to help these kids out. When the school system says the child doesn’t qualify for assistance or the medical system says the child has maxed out their allotted therapy sessions and hospital stays for the year, burnout can be high. By recognizing these terms and having others close to you keep an eye out for the symptoms, foster families can prepare themselves for the inevitable.

Self-Care

The biggest thing we see lacking is self-care amongst foster parents. Respite Care is an important option for all foster families to take advantage of. Some don’t want to use the respite system as it disrupts the schedule of the foster children and family in general. Some don’t use it as then they still have their bio-children who want their undivided attention while the other children are out of the house. Some use it but don’t know what to do with their time once the children are temporarily out of the home. The web has some great resources on ways to do self-care and there are plenty of articles on it. Two of the easiest things to do is to practice mindfulness and taking time to do things for yourself/loving yourself.

What can you do?

As an Outsider

If you know someone who is a foster parent, thank them. Offer to babysit the whole crew for an evening so they can go have a night out. Offer to make them dinner one night. See if they are connected to a foster support group, and if they aren’t, offer them a list of some, and even offer to go with them. We all need to talk to someone who understands what you are going through. Or help do laundry- extra kids means extra laundry and less time for family time.

And the same goes for the foster kids. Some of these kids have been through literal hell. Some have been abused in ways they don’t even recognize. Some struggle with why they are being removed and whether or not they are loved. The best thing you can do is find ways to connect and support these kids. It isn’t their fault their parents are unable to have them. Regardless of their behaviors or struggles, there is something you can do for them- show them unconditional kindness and love. If they are involved in sports, go see their games. If they are selling chocolate for school, buy some. Find ways to give foster kids a special experience or memory. One thing we do is take them to an ethnic grocery store and let them try various fruits and foods that they have never been exposed to. If all of us can share a bit of ourselves with these kids, then these kids have a better chance of thriving wherever they end up. This website is a great resource and there are plenty of other blogs and stories how you can help those who are in the foster care system. As an outsider, be that person foster kids can come to, feel loved, and help them find good outlets for their anger, frustration, and hurt.

As a Foster Care Provider

If you have time and can become a respite provider, do. If you become a foster parent, take time for self-care, take time to do training and prepare yourself, and consider all the things that can come along with a child before you make the commitment. If you are interested in being a CASA or a GAL, do the research and use your skills. Become a Big Brother or Big Sister or with another support type groups to help kids through the trauma and struggles of growing up without a bio-family or changing home situations. In whatever function you are in, find a support group, get connected with others, and give yourself a break when you falter or struggle. Be prepared to struggle and have a good support team that you see regularly to help you recognize when you start to show signs of secondary trauma or compassion fatigue as it will happen.

Personally, even though we do make sure that we take care of ourselves and our needs so that we don’t suffer from burnout/compassion fatigue, we have found at times to have certain memories burned into our brains and have experienced secondary trauma. We have seen a child draw a dead tree because trees don’t deserve to live and a house with a danger room. We have seen babies stagnate developmentally due to what their mother did while they were pregnant. We have been with families as they received the news of what happened in the biological home and watch it tear them apart. Through it all, we have had to come up with strategies to move past these tragic events and not let those traumatic memories affect our daily lives or interactions with kids.

Final Thoughts

Not all foster care agencies falter when it comes time to prepare foster families and not all foster kids suffer severe mental health conditions. Not all stories are tragic or heartbreaking. We have seen parents truly change their lifestyle or other relatives step up and bring the family back together. Some of these stories are wonderful and heart-warming. However, not all re-unifications result in a positive outcome. Regardless of what you do or how you choose to interact with the foster care system, resiliency, training, and self-care are important.

If you are financially able to support agencies or support groups, please do. There are some great agencies out there are trying to supply the resources needed for foster children and foster families. If you are able to provide free trainings or webinars, find a group to do that for.

MINES would be happy to talk to you more about how you can support your employees who may be foster parents and how EAP services can assist them through the journey they have decided to take. If you are interested in learning more about MINES EAP and PPO program, feel free to contact us at 1-800-873-7138 or at info@minesandassociates.com.

To Your Wellbeing,

Raena Chatwin

The MINES Team

 

 

References and Suggested Reading

Joanne Riebschleger, Angelique Day & Amy Damashek (2015) Foster Care Youth Share Stories of Trauma Before, During, and After Placement: Youth Voices for Building Trauma-Informed Systems of Care, Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 24:4, 339-360, DOI: 10.1080/10926771.2015.1009603

Barbell, K., Wright, L. (2001). Family Foster Care in the Next Century. New York: Routledge. https://www.taylorfrancis.com/books/e/9781351320474

Erum Nadeem, PhD, Jill Waterman, PhD, Jared Foster, PhD, Emilie Paczkowski, PhD, Thomas R. Belin, PhD, and Jeanne Miranda, PhD. (2016) Long-Term Effects of Pre-Placement Risk Factors on Children’s Psychological Symptoms and Parenting Stress Among Families Adopting Children From Foster Care . Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders 25:2, 67 – 81, https://doi.org/10.1177/1063426615621050

Moira A. Szilagyi, David S. Rosen, David Rubin, Sarah Zlotnik. Health Care Issues for Children and Adolescents in Foster Care and Kinship Care. The Council on Foster Care, Adoption, And Kinship Care, The Committee On Adolescence And The Council On Early Childhood Pediatrics, Oct 2015, 136 (4) e1142-e1166; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2015-2656 https://goo.gl/inDxcD

Great Websites to check out

http://www.ncsl.org/research/human-services/mental-health-and-foster-care.aspx

https://www.childwelfare.gov/fostercaremonth/resources/parents/

http://nfpaonline.org/foster

http://www.nationalfostercare.org/national-foster-care-month.html

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MINES & Associates’ Cutting-Edge Opioid Complex Case Management Program

MINES & Associates innovative opioid complex case management program helps manage treatment, control costs, and combat predatory facilities amid growing opioid crisis

MINES & Associates (MINES), a nationally recognized business psychology firm, helps self-insured organizations with its innovative Opioid Complex Case Management Program aimed at improving treatment and reducing costs of opioid abuse treatment cases. The program counters the egregious exploitation of clients by predatory treatment facilities.

MINES has been at the forefront of managed care services, providing complex case management services that produce cost-effective care in the least restrictive settings. MINES has saved its self-insured clients tens of millions of dollars while ensuring that the patient has received appropriate care.

MINES accomplishes this through an aggressive complex case management protocol designed to communicate directly with the patient and their family regarding costs, treatment, expectations for the facility regarding pre-certification, concurrent review, discharge planning, and long-term aftercare. MINES limits the number of UAs, mitigates costs to usual and customary or Medicare percentages, requires immediate discussion of discharge planning and family involvement, and re-integration into the patient’s community. These patients require long-term aftercare and support from case management.

MINES complex case management protocol functions as a patient advocate service to help patients navigate the treacherous array of predatory facilities, where, in some cases, case rates can run from $100,000 to over $1,000,000when care costs should be in the $9,000 to $30,000 range at a credible facility. The patient is often compromised by their drug use and cannot make informed choices regarding their own care. The patient’s family often does not understand the patient’s in network/out of network benefits and may just “google” treatment without precertifying care. MINES helps them cut through all the lies, misinformation, and noise to get the appropriate level of care needed.

About MINES & Associates

For over 37 years MINES & Associates has been a nationally recognized, award-winning business psychology firm that provides a variety of services to employers including employee assistance programs (EAP), managed mental healthcare, organizational development services, wellness programs, behavioral risk management, disease management, PPO services, and other behavioral health programs serving a diverse portfolio of clients nationwide.

Please visit www.minesandassociates.com for more information on MINES.

To Your Wellbeing,

The MINES Team

For full press release visit: https://goo.gl/pLMv1E

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Mental Health Awareness Month 2018

It is time once again in 2018 to refocus, converse, reevaluate, plan, and take action around mental health issues and substance abuse. While this battle rages all year, Mental Health Awareness month (every May) is a time where organizations, healthcare providers, and individuals can share their story to highlight how they fight on the front lines against these issues and for those that those who struggle with mental health issues and substance abuse every day to share their story to help spread awareness and inspire hope in those who may need it most. To look at this issue(s) objectively it is important to look at the data behind it all. Who is affected? How many are seeking care? What programs are there that exist to help those in need? These questions are not new, we ask them every day, but for those that don’t work at an organization that provides mental health services or those that may not suffer from a mental health issue themselves, the problem is a little less visible and these questions are a little more foreign. So, let’s look at, and answer, some of those questions now.

Who is affected

US General Stats:

  • 1 in 25 adults are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 1 in 5 are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness
  • There are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, including Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and specific phobias to name a few. Collectively they are among the most common mental disorders experienced by Americans.
  • Approximately 10.2 million adults in the U.S. have co-occurring mental health and addiction disorders.
  • Serious mental health illnesses cost people $193.2 billion in lost earnings every year in the U.S.
  • Nearly 60% of adults with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.

Men:

  • 3% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 14.3% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
  • Men die from suicide at twice the rate as women.
  • 6 milling men are affected by depression per year in the U.S.
  • The Top 5 major mental health problems affecting men in the U.S. include Depression, Anxiety, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis and Schizophrenia, and Eating Disorders.
  • Men are significantly less likely to seek help for mental health issues than women. Causes for this include reluctance to talk, social norms, and downplaying symptoms.

Women:

  • 5% are currently diagnosed with a serious mental illness; 21.2% are currently diagnosed with some sort mental illness.
  • 12 million women in the U.S. experience clinical depression each year. Roughly twice the rate of men.
  • Although men are more likely than women to die by suicide, women report attempting suicide approximately twice as often as men.
  • Many factors in women may contribute to depression, such as developmental, reproductive, hormonal, genetic and other biological differences (e.g. premenstrual syndrome, childbirth, infertility, and menopause).
  • Fewer than half of the women who experience clinical depression will ever seek care. And Depression in women is misdiagnosed approximately 30 to 50 percent of the time.

Kids:

  • 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; 75% by the age of 24.
  • 20% of 8 to 13 year of age in the U.S. will be diagnosed with some sort of mental illness in their lifetime.
  • Girls 14-18 years of age have consistently higher rates of depression than boys in this age group.
  • Nearly 50% of kids with a mental illness did not receive care in the previous year.
  • LGBTQ adolescents are twice as likely to attempt suicide than non-LGBTQ youths.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.

 

Sources: click the links for more stats and infographics.

How many are seeking care?

The short answer to this one is “not enough.” A recent report from SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration) state that only 1 in 5 adults with a mental illness are receiving treatment. This statistic combined with an uncertain future for Medicare and mental health funding means that employers are often the only path to access help for those in need through health insurance benefits, employee assistance programs, and wellness programs.  These alarming statistics also bring to light how common it is for these issues to affect the workforce, and simultaneously its productivity. So, whether someone is directly suffering from a mental health issue or not, this is a problem that affects every last person in one way or another.

Why we do what we do

If you found the above statistics surprising, you must be new to the mental health conversation because these are nothing new. Mental health is an area that struggles to retain consistent support and funding from public and private sources. Mental health programs, care providers, facilities, non-profit organizations, and even programs like MINES’ Employee Assistance Program have to constantly justify themselves and (re)prove the value it what they/we do. A combination of the invisible nature of many mental health conditions and the stigma behind talking about these issues and seeking care makes it difficult to see just how pervasive of a problem these are in the US as well as the much of the rest of the world. In some areas of the world, mental health disorders can land you in jail or worse.  It is not a “sexy” topic so the media only really rallies around the topic when something happens like a mass shooting, celebrity rehab incident, or some other sensation worthy event. This is a tragedy in and of itself because if we as a nation could just remain committed to improving the support system, communication, and available resources around mental health, so much of this loss of life could be prevented. This is why we, MINES and every other care provider, organization, and individual fights this all too silent war every day.

The relationship between mental health and substance abuse

This month is also about a very closely related issue to mental health,  substance abuse. A large percentage of people with mental health disorders also experience issues with substance abuse, and vise versa. In fact, according to a SAMSHA study, nearly 27% of people with a mental health disorder use illicit drugs, which is over twice as much as the rate of the general population. And of the approximately 8.7 million people that suffer from both mental health issues and substance abuse, only about 7% receive treatment for both issues and a staggering 56% don’t receive treatment for either issue at all. With these numbers, it’s easy to see that there is a huge correlation that links these devastating nationwide issues. Enter prevention week.

Prevention week

This year SAMHSA is spearheading Prevention Week, May 13-19, to help spread awareness of both mental health issues, as they do year around, as well as the prevailing substance use issues that are running rampant without any sign of slowing down. We encourage you to check out their site for more information on prevention week and to see how you can support them and your community in the fight. Check out these links for information on all of the above:

Below is a list of other important resources that can help you if you or someone you care about is suffering from a mental health issue, depression, substance abuse, or if you just need someone to talk to. Many are free, community-based resources that won’t cost you anything but your time. And of course, as MINES and Associates provides Employee Assistance Programs, we encourage you to use one if your employer offers one. EAPs are a great free and confidential resource that can help you, and in many cases, your family/household members, get in touch with a counselor and start the journey to better mental wellbeing. EAPs can also help with a large variety of other work/life issues that may be affecting you like work/life balance, financial issues, fitness, nutrition, and more.

Resources

  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Treatment Referral Helpline
    • 1-800-662-HELP
  • National Institute for Mental Health – nimh.nih.gov
  • NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – nami.org
  • Mental Health America – mentalhealthamerica.net
  • Mental Health America of Colorado – http://www.mhacolorado.org/gethelp
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America – adaa.org
  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance – dbsalliance.org
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline – suicidepreventionlifeline.org
    • 1-800-273-8255
  • First Responder Crisis Text Line
    • Text “Badge” to 741741
  • Military/Veterans Crisis Line/Resources
  • National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention – actionallianceforsuicideprevention.org
  • United Way- unitedway.org/local/united-states/

SAMHSA

  • Help and Treatment
    • samhsa.gov/find-help
  • Child mental health resources
    • samhsa.gov/children/awareness-day/2018/resource-list-traumatic-stress

Going forward

What can we do going forward? Stay loud. Keep talking. Keep writing congress about mental issues that affect you and those you love. Don’t let them wait for there to be a tragic event before the issues get put on their desk. Continue to vote for people that believe in what we do and what needs to be done. Continue to support organizations that are making strides in the right direction. Continue to demand benefits from employers that do more than just the bare minimum to support our mental health. Change is possible but it going to take more than an awareness month. It’s going to take people, all of us, coming together and making this an issue that’s bigger than a month, an issue that cannot be ignored or scapegoated. So, take the rest of this month help spread awareness, and then use next month keep marching, keep shouting, and continue to come together to push change forward because no one is going to do it for us.

 

To your wellbeing,

Nic Mckane

The MINES Team

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