7 Ways to Maintain Mental Wellness Year Round

Posted on May 30, 2017

As Mental Health Month comes to a close, it‘s important to continue to focus on mental wellness throughout the year.  So often we place emphasis on improving physical wellness, that mental wellness does not receive the attention it deserves.

Mental wellness, defined by the World Health Organization, is a state of well-being in which every individual realizes their own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and is able to make a contribution to the community. The state of one’s mental health can influence the ways in which they look at themselves, their life and others around them. Without a healthy mental state it can be extremely challenging to live life to the fullest extent.

Check out these 7 simple tips for maintaining mental wellness provided by Mental Health America:

  1. Has something been bothering you? Let it all out on paper. Writing about upsetting experiences can reduce symptoms of depression
  2. Relax in a warm bath once a week. Try adding Epsom salts to soothe aches and pains and help boost magnesium levels, which can be depleted by stress.
  3. Spend some time with a furry friend. Time with animals lowers the stress hormone cortisol and boosts oxytocin which stimulates feelings of happiness.
  4. Work some omega-3 fatty acids into your diet. They are linked to decreased rates of depression and schizophrenia among their many benefits.
  5. Do something with friends and family. Have a cookout, go to a park, or play a game. People are 12 times more likely to feel happy on days that they spend 6-7 hours with friends or family.
  6. Take 30 minutes to go for a walk in nature. It could be a stroll through a park, or a hike in the woods. Research shows that being in nature can increase energy levels, reduce depression and boost well-being.
  7. Get off the grid. Leave your smart phone at home for a day and disconnect from constant emails, alerts and other interruptions that can cause anxiety.

Dedicating even a short time every day to your mental wellness will reap significant benefits long term.

Mental health conditions are common, treatable and many individuals go on to recover and lead full and productive lives. Unfortunately many people are reluctant to ask for help or simply don’t know where to find it. You can help ensure no one has to face mental illness alone. If you or someone you know feels overwhelmed or unable to cope, we encourage you to reach out for professional help.

For resources or more information about our services visit www.oaksintcare.org or call our Access Center: 1-800-963-3377

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Veterans Haven: Serving Those Who Served Our Country

Posted on May 28, 2017

After serving our country, many veterans face difficulties when they return to civilian life. Without structure and support, many of these men and women feel lost and may face hardships such as homelessness, unemployment, hunger, addiction or mental illness. Since 2008, Oaks Integrated Care has partnered with the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs to provide services for homeless or at risk veterans through the Veterans Haven program. The program provides transitional housing for veterans and emphasizes sobriety, employment and reintegration into the community. The Treatment Team, comprised of Addiction Specialists, Social Workers, RNs and Vocational Counselors, offers group therapy, job readiness, relapse prevention, health and wellness programs, life strategies, anger management, computer training and a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) group.

In 2013, The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey awarded Oaks a $24,000 grant to expand the Veterans Haven program to include administration of the Beck Depression Inventory for all residents. Those funds allowed us to implement more targeted services designed to address clinical depression efforts and ultimately reach our goal of reintegrating retired military personnel into their communities.

While there is still work to be done, Oaks Integrated Care is dedicated to serving those who served our country by ensuring all veterans in our area have a roof over their heads and receive essential services.

Meet Ben Ben spent 8 years in the United States Air Force honorably serving our country. After returning home from the military he found work as a car salesman and although he did not find the work fulfilling, it helped make ends meet. It wasn’t long however, before Ben lost his home through divorce proceedings and he soon found himself depressed, homeless, struggling with addiction and out of work.

Ben entered Veteran’s Haven in May of 2013 determined to build a more stable life. In addition to the staff support provided through his treatment plan, Ben shares, “The staff at Vets Haven truly care about us. They listen to us, give us advice and help us leave as a better person.” In fact, last year Ben had to have a bi-lateral hip replacement. Ben’s brother suffered many complications after having his own bi-lateral hip replacement, so, understandably, Ben had many fears about his upcoming surgery. He reached out to an Oaks Integrated Care staff member who was able to guide him through the surgery process and ease his anxieties.

While Ben continues to work through his addiction issues, he maximizes his time, diligently working on his certification in A+, Cisco and Juniper network engineering programs. In his own words, Ben explains “My time spent at Vets Haven me a great opportunity to restructure my life. I now have the tools to be successful.”

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Therapy Dogs Visit Oaks

Posted on May 25, 2017

To celebrate Mental Health Month this May, the Tri-State K-9 Crisis Response Team returned to Oaks Integrated Care for a 2nd year to teach us about their therapy dogs and the different services they provide! The therapy dogs serve children, families, neighborhoods and communities that are in crisis in an effort to provide comfort, stress relief, emotional support and crisis intervention services.  Teams will comfort victims of trauma, disaster, or violence fostering resilience and self-efficacy.

When asked about the process of becoming a handler/dog team on the crisis response team explained, “Each dog must have been a therapy dog for at least a year. The dog and handler need to have basic obedience skills, manners and be able to pass the certification test. The testing process is an evaluation of both the Handler and Dog.”

The organization currently consists of 35 handler/canine teams which conducted over 7,000 visitations in the last year to various locations such as homeless shelters, hospitals, universities, libraries, nursing homes and even flew to Florida after the Pulse Nightclub shooting. This year they hope to meet the goal of 10,000 face to face unduplicated visitations!

Some of the benefits of therapy pets for mental health include the reduction of loneliness, decreasing feelings of isolation and alienation, provide comfort, decrease anxiety and create motivation for recovery. Their sweet demeanors and unconditional love have a therapeutic benefit to those who face difficult health challenges. Those diagnosed with a range of health  issues such as depression, bipolar disorder, autism, ADHD, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and even Alzheimer’s disease have benefited from their interaction with therapy pets.

Thank you Tri-State K-9 Crisis Response Team for visiting and teaching us about the wonderful services you provide! To learn more about the organization visit: www.tri-statecanineresponse.org

At Oaks Integrated Care our role remains not just to provide mental health services but to bring awareness to the mental health issues that affect us all at some point in our lives. To learn more about our services, visit https://oaksintcare.org/services/ or call our Access Center 1-800-963-3377.

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Instagram Offers Mental Health Support

Posted on May 10, 2017

May is Mental Health Month!  As Oaks Integrated Care joins the Instagram community, we want to shed light on the strides the social media platform has taken to support mental health.

Instagram is one of the largest social media platforms in the world. Recognizing their ability to offer help and support, the photo sharing app has stepped forward in an effort to better the mental health of their users. Recently they introduced a new tool aimed at helping users who suffer from mental illness and depression through encouragement from friends and family.

1 in 5 people experience mental illness in a given year according to the World Health Organization and an estimated 350 million people suffer from depression. To offer support, Instagram’s new feature allows you to anonymously flag images should you come across something concerning in your feed. A message will then be sent to the account of the friend who posted the photo.  This message has been crafted by organizations such as the National Eating Disorders Association and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to ensure the message is worded in the best way to help rather than seem invasive.

The message will read: “Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we’d like to help.” This message is followed by different options for the individual to reach out to mental health experts.

Instagram also deleted triggers from their app. If you search a hashtag associated with self-harm you will notice that most have been hidden. Those that still exist now lead to support options for the user. This new feature will allow struggling individuals to understand that someone is taking notice and cares about their well-being. Instagram also offers various accounts that provide mental health resources and uplifting messages of support.

At Oaks Integrated Care our role remains not just to provide mental health services but to bring awareness to the mental health issues that affect us all at some point in our lives. To learn more about our services, visit https://oaksintcare.org/services/ or call our Access Center 1-800-963-3377.

Connect with us on our new Oaks Instagram page:
https://www.instagram.com/oaks_integrated_care/

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2017 Haddonfield Progressive Dinner Photos

Posted on May 8, 2017

Thank you to everyone who helped make the Haddonfield Progressive Dinner a success. This event would not be possible without the support of friends like you! Proceeds benefit the Oaks Integrated Care Food Pantries in Berlin and Mt. Holly. Visit our Flickr page to see all the fantastic photos from the Haddonfield Progressive Dinner.

Special Thanks to…

Todd and Chantelle Hart for hosting the hors d’ouvres portion of the evening.

Dinner Hosts

Brad & Anita Bendesky
Matt & Tina Caruso
John & Beth Master
Mike & Tracey Moyer
Sean & Amy O’Shea
Christopher & Maggie Poyatt
Jamie & Min Rowe
Jack & Barbara Tarditi
Eric & Lindsay Vest
Bill Judd & Nancy Weber

Chefs

Anthony Michael’s Catering
Brio Tuscan Grille
The Capital Grille
Catelli Duo
The ChopHouse
Cooking With Sofia
foodwerx
The Farm & Fisherman Tavern & Market
Iron Hill Brewery
Seasons 52

Thank you to all our generous sponsors!

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Diaper Derby – Help Families Like Jasmine’s

Posted on April 5, 2017

Our Diaper Derby is underway, NOW – April 15! One in three families in the United States struggle to provide a basic need for their babies – clean and dry diapers. YOU can help! Join our race to collect diapers and other baby items to help families just like Jasmine’s-

Four months ago, 17-year old Jasmine gave birth to a beautiful baby girl named Kira. Jasmine lost her mother at a young age and has no other living relatives. Now living on her own, she is determined to provide Kira with the life she deserves.

Before the baby was born, Jasmine became involved with our Teenage Parents Program (TAPP) where she receives mentoring, life skills training and help with parenting skills. She obtained a good part-time job and enrolled in community college courses. Since she does not qualify for any aid, the diapers received through Diaper Derby will make a huge difference to this young mother struggling to make ends meet.

Run Your OWN diaper Derby

Get your classmate, co-workers or community involved. Oaks can provide you with a toolkit including collection bins, posters and email templates.

*This is a great activity for middle and high school students!

Donate Items

Donation Ideas:
Diapers (adult diapers also needed)
Toiletries (cream, etc.)
Powder
Formula
Baby Wipes
Bibs/Feeding Towels
Bottles
Baby Food

*We cannot accept certain used baby items such as strollers, cribs and car seats due to possible recall. We do not want to put any child in danger.

Drop off locations:

770 Woodlane Road, Suite 15, Mt. Holly
128 Cross Keys Road, Berlin
1409 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill
31 Lexington Avenue, Ewing

Donate Online or by Mail

Mail monetary donations to:

Oaks Integrated Care
Attn: Development Office
770 Woodlane Road
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

Questions? Contact Addy Castellar at 609-267-5928 or aldelise.castellar@oaksintcare.org.

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You’re Invited: April 28 Haddonfield Progressive Dinner

Posted on March 31, 2017

Join us for a special evening… 
the Haddonfield Progressive Dinner!

  Proceeds from the event benefit the Oaks Integrated Care
Food Pantries which serve over 800 families a month.

Cocktails and Hors d’oeuvres
6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Hosted by Todd and Chantelle Hart 

Gourmet Dinner and Dessert
8:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Share an intimate dinner with friends prepared by a fabulous area chef
and served in a beautiful Haddonfield home of your choice.

Dinner Hosts
Brad & Anita Bendesky * Matt & Tina Caruso * John & Beth Master
Mike & Tracey Moyer * Sean & Amy O’Shea * Christopher & Maggie Poyatt
Jamie & Min Rowe * Jack & Barbara Tarditi * Eric & Lindsay Vest
Bill Judd & Nancy Weber

For More Information
about ticket sales or sponsorships, please
visit www.oaksintcare.org or call the Development Office at 609-267-5928.

Pictured: Last year’s Haddonfield Progressive Dinner hosts.
View more photos from last year’s dinner.

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Girl Scouts Learn to Budget and Give Back

Posted on March 23, 2017

Last week Girl Scout Troop 25033 dropped off food donations to our pantry in Mt. Holly and helped stock the shelves. The troop was working on their budgeting badge and took a trip to the grocery store to shop for donations. At the store they were each given $10 from their cookie sale profits and tried to get a breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack item. They looked for sales, comparing unit prices to find the best deals to see how far $10 can go.

Thank you Troup 25033 for supporting your community and donating food to Oaks Integrated Care Food Pantries!

Thanks to the generosity of community donors, we offer food assistance to over 800 families a month. As the need continues to increase, we need your help to keep our shelves stocked. YOU can make a difference in your community! Check out all the ways to can get involved: https://oaksintcare.org/get-involved/

 

 

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Join Our Race to 15,000 Diapers!

Posted on March 10, 2017

Get ready for Diaper Derby March 15 – April 15! Join our race to collect diapers and other baby items for families in need. One in three families in the United States struggle to provide a basic need for their babies – clean and dry diapers. YOU can help!

Run your OWN Diaper Derby
Get your classmates, co-workers or community involved. Oaks can provide you with a toolkit including collection bins, posters and email templates.

*This is a great activity for middle and high school students!

Donate Items Donation Ideas
Diapers (Adult diapers also needed)
Toiletries (cream, etc.)
Powder Formula
Baby Wipes
Bibs/Feeding Towels
Bottles
Baby Food

*We cannot accept certain used baby items such as strollers, cribs and car seats due to possible recall. We do not want to put any child in danger.

Drop off locations:

770 Woodlane Road, Suite 15, Mt. Holly
128 Cross Keys Road, Berlin
1409 Kings Highway North, Cherry Hill
31 Lexington Avenue, Ewing

Donate Online or by Mail

Mail monetary donations to:

Oaks Integrated Care
Attn: Development Office
770 Woodlane Road
Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

Questions? Visit our Diaper Derby page or contact Addy Castellar at 609-267-5928 or aldelise.castellar@oaksintcare.org.

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Don’t Miss Your Chance to Sponsor in 2017

Posted on March 3, 2017

Oaks Integrated Care needs your support as a corporate sponsor or advertiser! With the generosity of our community partners, we can provide critical programs for our area’s most vulnerable children, adults and families. As a sponsor, you will receive numerous marketing opportunities to help your company shine consistently as an advocate in our community.

Our 2017 sponsorship package includes 3 major fundraising events:

Haddonfield Progressive Dinner– April 28, 2017
Touch A Truck-
September 23, 2017
Moorestown Progressive Dinner– October 2017

Proceeds from the events will benefit the Oaks Food Pantries in Mt. Holly and Berlin which serve over 800 families a month in our community.

Your sponsorship will strengthen our capacity to provide health and social services while demonstrating your commitment to those in need. To learn more, visit our sponsorship page!

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