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News & Events

Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve and Catalpa Health partner to offer mindfulness activities

APPLETON, Wis. (July 10, 2018) – Catalpa Health is partnering with the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton to offer mindfulness walks for children and families at the nature preserve. The free program is available to the general public and will also be used as an activity tool for Catalpa providers who may recommend it to children and their families.

Nature has been known to help people relax, sleep better, lose weight, focus easier and provide many other health benefits. In 2007, the University of Essex found that within a group of people suffering from depression, 90 percent felt a higher level of self-esteem after a walk through a park, and almost three-fourths felt less depressed.

The program includes mindfulness activities that are self-directed, self-paced and support the services that are offered to Catalpa patients. In addition, these activities will also be available to guests of the Bubolz Nature Preserve for familes to use to engage their children with nature.

A few of the activities that will be offered include: guided breathing, stretching, sensory awareness, find and seek, family interaction and self-reflection questions. Catalpa therapists will incorporate the mindfulness trails into their treatment plans, encouraging clients and families to participate as part of their homework and goals.

To learn more about the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve, Catalpa Heath or any of the individualized activities in the ecotherapy program, visit http://bubolzpreserve.org/eco-therapy-mindfulness-walks/.

 

 

Catalpa Health child psychologist provides guidance for talking with children about school violence

APPLETON, Wis(March 7, 2018) – In response to the increasing number of school and public mass shootings across the U.S., Jillian Schuh, Ph.D., child psychologist with Catalpa Health, provides the following information for parents, teachers and teens. 

 

Talking with Children about School Violence

School violence, and in particular the most recent school shooting, can elicit many emotions. For students who experience it directly, it can be terrifying, traumatic and life-altering. Students who hear about these tragedies may also feel fearful, confused and helpless. Children often have questions about school violence, and the caring adults in their lives might also find themselves questioning how to help children cope with stories and images of shootings that can often be traumatic. In this time of uncertainty, the following suggestions are provided for parents and educators on how to discuss school violence and events in the media:

  • Start the conversation. Be willing to talk about school violence with your child. If you are anxious about the topic, chances are your child is as well. Recognize these feelings in yourself and use them as a guide to support both you and your child as you enter the conversation. Opening yourself to talk about school violence gives your child permission to do the same, and makes the topic less threatening. Give reassurance that it is okay to talk about these events, and it is okay to feel sad and scared. Use your own emotional state as a compass for when to check in with your child or when to pause in the conversation. There is no perfect moment to have these conversations. It is more important to approach the topic than waiting for the “right time.” Notice nonverbal cues that your child may want to talk, such as staying close to you as you do a chore, watching you quietly or wanting you to stay longer during their nighttime routine. Nonverbal cues, especially with younger kids, can also be an important indicator that your child may be struggling. You may notice your child is more withdrawn, irritable, restless or have difficulty concentrating.
  • Listen. What does your child already know? What have they heard from friends, family and the media? Find out what is being communicated at their school. Ask broad, open-ended questions to start the conversation (e.g., “What have you heard?”), keeping the focus on their responses. Notice when their perceptions may be different from reality, and provide correct information in age-appropriate language. Recognize underlying fears and acknowledge them.
  • Encourage questions and answer directly and honestly. Use your child’s questions as a guide. They can often shed light on how much information your child already knows. When giving responses, be mindful of your child’s age. A younger child may only need simple and brief information paired with reassurance of safety. An older child, who knows greater details about the events, may need more acknowledgement and validation of their emotional reactions. Be mindful to avoid offering false hope (e.g., “something like that won’t happen to you”), and instead acknowledge the possibility while emphasizing that these events are very rare. Talk about what is already being done to keep them safe.
  • Acknowledge uncertainty. It is okay not to have all the answers, none of us do. Validate your child’s emotional experience, and join with them as you are able. Provide hope as you are able. Responses such as, “I don’t have an answer to that. I’m sad and worried too, but one thing I do know is I’m here to care for you and keep you safe” or “Let’s see if we can figure that out together,” can provide comfort when there is no answer.
  • Emphasize safety. It is normal for children to hear about tragedies and become fearful about the possibility of these happening to them. Reassure that you, other adults in their life and their school work every day to keep them safe. Talk about what is already practiced at school to ensure safety.
  • Emphasize what they can do. School violence can lead students to feel powerless and helpless. Offer your child a sense of control by discussing what they can do to help ensure the safety of themselves and their peers. This might mean reviewing their school’s safety guidelines and reminding them to communicate safety concerns to school personnel and other trusted adults. Families might review plans for safety should a crisis happen at home. Remind them that they can always tell a trusted adult if someone makes them feel unsafe with their words or behavior. Model opportunities for change and coping; consider with your child possible ways to offer support and condolences to the victims and their families and emphasize moments of kindness within the midst of tragedy (e.g., the bravery of other students, heroic efforts of law enforcement, quick response from medical teams).
  • Monitor news and social media exposure. Be mindful of your child’s exposure to images and videos of school shootings. It may not be appropriate for younger children to have any exposure to this media content. With nonstop media coverage, be cautious about what your child may be overhearing even when they appear to be focused on other things, such as schoolwork or play. For school age children and teens that may use social media, be mindful of what your children are viewing and discussing with one another. Photographs and videos circulating on social media can be intense and graphic. Encourage your child to come to you if they view something distressing. Provide information on how these images have the potential to be anxiety provoking, upsetting and even traumatizing. Offer them permission to take a break from social media, and limit your child when necessary.
  • Seek support. If you recognize your child continuing to be fearful, sad, irritable or experience reoccurring and distressing thoughts of the event, they may be in need of greater assistance. Every child experiences trauma differently, and those with persisting symptoms may benefit from meeting with a mental health professional or school counselor.
  • Keep the conversations going. Children have different ways of responding to tragedy. Some may have many questions from the beginning. Others may be quieter, and it is important to be patient and encourage that they talk more when they are ready. Regardless of the initial response, invite your child to continue to talk about school violence. Let them know they can ask you questions any time and foreshadow that you may be checking in with them too.

Organizations across the nation are teaming together to provide supports to children and caring adults in their life in the aftermath of the recent school shooting. Below are additional resources:

For children and families in need of additional support:

Additional resources on talking with children about school violence:

For more information on the services provided by Catalpa Health, please visit www.catalpahealth.org.

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Catalpa Health provides mental health services including psychiatric evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations, psychological evaluations and concussion testing to children and teens, as well as mental health therapy to children, teens and families throughout the Fox Valley, Oshkosh and Waupaca. A collaboration of Ascension Wisconsin, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and ThedaCare, Catalpa Health believes in community partnerships and works with other mental health providers to ensure that all children and teens are receiving the right care at the right time, close to home.

Catalpa Health offers Sibshop series to support siblings of kids with mental health challenges

APPLETON, Wis. (Jan. 5, 2018) – Catalpa Health, a mental health and wellness service provider for children and adolescents in the Fox Valley, is offering the Sibshop Series to help siblings of children with mental health challenges. 

Kids ages 8 – 14 growing up with sisters and brothers with emotional and mental health concerns are invited to a special series of Sibshops® from January through May of 2018. The Catalpa Sibshop Series is a collaboration between Catalpa Health and WisconSibs and is funded by a grant from the Women’s Fund for the Fox Valley Region. As a result of the grant, the five Sibshops will be free for participants.  

Sibshops are celebrations of the important role of “typical” sisters and brothers of kids with disabilities and special health care needs. Led by trained facilitators, these workshops combine recreation, information, discussion and connection opportunities with other siblings in a lively, relaxed setting that emphasizes a kid’s-eye view of sibling issues. 

The sessions will be held on these Thursdays from 4:30 to 6 p.m.: Jan. 18, Feb. 15, Mar. 15, Apr. 26 and May 17. The April 26 event will also feature a separate parent discussion session. The location will be the Catalpa Heath Day Treatment Center located at, 1920 N. Casaloma Drive, just south of Fox Cities Stadium.   

To register for any or all of these sessions, call the WisconSibs office at 920-968-1742 or email info@wisconsibs.com. 

The Catalpa Series is in addition to the regular Sibshops, camps, social events and future planning sessions offered by WisconSibs, Inc. for siblings of various ages.  

For more information about these resources visit, www.wisconsibs.org 

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Catalpa Health provides mental health services including psychiatric evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations, psychological evaluations and concussion testing to children and teens, as well as mental health therapy to children, teens and families throughout the Fox Valley, Oshkosh and Waupaca. A collaboration of Affinity Health System, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and ThedaCare, Catalpa Health believes in community partnerships and works with other mental health providers to ensure that all children and teens are receiving the right care at the right time, close to home. 

 

New Catalpa Health Waupaca clinic celebrates opening with ribbon-cutting on Dec. 19

 

Public and media invited to Waupaca clinic open house event 

 

WAUPACA, Wis. (Dec. 5, 2017)Catalpa Health, a mental health and wellness service provider for children and adolescents, will celebrate the opening of its brand-new Waupaca clinic with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house on Dec. 19, from 7:30 to 9 a.m., and from 5 to 7 p.m.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony will commence shortly after 5 p.m. at the new clinic in the Waupaca Woods Mall, located at 815 W. Fulton St., Suite 6, Waupaca (map). Catalpa invites all media and the public to either the morning or evening open house to tour the new clinic, enjoy light refreshments and meet the staff who will be working at the Waupaca location.

Those interested in attending the event are asked to RSVP to community liaison Kristie Marx by emailing kristie.marx@catalpahealth.org or calling 920-750-7034.

The Waupaca clinic is open Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Wednesdays from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments can be made by calling 920-750-7000.

For more information on the services provided by Catalpa Health, please visit www.catalpahealth.org.

 

Considerations about “13 Reasons Why” series

by Jillian Schuh, PhD – Catalpa Health

A new Netflix series, “13 Reasons Why,” has received significant attention in both mainstream and social media for its depiction of teen suicide and mental health. Since its release, there has been much controversy. Proponents praise the series for creating dialogue around suicide, and critics express concern for its portrayal of suicide as a solution without discussion of prevention or seeking of mental health intervention.

Bullying, trauma, depression, and suicide are real issues for teens. Media portrayal of these situations can help to reduce stigma, but it is also essential that audiences learn facts surrounding mental health and options for treatment.  Viewing suicide as heroic or an opportunity for revenge is concerning.

Caregivers and adolescents are encouraged to discuss these topics, particularly suicidal ideation, openly as a family. “13 Reasons Why” is rated TV MA, meaning that it is designed to be viewed by adults; it may not be suitable for children under 17 due to graphic depictions of suicide and sexual trauma, as well as mature language.

Catalpa Health urges caregivers to think critically about the impact this can have on their teens, particularly those who are more impressionable or in vulnerable situations where they may be experiencing suicidal ideation and/or depression. Young viewers are encouraged to contemplate whether watching this show is an appropriate choice for them. Should they decide to watch, they are encouraged to view it with a family member or trusted adult. Talking points to assist caregivers, teachers, and teens in specifically discussing the series can be found here.

Whether you may be considering watching or have already viewed “13 Reasons Why,” the links below can be helpful in gaining perspective about the series, learning a better understanding of the cautions, and fostering positive and open conversation. No one is ever truly alone, and there are effective treatments for preventing suicide and alleviating mental illness.

Our final message to teens, families, and the community is to care for each other and ourselves, seek help when in pain, and never worry alone. Support from friends, family, and mental health professionals saves lives every day.

If you ever become concerned about the safety or welfare of yourself, a friend, or family member, please reach out to those who can help.

Additional resources:

American Psychiatric Association – 13 Mental Health Questions about “13 Reasons Why”

  • Provides 13 answers to important questions surrounding depression, anxiety, and suicide.

National Association of School Psychologists – “13 Reasons Why” Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators

  • Cautions and guidance for educators and their families, along with safe, positive messaging for students.

The JED Foundation – Netflix 13 Reasons Why: What Viewers Should Consider

  • Considerations, discussion points, and other resources surrounding “13 Reasons Why”

Post-Crescent – Netflix Series “13 Reasons Why” Sparks Concern

  • Local coverage from area experts regarding the series

May 2017

Day Treatment open house helps honor National Mental Health Month

 

APPLETON, Wis(April 26, 2017) – Catalpa Health, a mental health and wellness service provider for children and adolescents in the Fox Valley, is opening its doors to the public May 8 and 9 during National Mental Health Month for a behind-the-scenes look at its day treatment facility in Appleton.

Catalpa Health’s Day Treatment Center has been open nearly two years and has served 115 students grades 7-12. The program offers patients a highly structured and nurturing environment, individual and group therapy, occupational therapy, life skills training and psychiatric services.

Community members are invited to the day treatment center, located at 1920 N. Casaloma Drive, to tour therapy and group rooms, meet members of the team, get questions answered and enjoy light refreshments during each of the open house events: Monday, May 8, 4:30 – 7 p.m., and Tuesday, May 9, 7 – 9 p.m.

Those interested in attending the event are asked to RSVP to community liaison Kristie Marx by May 3 at kristie.marx@catalpahealth.org or by calling 920-750-7034.

For more information on the services provided by Catalpa Health, please visit www.catalpahealth.org.

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Catalpa Health provides mental health services including psychiatric evaluations, neuropsychological evaluations, psychological evaluations and concussion testing to children and teens, as well as mental health therapy to children, teens and families throughout the Fox Valley and Oshkosh. A collaboration of Affinity Health System, Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and ThedaCare, Catalpa Health believes in community partnerships and works with other mental health providers to ensure that all children and teens are receiving the right care at the right time, close to home.

Catalpa Health adds adolescent substance abuse services

APPLETON, Wis(Jan. 30, 2017) – With teen substance abuse on the rise, Catalpa Health has partnered with Ascension/Affinity Behavioral Health to provide adolescent substance abuse services, including assessments and individual appointment sessions at Catalpa Health’s Appleton treatment center, located at 444 N. Westhill Blvd. in Appleton.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one in five children start drinking alcoholic beverages by the time they reach eighth grade and one out of 20 high school students take opiates for non-medical reasons. The goal of Catalpa’s program is to provide a comprehensive approach for early intervention and treatment of substance abuse, and to educate and empower teens to make knowledgeable decisions.

“Teen substance abuse is a growing problem, not only for teenagers, but also for their parents,” Lisa Kogan-Praska, president and CEO of Catalpa Health, said. “The new program at Catalpa will help families catch these problems early on and give teens the tools they need to make the right decisions.”

Appointments can be made with Ascension providers Sonya VanBemmel, CSAC, ICS, and Angela Savides, LPC, SAC-IT, by calling Ascension/Affinity Behavioral Health at (920) 223-8570. For more information on Catalpa Health and the services it provides, visit www.catalpahealth.org.

Catalpa Health introduces innovative program to treat children with severe anxiety disorders

APPLETON, Wis(Jan. 26, 2017) – Catalpa Health, a mental health and wellness service provider for children and adolescents in the Fox Valley, is launching a brand-new program that will assist children suffering from anxiety learn to cope with related symptoms and provide specialized, individualized treatment plans from certified Catalpa providers.

 

The STARS program, Specialized Treatment for Anxiety and Related Symptoms, is for children ages 3 to 18 who have diagnoses of OCD, Tourette syndrome or other tic disorders, selective mutism, trichotillomania, excoriation, or specific or social phobias. Three clinicians, who all received specialized training through the National Behavior Therapy Training Institute, comprise the STARS program team: Erin VandenLangenberg, PhD, MPH, LP; Kim Charniak, MSW, LCSW and Gina Leonardelli, LPC, NCC.

 

“Many children and teens with these kinds of disorders avoid the things they love to do because of their anxiety symptoms,” VandenLangenberg said. “They miss school or isolate themselves from their families and friends and, if not treated, they can continue to experience symptoms into adulthood. Our goal is to help reduce symptoms of these anxiety disorders early on and help kids improve their functioning and get back to everyday life.”

 

Part of the program includes a specialized exposure therapy room where patients work with providers to overcome fears.

 

Children and adolescents currently being treated by a Catalpa clinician can be referred to the STARS program through their therapist, and new Catalpa patients can call (920) 750-7000 to connect with a member of the team and get started.

 

For more information on the services provided by Catalpa Health, please visit www.catalpahealth.org.

 

Scott Radtke named Catalpa’s Clinic Operations Director

APPLETON, Wis(Dec. 8, 2016) – Catalpa Health has named Scott Radtke, LPC, its new clinic operations director. Radtke is stepping in for Greg Blume, MS, LCSW, who has served as operations director since Catalpa’s founding in 2012 and is retiring after nearly 40 years in the health care field.

As the clinic operations director, Radtke will be responsible for overseeing most of the day-to-day clinic operations as well as program development and implementation. Radtke has served as the manager for Catalpa’s Day Treatment program since February 2016. He has worked in the counseling field for 20 years and brings to his new role significant clinical and leadership experience as well as a passion and commitment to the mission and families served at Catalpa.

Radtke earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology as well as his master’s in counseling from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh. Prior to working at Catalpa, he served as the associate dean of student health and wellness at Lawrence University. He will begin his new role as of December 26, 2016.  

For more information on the services provided by Catalpa Health, please visit www.catalpahealth.org.

Catalpa Health Day Treatment Center earns recertification from the State of Wisconsin

APPLETON, Wis. (Oct. 13, 2016) – The Catalpa Health Day Treatment Center has recently received recertification by the State of Wisconsin. The two-year certification is earned by centers that meet state standards in providing quality mental and behavioral health care to adolescents.

“Catalpa strives to provide quality and accessible mental health care to children and teens throughout the Fox Valley,” said Lisa Kogan-Praska, president and CEO of Catalpa Health. “Our Day Treatment Center offers youth a robust structure for mental health care.”

The Catalpa Health Day Treatment Center, located in Appleton, Wisconsin, opened its doors in September 2015 and provides a highly structured, nurturing environment, with ten- to twelve-week programs for grades 7 through 12. In addition to its structured programs, the Day Treatment Center has recently added a family night component which includes tutoring for teens, as well as support for their parents.

For more information on the services provided by Catalpa Health, please visit www.catalpahealth.org.