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NAMI Tallahassee April Newsletter


In This Issue

Letter to NAMI Tallahassee NAMI Florida: Update on COVID-19 How I’m Managing My Mental Health During COVID-19, What About You?  Surviving Working Remotely Capital Regional Behavioral Health Center Offers Two New Intensive Outpatient Programs NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group NAMI Homefront Online Is Open! The Gathering IV Peer Conference Apalachee Center will Continue Mental Health Services During Coronavirus Pandemic Certified Recovery Peer Specialist Credential Webcast Important Numbers & Sites NAMI Tallahassee - 850-841-3386 NAMI Tallahassee Website - NAMI Tallahassee Facebook - 2-1-1 - Call 211 for information about anything. Mental Health Council Facebook - Mobile Response Team - 800-342-0774 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1-800-273-8255 

For The Latest Updates

NAMI Tallahassee is the local affiliate of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) serving Leon County. Join NAMI

Dear Members, The impact that COVID-19 has had on all of our lives goes without saying.  This is a strange and difficult time, and together, we are facing a truly unprecedented situation.  This time can be especially stressful for those living with mental health conditions, as well as their family members and loved ones.  While there is uncertainty in the coming weeks ahead, we want to keep you informed regarding the status of our signature programs.  Based on the recommendations of the CDC, all training is on hold until further notice.  Our NAMI Tallahassee teachers have opted not to offer our classes online, however, they will resume as quickly as safe to do so.  We will be offering Family Support Group and NAMI Connection online through Zoom - a free web-based service that can be used on your smartphone, tablet, or computer.  Our intention is to keep the current support group schedule, however, the groups will meet via Zoom rather than in person.  Please stay tuned to your email and the NAMI Facebook page for specific details on how to access the meetings.  While we all continue to care for our families, neighbors, and selves during the COVID-19 pandemic, please know that NAMI is here for you.  We will continue to monitor the situation locally and will update you when our normal programming schedule resumes. Sincerely, NAMI Tallahassee Board of Directors Additional resources that may be helpful for you during this time include: 211 Big Bend – available 24 hours a day to listen and provide emotional support, crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and information & referrals. Mobile Response Team - (800) 342-0774 - available 24 hours a day to listen and provide emotional support, crisis counseling, suicide prevention, and information & referrals. NAMI Tallahassee - 850-841-3386 Mental Health Council of The Big Bend - - they will be posting updates regarding mental health resources as they become available. The COVID-19 Call Center is available 24/7 at 1 (866) 779-6121- or visit

Update on COVID-19

We at NAMI Florida recognize the seriousness of this pandemic, and during this time it is imperative that you take care of yourself and your family. Although the crisis has had an intensive focus on physical health, we realize that the impact of this pandemic can include mental and emotional stress as well.

With that in mind, we wanted to reach out and provide some resources. First,NAMI.orghas the latest information from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). In addition, the National NAMI HelpLine has prepared anin-depth guidewith tips and resources for people who are experiencing anxiety, loneliness, and other hardships due to the spread of COVID-19. Please review it and share with friends that may be experiencing these symptoms.

Our local affiliates also offer resources during this time. Please check outour websiteto learn more! 

Finally, the National NAMI HelpLine is available Monday through Friday from 10am-6pm (EST) at 1800-950-NAMI (6264). You can also e-mail atinfo@nami.orgor text "NAMI" to 741741. However, if you believe you are in a medical emergency, please call 911. 

With Kind Regards,

NAMI Florida Board of Directors 

How I’m Managing My Mental Health During COVID-19, What About You? 

By Beth Dees, NAMI Board Member   There is not a rulebook for what we, as a world, are going through right now. We’re figuring it out as we go. We are being asked to stay at home and wash our hands and try to maintain some semblance of our daily routine, when life is anything but routine. For today, most of are well physically, but for those of us who already deal with mental health issues, it can be a major challenge to not let the stress of our situation get to us and make things worse.  

My job as Recovery Coach Coordinator at Apalachee Center Inc. involves talking almost daily about self-care. We have 11 recovery coaches who work with peers talking and teaching about what it means to manage mental health issues and how to improve life and what we want out of it. It’s easy to talk about self-care: it’s a challenge to do it. 

There are a lot of basics to self-care everyone needs to be practicing daily and we are hearing left and right about them; exercise, get fresh air, participate in hobbies, eat well. I just wanted to take a minute and share some of the self-care practices that are working for me right now. Perhaps you can glean something from them. I find I’m using some of my standard daily self-care practices but I’m trying new things, different things. Some work, some don’t but, I certainly have the time to try them. So good. 

  • Connecting with others—I'm pretty good at this generally. I reach out to others, knowing it helps me and maybe them too. These days, I’m on Facebook, texting, emailing or the phone calling friends and colleagues. I’m touching base with family members every day. I’ve even written my Aunt Loretta in North Carolina an old-fashioned letter and mailed her a silly picture I drew with brightly colored markers. I’m new to Zoom but find it’s easy and have taken part in a church service as well as work-related activities. 

  • Raking leaves—Okay, so this was not one of my better ideas. I quickly discovered I’m rather out of shape but had committed myself to raking and bagging the leaves from our small front yard. For some reason, I thought it would be fun; it wasn’t. But I was out in the sunshine and fresh air, moving and yes, I did accomplish something. It looked better afterward and I’ve found accomplishments, big and little, make me feel better. I’ve decided to stick to the smaller tasks; watering plants, repotting them, picking up sticks, etc.  

  • Maintaining routine—Living with Bipolar Disorder and Generalized Anxiety, I have to work at maintaining balance and, for me, this means keeping a basic structure to my day. I’m getting up and going to bed at the same time, even on weekends. I admit I am having problems, as I’m sure others are, with regular sleep. It’s probably anxiety that makes it hard to fall asleep and then I awaken around two or three each morning. Still, I try to follow good sleep hygiene habits. I believe effort is more than half of solving the equation. 

  • Reviving old hobbies—My mother was well-known for her stitching creations; I, on the other hand, can barely sew on a button without tangles, knots and general chaos. Before she died of cancer seven years ago, she started me on a large needlework piece. After she passed, I didn’t get far before giving up. Now I’m not going anywhere for social or work activities, I have plenty of time and decided to give it another try. I don’t think it’s something I’ll ever really enjoy but I've found it keeps me occupied instead of frustrated with all of the extra time. Again, it is a small, but cool accomplishment to see the neat rows line up to add to the pattern of roses. And then I’ve taken up doodling, yes, drawing whatever I feel like on paper; squiggles, curves, geometric symbols and then I color them with magic markers. With the help of my husband, I’ve started on a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle. The only time I’ve worked on such puzzles in my life was during major depressions when my kind mother would start one and sit down with me to work on it. She would fit 10 pieces to my every one but it was just the act of sitting there with her that really helped. I’ve also picked up my relatively new small Djembe drum and turned on some music to practice to. I’m not very good but I have fun and that’s the point.  

  • Handling paperwork—Is it just me who has a rather large pile of papers to be filed? This is a good time to tackle it but, I haven’t just yet. I will. I might even make the necessary new folders to put them in. 

  • Eating Healthy—This has been a challenge for me. I confess to going out early on and buying a big bag of potato chips which I generally avoid, though I love them. We stocked up on food like rice, beans, even non-fat dry milk but it’s still a challenge to eat the three healthy meals we all need each day. Again, I need the routine and my stomach tells me so. Both my husband and I are in the high-risk category and as we are running out of live food, today will be our first attempt to order groceries online and pick them up curbside.  

  • Drinking water—Some days, I’m better at this than others. I’ve found filling a large water bottle at the beginning of the day definitely helps.  

  • Keeping up with doctor appointments—I have two coming up; one with my general practitioner and one with my psychiatric nurse. I’ve never done telemedicine before but it’s time to try it. We’re all being asked to try new things. I may not like some of them, but I work at having a decent attitude about them. Oh, I also am making sure I keep up with my daily medications; not just taking them but making sure I don’t run out.  

So, that’s my list of things of some of the things I’m doing for self-care. What are you doing? You’re welcome to email me at if you’d like to share what you’re doing, give me ideas or reach out just to say hello. We will get through this, one way or the other. We just hope to do better than just survive, perhaps we can even thrive during these challenging times. Best of Life! 

Surviving Working Remotely

By Schelley Cassidy, NAMI Tallahassee Volunteer

Chances are, you're reading this from the comforts of your own home. And more chances are, you've been at home all day now. This Coronavirus (COVID-19) has a lot of the workforce telecommuting these days. And I'm here to predict that the workforce will no longer be the same, as telecommuting is indeed the here and now of our lives.

"But I'm here to tell you ..." (I can hear Prince singing "Let's Go Crazy" as I type this) that remote working can have both its rewards and downfalls, too. Sure, it's great not to have to fill up the gas tank, it's great to sleep in, it's great to work from our homes. But sometimes it's not so great to be confined 24/7, it's not so great to get cabin fever, and it's not that great to be told you cannot go anywhere.

Not that we're on forced quarantine here where I live, but we're getting closer. And it's scary as heck.

My stepmother, the "youngest old broad" I know at age 95, lives in a retirement/assisted living community where they've shut the gates and only let the residents leave for the grocery store, drug store, or a doctor's visit. She's basically a shut-in, but for her own good.

I digress. Let's get back to my main point: working from home. It's something I've done for the past two decades now (sounds so much better than 20 years) and I have a few tips to share with you to keep your sanity in check. Yay! Mental health is so important and right now it's really important we keep our mental health, well, healthy.

So here are some of my tips:

  • Set your alarm and get up in the morning like you're going to work. Sure, set it for later; after all, your commute time has just been reduced to the amount of time it takes you to get from your bed to your "office."

  • Set up an office area, no matter if it's in the kitchen, guest bedroom, living room, dining room, wherever you can grab some free space to work. I started off in the kitchen, ended up in the guest room with a desk, and eventually remodeled our home to include a home office. That's how important it is to have a space in which to do your work.

  • When you're on the clock, let your kids, better half, whoever is home with you, know that you're doing just that: working. Of course, telling your animal assistants won't do you any good, just welcome the furry company.

  • Schedule breaks. You'll find that you go without breaks if you don't set an alarm. The same goes for lunch. Take a lunch break! Enjoy yourself! Don't work the entire eight hours through without any breaks! (Cough, cough, I am so guilty of breaking this rule that I'm about to choke typing this.)

  • Go for a walk when the afternoon slump hits you. And it's going to hit you, I guarantee. Working from home is an adjustment from the routine that you've been used to working in an office environment, and you're bound to hit the wall come 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon. Do as the Europeans do and take a well-deserved break! I suggest that you take a walk! We might be limited in where we go, but our neighborhoods should be safe enough to enjoy a leisurely stroll. Plus, walking is great exercise. I cannot think of one good reason not to walk.

  • Speaking of walks and breaks, make sure to make time for a shower and get dressed, too. Soon, the novelty of wearing your pajamas while working will lose its appeal. I suggest a wardrobe of shorts and t-shirts since we've now entered spring and we're quickly approaching summer. (I live in the south, so it's a given that I'll be wearing that attire.)

  • Get out and about as much as you possibly can. I can tell you how much I missed out on by never leaving my house. Of course, being married back then and having a spouse that worked at an office meant that he wanted to stay home, whereas I wanted to get out. Had I forced myself to go to lunch or shopping (or whatever), I would have gotten out and enjoyed myself. So do as I say, not as I do! lol

When you've finished your workday, the most important piece of advice I have to offer is this: shut your laptop. You'll thank me later when you don't hop on to check your email and then find yourself working at 10 p.m. Been there, done that.

Will working remotely become the norm? We have yet to see, but I bet the workforce will never be the same again. So I salute all of you working in your pajamas, getting business done from the comforts of your own home. May you enjoy your respite from the normal working world and begin to adjust to the joys (and sorrows) of working remotely.

Schelley Cassidy, a NAMI Tallahassee volunteer, has been working remotely over the past two decades and can offer some tips on surviving telecommuting during this virus outbreak. Stay safe and sane!

Capital Regional Behavioral Health Center Offers Two New Intensive Outpatient Programs

Capital Regional Behavioral Health Center now offers two new specialty Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP).  The Substance Abuse IOP includes 12 hours of therapeutic group activities per week.  It is designed to help the individual that is experiencing difficulty achieving and maintaining sobriety, as a step-down from a higher level of care, or needs support to achieve sobriety and establish a sober support system.  The program includes intensive group therapy on a variety of topics to include personal triggers, cravings, family issues, depression/anxiety, and relapse prevention planning.  The program runs Monday – Thursday from 4-7:30 PM.  The Adolescent IOP is designed for individuals ages 13-17 and includes 12 hours of therapeutic group activities per week.  Services include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, co-occurring diagnosis therapy, art/music therapy, educational group therapy, medication management, and family systems therapy.  The program runs Monday – Thursday from 3:30-7 PM. Capital Regional is now accepting referrals for both programs.  For more information and to schedule the free initial assessment – please contact the outpatient office at 850-325-5750. 

NAMI Connection Recovery Support Group

NAMI Family Support Group Online is coming soon - watch for the schedule!

NAMI Homefront Online Is Open!

Registration is now open for the following sessions: Eastern Daytime: April 6 – May 11 Mondays, 10:00 am – 12:00 pm EST (9:00am CST, 8:00am MST, 7:00am PST) Eastern Evening: April 6 – May 11 Mondays, 6:30 – 8:30 pm EST (5:30pm CST, 4:30pm MST, 3:30pm PST)

NAMI Homefront is a free, 6-session program for family, friends and significant others of Military Service Members and Veterans. The class helps families understand what the Service Member/ Veteran is experiencing related to trauma, combat stress, civilian life transition, PTSD and other mental health conditions. The program is designed to help family members understand and support their Service Member/Veteran while maintaining their own well-being. NAMI Homefront leaders have personal experience with mental health conditions impacting their Service Member/ Veteran. The class is free but you are expected to attend all six sessions. You must have access to a laptop, PC or tablet with a stable internet connection to participate. To hear audio, you will need to call in via telephone. We recommend you use a headset or headphones. An application process is required to ensure this program is a good fit. Space is limited. Click here to register. Learn more about NAMI Homefront, and other NAMI programs, online at If you have any questions or concerns, please email The NAMI Homefront Team Email: Phone: 703-524-7600

The Gathering IV Peer Conference

The general consensus was made to postpone the Gathering IV Peer Conference until this fall.

Apalachee Center will continue mental health services during coronavirus pandemic

By: Tallahassee Democrat Apalachee Center, a Tallahassee mental health care provider, is expanding its remote services and continuing to accept new patients during the coronavirus pandemic.  The center on Capital Circle Northeast said all facilities and services will remain open for the time being, without reducing business hours or the number of services offered. A spokesman said it is expanding its telemedicine and other resources so more people will be able to fill prescriptions, and talk to doctors and therapists from home.  "We realize this is a time of high anxiety and uncertainty for everyone in our community, especially regarding health care," Adam Roberts said in a statement. "We will make every effort to ensure that all of our clients continue to receive needed services."  The center's mobile response team (MRT) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The MRT answers phone calls and provides behavioral health crisis-oriented services to include screening, standardized assessments, early identification and connection to community services. The mobile teams also will help coordinate psychiatric evaluations and coordinate transition to medication management services.  Apalachee Center has operated for more than 50 years and provides inpatient, residential and outpatient behavioral health services and support. For questions, contact the center at (800) 342-0774.

CRPS Credential Webcast

Anyone interested in earning and keeping the CRPS credential in Florida is invited to join us on April 14, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Presented by the Florida Certification Board Sign up today!

  1. Register at

  2. Check your confirmation email.

  3. Download GOTOWEBINAR.

A note on audio: this presentation allows for participants to listen only. To ensure that we provide you with as much information that is relevant to you, feel free to email any questions you would like to have addressed to with the subject line: CRPS Webinar Question for Speaker. Questions will be accepted through April 10, 2020.

Reader Comments, Submissions, and Requests

We welcome your feedback, comments, and suggestions.  We are always looking for writers to submit articles for consideration for future newsletters, too.  Please send an email

We Are Here to Help!

NAMI-Tallahassee maintains a voice-mail help-line at 850.841.3386. Messages are returned by volunteers who offer compassionate guidance, empathy, and understanding. For a complete list of resources, please visit the bottom of our homepage AdditionalMental Health Resources in Leon Countyare available through an online database maintained by the Florida State University College of Medicine’s Department of Behavioral Sciences and Social Medicine.NAMI Tallahassee 2020 Board Members

Sheila Barbee

Pat Brown

Rebecca Carter

Walter Castle

Karen Cramer

Beth Dees

Ashley Evard

Bernice McMillan

Kelli Mercer

Nancy O’Farrell

Amanda Wander

Check outNAMI Ask the Expertinformation


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