Opportunities – November 2020

CONFERENCES Mental health in challenging times NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) hosts a virtual state conference 9 am-4 […]

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Mental health in challenging times

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) hosts a virtual state conference 9 am-4 pm Sat, Nov. 14. Features breakout sessions on pressing mental health issues for professionals, individuals living with mental illnesses, family members, advocates, and students. Three keynote speakers will also highlight the conference: Patrice Harris, M.D., a psychiatrist and the first African-American woman to be elected president of the American Medical Association; Thomas R. Insel, MD, psychiatrist, neuroscientist, and co-founder of Humanest Care, an online stepped care solution for mental health; and Susan Bartlett Foote, author of Minnesota’s Crusade for Forgotten Souls: The Roots of Minnesota’s Pathbreaking Mental Health Advocacy. $10 (members), $20 (non-members) and $40 (people seeking the 4.5 CEUs). FFI: namimn.org, 651-645-2948.  


Apply for state council

The Minnesota Statewide Independent Living Council (MNSILC) is seeking applicants to fill vacancies on the council. Anyone with an interest in the independent living philosophy is welcome to apply. Council leaders encourage parents, services providers or businesspeople and individuals with disabilities to apply. The council is interested in expanding council representation beyond those living in the 11 county metro area. MNSILC meets 10 time per year. For the foreseeable future, meetings will be held virtually. Captioning or a call in option are available for meetings. Visit https://www.sos.state.mn.us/boards-commissions/help-how-tos, for information about how to apply. Application should include a cover letter with information outlining the applicant’s interest in serving on the council. FFI: 612-518-1497, www.mnsilc.org; mnsilc1215@ gmail.com


PACER offers workshops

PACER Center offers many useful free or low-cost workshops and other resources for families of children with any disabilities. Workshops are online at this time. Advance registration is required for all workshops. At least 48 hours’ notice is needed for interpretation. Many workshops are live-streamed. Check website and link to the newsletter of statewide workshops allows participants to pick and choose sessions designed for their needs. FFI: PACER, 952- 838-9000, 800-537-2237, www.pacer.org 

Supplemental Security Income (SSI): First Steps is  2:30 p.m. Thu, Nov. 5. The workshop will provide basic information on applying for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for young adults at age 18. Participants will learn how SSI can help youth meet postsecondary education, training, employment, and independent living goals.

Off to College: What to Know Before They Go is 6:30- 8 p.m. Tue, Nov. 10. The interactive workshop for families of youth who will attend post-secondary education programs provides essential information about changing rights, roles, and responsibilities, along with practical tips for student success.  

What Inclusion Means for My Child is 6:30-8:30 p.m. Mon, Nov. 16. Parents of children with disabilities ages 3 to 5 will receive an introduction to Least Restrictive Environment and the principles of inclusion. They will then listen to a panel of parents discuss their experiences with preschool inclusion. Registration will close at 9 a.m. on Nov. 16. Webinar access information will be emailed prior to the event.

Tips for IEP Teams to Help Students and Families Prepare for Inclusive Postsecondary Education is 6:30-8 p.m. Tue, Nov. 17. Families of high school students and the professionals who work with them will learn strategies to guide in the selection of transition goals and activities that build the skills needed for college success.

FFI: PACER, 952-838-9000, 800- 537-2237, www.pacer.org 


Developing a voice

A webinar with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS), speech language pathologists and assistive technology experts from across the state will teach participants about augmentative alternative communication (AAC) is and how it is used to help individuals develop their own voices. The webinar is 9-10:30 a.m. Thu, Nov. 5 DHS and MN STAR staff will discuss the process for how services are approved and what steps go into finding the best solution to fit a person’s specific needs. After the presentation, the experts will have time for questions. The event will have CART Captioning and is on Zoom. FFI: https://zoom.us/j/99111971627#success

Learn about assistance dogs

Can Do Canines is hosting its Tails to Tell presentations virtually, to share information its assistance dogs program. Upcoming dates include

  • 11 a.m. Sat, Nov. 7;
  • Thu, Nov. 19;
  • Thu, Dec. 10; and
  • Sat, Dec. 19.
  • Each presentation will be led by a Can Do Canines staff member and will include testimonials from an assistance dog team and a puppy raiser, a photo tour of the facility and more. Attendees will also have the chance to ask questions. Preregister. FFI: 763-331-3000, ext. 152, tailstotell.can-do-canines.org

Helping employees live in a pandemic

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) has developed an online mental health program for employers to offer their employees to help them manage their stress, coping skills and resiliency during this unprecedented time. The new program is called HELP – Helping Employees Live in a Pandemic. HELP program classes include:

  • Minding Your Mental Health During COVID-19,
  • Keeping in Touch: Staying Connected During COVID-19,
  • Coping with Kids,
  • Self-Care and Mindfulness,
  • Physical Activity, Nutrition, Positive Psychology, and
  • Question, Persuade and Refer, which teaches the three steps anyone can take to help prevent a suicide.

Classes are one hour long. Employers can choose one or all of the classes to be offered through Zoom or another online platform. NAMI Minnesota appreciates, but does not require, an honorarium for delivering the classes. Contact NAMI to schedule a class or classes. FFI: [email protected]

Training on self-care

NAMI Minnesota in collaboration with McCubbin Training and LeadingAge Minnesota has created a free, online training on Self-Care for Senior Workers During COVID-19. The training helps caregivers develop personal strategies for managing stress and practicing self-care as they continue to provide care for others. The training is targeted for caregivers of older adults living in care centers, assisted living, their own home and adult foster care settings. It is about 20 minutes long and can be viewed on a smartphone, tablet or desktop computer. To access the training go to namimn.org and see “Self-Care Training for Senior Workers.” FFI: 651-645-2948.

Minnesota STAR program

Program staff is working to provide services and keep clients safe. The equipment lending library has specific procedures and only no-contact loans are offered. All equipment is tested and sanitized prior to shipping. STAR staff wears proper PPE (personal protective equipment) during the process. Device loans continue to be for 30 days. After equipment is returned to STAR it is quarantine for five days. After the quarantine period equipment is once again sanitized, inspected and tested. Virtual demonstrations are done on as needed. Information and assistance services continue as usual. FFI: 651-201-2640, [email protected]

Online mental health support

NAMI Minnesota (National Alliance on Mental Illness) offers a variety of free online peer support groups for adults and young adults living with a mental illness, their families, friends, spouses/partners, as well as parents of children and teens. Led by trained peer facilitators, the support groups help individuals and families learn coping skills and find strength through sharing their experiences. The groups are specifically for those individuals suggested by the group’s title. For example, Family Support Group is only for family members and NAMI Connection is only for those who live with a mental illness and are over 18 years old, etc. Find a complete listing of group meetings and how to join in by going to namimn.org and clicking on “Support Groups”. FFI: https://namimn.org/ support/nami-minnesota-support-groups/.

MCIL is online

The Metropolitan Center for Independent Living provides classes and activities, currently in a virtual format. MCIL is at 530 N. Robert Street, St. Paul and most activities are there or start there. Check the website to see what and events are listed on the website, www.mcil-mn.org. Click on “Classes Groups and Sessions” for classes updated information or to print their calendar. Please give two weeks’ notice if the alternative format or other accommodations are needed. Events are free, accessible and mostly scent-free. The People of Color with Disabilities group meets 5:30-8 p.m. the third Thu of each month. FFI: 651-603-2030

Centers for independent living statewide

Minnesota centers for independent living statewide have gone to a mix of operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. Typically centers offer an array of classes, training programs and other services tied to independent living. Centers that proving PCA, homemaker and other staffing for clients continue to do that in person. But most services aren’t provide at facilities. Facilities aren’t open to the public at all or on a limited basis, varying by center. Check with a local center before going in. FFI: www.macil.org/

Vision loss group offers activities

Vision Loss Resources has opened with safety protocols in place. Some services are offered virtually. Low vision assessments are available by phone. Ask about virtual support groups, distance learning, and no-contact grocery shopping and reading support. Events and activities are offered virtually through the community center. The rehabilitation center is open for vision rehabilitation training, both in-person and remotely. DeafBlind Services Minnesota provides one-to-one services to adults and children with deafblindness. No deafblind community activities are scheduled at this time. FFI: 612-871-2222, [email protected] 

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