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Free, Virtual Support Group for COVID Survivors 

We know how devastating the COVID-19 pandemic has been and how scary a COVID-19 diagnosis can be.  That's why we are offering free, virtual support groups through CovidCONNECT.

We encourage you to join one of our free session to talk with other Marylanders who have had COVID-19. Trained peer facilitators host small groups twice a month.

Please note that space is limited to 15 participants and members will be admitted on a first-registered, first-served basis.

Only individuals who have contracted COVID-19 are eligible to register for these support groups.

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Other CovidCONNECT Support Groups
 
Visit CovidCONNECT and scroll down to Virtual Support Groups to learn more and to register. Past webinars are also available.
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**Maryland - COVID-19**
       - Testing
       - Vaccines 

If you are experiencing a mental health medical emergency, call 911 or go immediately to the closest emergency room.

QCI provides services for English speaking patients at this time. QCI will attempt to direct non-English speaking individuals to appropriate resources to the best of our ability.

NOTE: When using the email addresses below, your information is not encrypted. Your responses may be read by others using your Internet service. Please do not include any sensitive information.  

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How To Handle Mother's Day When You're Without A Mother

Reposted from: The Awareness Centre
By: Amy Launder

Mother’s Day is a day set aside for celebrating mothers, but not everyone has a mother to celebrate with.

It might be that their mother has passed away, was never around, is not someone that they wish to celebrate, or lives in a different country. For whatever reason, there are many people, both men and women, who choose not to or are not able to celebrate Mother’s Day in the traditional way.

For many of those that can’t or don’t celebrate Mother’s Day, the window displays, racks of cards, advertising, and social media content can be a stark reminder. Here are some ways to cope with Mother’s Day when you are without a mother for whatever reason.

If your mother has passed away
If your mother has passed away, you could celebrate the memory of your mother by doing some things that she would have enjoyed, for example, you could go on a walk that the two of you enjoyed together, visit a place that is special to the two of you, go through some old photo albums, listen to her favourite music, or watch her favourite movie.

Treat yourself to a pedicure, get yourself a bouquet of flowers and shower yourself with the love that you would have given to your mum.

If you have your own children, you could tell them stories of their grandmother, let them know how you celebrated Mother’s Day when you were a kid, and allow them to celebrate you too.

If you have siblings, it is likely that you are in the same boat, and perhaps spending the day together sharing memories would be beneficial. Let your family and friends know how you are feeling in the lead up to Mother’s Day and allow others to support you with this. If you don’t want to celebrate Mother’s Day at all, it might be helpful to avoid places that people typically celebrate Mother’s Day such as fancy restaurants, brunch spots, and so on.

Do something to commemorate the day, for example, you could write a card to your mother and put it up at home, take it to the cemetery, or tie it to a helium balloon and release it. You could buy a bouquet of your mother’s favourite flowers or a box of her favourite chocolates, light a candle, and so on.

You can also create some new traditions such as using the money you would have spent on a card and/or present and donate it to a charity, or you could even sign up for a charity walk/run/swim/hike each year in her name.

If you choose not to celebrate Mother’s Day
You might choose not to celebrate Mother’s Day, perhaps because of a conflict, perhaps because your mother was absent, perhaps your relationship has suffered due to your mother having poor mental or physical health, or for any other number of reasons.

Having a parent who suffers from mental health issues can be incredibly destructive to the family as a whole, and especially to the relationship between parent and child. Having a mother who suffers from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar depression, eating disorders, and any other form of mental illness can tear a relationship apart. Of course, some mother-child relationships are able to withstand such a childhood, but many are not. Some are still in contact but the contact is strained and sometimes toxic.

Many of the ideas discussed in the above section would benefit someone who chooses not to celebrate Mother’s Day for any of these reasons, but here are some other ideas.

If you have your own children, then celebrate Mother’s Day with them. Celebrate that you are who you are because of or despite your own mother. Celebrate being the kind of mother that you are proud to be. Celebrate your own family.

if you don’t have your own children, you might know some other people who also choose not to celebrate Mother’s Day, and you can gather together to support each other and have a fun day together.

If your mother lives in a different country
If you and your mother live in different countries, it can be difficult and expensive to spend all holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries together. It is often the case that you need to choose which holidays to spend together and which to spend apart. However, nowadays, with the use of technology, we can have some face-to-face time with our family that lives abroad, even if we can’t actually be together.

You can still send a card or flowers using a company local to your mother or you could choose to celebrate Mother’s Day at a different time of year, perhaps combining other holidays such as birthdays or Christmas with your very own Mother’s Day.

If you are struggling to become a Mother
Struggling to conceive or experiencing miscarriages can make days such as Mother’s Day feel overwhelmingly emotional. Dealing with fertility problems is hard enough without having the world shove something like Mother’s Day in your face. It is important to remember that there are so many options for fertility treatments nowadays and that there are also so many ways to become a family including surrogacy, adoption, fostering, and IVF. This is another time that it is so important to lean on your support network; talk to your partner, your friends, your siblings, or seek out counselling.

To read more about how infertility can impact your mental health, click here.

In all of these different scenarios, and I’m sure there are many others, one of the most important points is this; allow yourself to feel. Losing a parent, or the chance to become a parent, whether through bereavement, conflict, or lifelong absence, is always going to be hard. It is normal to feel upset, angry, lost, or lonely, especially when such anniversaries or holidays come around.

Allow yourself the time and space to experience these difficult emotions, knowing that you will survive them. There is no quick fix for coping with grief, even if you feel that you have dealt with your grief years ago. Timestamps such as Mother’s Day, birthdays and anniversaries are always likely to bring back painful emotions and memories, but experiencing sadness on days like Mother’s Day is not wrong and doesn’t need fixing. Unfortunately, it is part of the price we all pay for loving someone so much.

Amy Launder is a content writer for The Awareness Centre, writing and editing blog posts for our Talking Therapy blog. She enjoys writing and exploring ideas within the mental health and wellness fields that excite and intrigue her. Amy is also a qualified and practising psychotherapist, with an MA in Psychotherapy and Counselling from the University of Leeds.





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Take Care of Yourself: May is Mental Health Awareness Month

- Partially excerpted from Lee Health

We’ve all been through a lot this year. And one issue that continues to make headlines? Our mental health. Specifically, the effect of COVID-19 and all that comes with it – vaccinations, quarantining, working from home, disrupted schedules, lack of social interaction, and more.

Now is a good time to pause and reflect. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, so we want to make sure we recognize a difficult truth: Nearly one in five Americans lives with a mental health condition, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

That includes any mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder such as:

    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Mood disorders, including bipolar disorder
    • Personality disorders
    • Psychotic disorders, including schizophrenia
    • Trauma
    • Eating disorders
    • Substance -use disorders

A recent statement by President Joe Biden on Mental Health Awareness Month mentions isolation, sickness, grief, and job loss as contributing factors on declining mental health as well as lack of access to mental health services during difficult times.

But it’s important to remember that you are not alone. In fact, that is the theme of this year’s awareness month from the National Alliance on Mental Illness. Experts stress that now is the time to focus on healing, reaching out, and connecting in safe ways by acknowledging that it’s okay to not be okay.

Signs and symptoms

Below are a few suggestions and answers to common questions about how you and your family can cope with the fear of the unknown—now, and in the future.

Q: What are the common stress issues you see when a crisis arises, and are those the same for what we are experiencing now with a pandemic?

A: Signs and symptoms associated with stress include:

    • Difficulties with sleep
    • Low energy and motivation
    • Sadness
    • Nervousness
    • Difficulties with concentration
    • Questioning one’s abilities
    • Feeling easily annoyed or irritable

Remember, too, that adults and children handle stress differently.  

A: Depending on the age and personality of your child, stress can be handled differently. Children may show:

    • Defiance
    • Disrespect
    • Complaining
    • Fighting
    • Not wanting to leave your side
    • Ignoring

Q: What are the best ways to stay mentally healthy during times of crisis?

A: One of the best things you can do is to practice self-compassion. Be nice to yourself. Ideas for this include:

    • Remain hopeful. Find things to be grateful about. You could start a gratitude journal, or keep notes in a gratitude jar.
    • Use your phone or computer to stay connected with a balance on when to disconnect.
    • Get the facts but monitor the time you spend watching the news,
    • Eat healthy and exercise, maybe not the time to go on a strict diet or exercise regime, find a way to make small changes such as eating less of the “bad food” or going on walks.
    • Focus on what you can do to stay prepared.
    • Be fun and creative while at home (e.g., dance, listen to music, small house projects, journaling).
    • Setting a routine/structure to the day can combat boredom.
    • Do not smoke, drink alcohol or use drugs to deal with your feelings.

Q: How does mental stress affect our physical health?

A: Our emotional health paired with our physical health make us “healthy.” Stress is normal for our bodies; however, we are generally able to recover from short periods of stress. But stress that continues over a long period of time places more strain to our health. Mental stress can impact the immune system in many different ways and increase physical illness.

Reach Out and Come Together

Are you or a family member struggling? Remember, too, that your primary care physician or your child’s pediatrician is a perfect place to start the conversation about stress levels and possible mental health issues. A medical expert can advise your next steps including a conversation with a behavioral health expert.

The fact that everyone is experiencing the exact same problem can offer positive benefits: “We know we are not alone on this one,” Jacqueline Hidalgo, PsyD, of Lee Health said. “The challenge can be that we are all struggling in one way or another and this can impact the amount of support one can get from others.”