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In This Issue
Women and Mental Health
Employee of the Month

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Upcoming Events
Open Eye Gallery Committee Meeting 
Fri., March 7 
11:00 a.m. 
At Arundel Lodge.
Held on the first Friday of each month. All are welcome. 
or call her at (443) 433-5961 with any questions. 

Amazing Marvels: 
An Art Show 
March 8 to April 19
Art Enables gallery in Washington, D.C.
The show will feature two pieces of art by Colin Lacey. Opening reception on Saturday, March 8 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m.

NAMI Family

 Support Group
Thurs., March 13 
7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
at Arundel Lodge. 
For more information, email NAMI Anne Arundel.

Sense and Nonsense:
An Art Show  
Show continues
through the end of March.
Zoe's Kitchen
Annapolis Town Center
A show inspired by quotes from Dr. Seuss! Art materials were kindly donated by Zoe's Kitchen through their give-back program. Each piece of art will be priced at $20. All proceeds will go to Arundel Lodge and our artists. A few new pieces were added recently--stop by and see the show this month!

Open Eye Gallery Committee Meeting 
Fri., April 4 
11:00 a.m. 
At Arundel Lodge.
Held on the first Friday of each month. All are welcome. Email Katerina Evans
or call her at (443) 433-5961 with any questions. 

Open Eyes, Open Minds: Raising Mental Health Awareness Through Art 

2nd Annual Art Exhibit at the

American Visionary Art Museum

May 1-5

The deadline to submit entries for this show is March 31. Email submissions to Katerina Evans. Entry guidelines, flyer, and sponsor forms are available here

Mental Health Links

Anne Arundel County Mental Health Agency

NAMI Anne Arundel County 


On Our Own of Maryland 



March is national Women's History Month, and March 8 is International Women's Day. In this issue, we are focusing on women at Arundel Lodge and how mental health issues can uniquely affect women.
Our approach to supporting wellness at the Lodge is highly individualized; each person chooses from a growing array of classes, supported employment, studio art, therapy, and other activities. Programs are designed to meet diverse needs influenced by culture, age, ethnicity, language, and gender. The Lodge community includes people from many backgrounds, and the warm atmosphere encourages friendship and learning across differences. At the same time, there are benefits to being in a group with people who have had similar experiences. Our feature article describes some of the ways we meet women's needs, including women's groups, individual therapy, and self-care. 
Women and Mental Health:
Perspectives from Lodge Staff and Persons Served 

Arundel Lodge NEWS asked some of the Lodge's therapists and facilitators, as well as women's group members, to share their thoughts about women and mental health.


Katerina Evans

Arundel Lodge NEWS:

Can you tell us how you see mental health issues affecting women differently from men?


Katerina Evans: I think that often women have to deal with cultural stereotypes--women take care of others before they take care of themselves; strong and silent, we can do it all. And even though I agree that women are very strong, I think this can also lead to having a hard time with the idea of self-care. That's why I choose to focus on this issue a lot in the women's group I lead at the Lodge.


LaShandra Oliver: Do you get overwhelmed by the demands put on you by your friends, family, spouse, or society? Have you ever felt too fat? Too skinny? Not good enough? Have you ever felt judged by others, even people you thought you could trust? Now, imagine conquering all of that when you've only developed maladaptive coping techniques or while also battling severe depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia. Women are seen as too aggressive if we stand up for ourselves, but we're labeled weak if we show emotion or vulnerability. Even worse, I feel like problems like depression or anxiety get overlooked or dismissed because people feel like it's just part a woman's existence to be emotional or that we have to put others above ourselves. That can make it difficult to ever want to come out and talk about your problems and seek treatment for yourself.


Ana Maria Phillips: For Latina women in particular, the most important issue is the limited access to mental health care due to very few bilingual providers and lack of insurance. The overwhelming majority of Latinas who come to the clinic are depressed and anxious, trauma survivors. Some have marital and family issues. Most often, it is the woman who makes the initial contact about services for the family or an adolescent.


Margaret O'Brien: I find that Persons Served at the Lodge learn more from each other and gain more information in a gender-mixed group. It's also about showing the men how women think and vice versa. We all have so much to share with each other that gender isn't a big factor.


Arundel Lodge NEWS: 

What are some ways that Arundel Lodge addresses the needs of women? 


Katerina: We have groups specifically for women. The group I work with meets weekly and we discuss topics chosen by the women in the group or from issues that come up. Again and again, we come back to the importance of taking care of ourselves. Sometimes it's easier to do this when we realize that this actually helps us take better care of others. 

Ana Maria Phillips

Ana Maria: I have run three different women's trauma groups and am currently running a Hope and Cope women's group. Hope and Cope has discussed self-esteem issues and messages from the media that impact how we see ourselves. Group members were aware that messages were unrealistic. Some worried about how these messages affect their daughters or granddaughters. Some members have been sexually abused and they are upset by young women in the media feeling the need to be overtly sexual to be noticed.  

Arundel Lodge NEWS: 
If you have worked with groups focused on women, can you describe some of the activities and issues? Can you talk about some positive results?


Katerina: When talking with the women in the group, some of the positive impacts have been "learning to relax, getting to spend time in a relaxing atmosphere, and having a chance to help each other and teach others as we do projects together, having positive activities to fill our time with." One of the women said, "I feel like I can communicate with other people without having a big stress on my shoulders. You get to know everybody in the group and we work together and learn from each other." The women also noted that mental health problems can often be related to not taking time for themselves, a topic we often discuss.


I love working with the women in the women's group. We try to create a sense of the old quilting bees, or women's groups where they worked on a project together and at the same time, they talked--it was a mix of ages and experiences, and everyone was valued and contributed to whatever it was they were making. There's something very powerful about creating together. The women reminded me of some of the projects they have enjoyed--we've made a quilt, painted rocks, made thankfulness trees and family trees, made flowers to decorate the Lodge, and just recently, we made two blankets that we will donate to the Linus Project.


LaShandra: As far as activities, one of my favorite memories was "makeover day" in women's group a couple of years ago. I brought in some of my unused makeup and, with a former staff member, gave the women's group makeovers, including makeup and nail polish. They just loved it. Most were women who have been with the agency for years and hadn't had makeup on in some time. They told us how beautiful they felt and talked about it for months. It wasn't even about the vanity; I think they felt good just because someone was pampering them and treating them like humans (go figure). It puts a smile on my face every time I think about it.
Elizabeth Hooper works on a blanket for the Linus Project.


Some other participants from the women's group shared their thoughts about how the group benefits their wellness:


Kelly Chubb: Women's group is good for me. I get to know more women better, women who are different than me. But taking care of ourselves is still hard.


Nikki Dorsey: 

Each of us has a destination and you should fulfill your dreams. Being at Arundel Lodge helps me to do that.


Sheryl Perez: It's my responsibility to know what I want, what I need. The group gives me a challenge; I get to let people know how I feel and how I think.


Arundel Lodge NEWS: 

When you work with individuals in therapy or coaching, are there any issues particular to women? Are there any ways of supporting women you've found to be effective?


Katerina: One issue I often see in therapy is that women feel taking care of themselves is selfish. I see therapy basically as learning to truly take care of yourself, so this can be a barrier to wellness. Learning to balance taking care of yourself and others is a real challenge. 


LaShandra Oliver

LaShandra: I think keeping quiet and maintaining stability is a big theme I've seen with female clients. They don't want to rock the boat by speaking up for themselves or make someone else unhappy. They don't want to burden anyone, but often that means they have no one to turn to and bottle up their feelings. I think body issues are more common too, and self-mutilation by means of cutting.


Arundel Lodge NEWS: 

Would you like to make a statement about yourself and how you support your own wellness?  


Margaret: Ongoing Mindfulness and DBT groups for the last four years, meditation and yoga practices, Chakra threading, and many other modalities have become the focus of my life. I have discovered spirituality for the first time in my life, and everything revolves around this. I am now proud to be on staff at ALI as a WRAP Facilitator, Peer Support Specialist, MHA. Assisting others to find their own wellness path rewards me infinitely.


LaShandra: In preparation for my new position, I saw my own therapist this past summer. It was a great experience for me because I could go through the process from the other side. We talked about my relationship with colleagues, my employees, friends/boyfriend. I learned about myself and feel like I'm more at peace with myself and the people around me. I still struggle with allowing myself time for self-care on a regular basis. I'm my own worst critic, so it's not always easy to give myself credit for all the work I do and then I feel guilty for taking time to relax on the couch and watch TV. That being said, now that I'm a therapist and I know my job is more emotionally draining, I make much more of a conscious effort to just take better care of myself physically, mentally, emotionally.


Katerina: I try to practice what I preach, so being in the groups helps me too. It reminds me of all the different things I can do for myself to improve my own mental health. I have learned that when I'm not taking good care of myself, I'm just not able to be as present for others in my work. I practice mindfulness as much as possible; working in even just a few minutes of breathing and quiet space really helps me. I also make art a lot. Over the years, I've realized that making art is a way for me to check in with myself. One of the goals I've set for myself this year is to spend some time in nature every month. So far, I've been able to go to a small beach on the weekends to collect driftwood with my kids. This has dual purpose--I get to spend time with them collecting treasures, and we are using the wood in the studio to create sculptures for the upcoming show in May.  


Arundel Lodge NEWS: 

In talking with staff and Persons Served at the Lodge, it is clear that women are healthier and happier when they take time to meet their own needs. Whether a woman is an employee, a family member, or a Person Served, she doesn't have to feel selfish about making positive choices for her own wellness. 

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Employee of the Month, Karon (J.R.) Wilson


The March Employee of the Month is Karon (J.R.) Wilson, a therapist in the Outpatient Mental Health Clinic. Karon came to Arundel Lodge about one year ago from PDG Rehabilitation Services. He received a Master of Science degree from Loyola University in Baltimore and is a pastoral counselor.

Karon is well respected by his peers, and he always has a smile and a kind word for all the staff and Persons Served. He sees his clients at hours convenient to them and is very dedicated. His supervisor, Lillie Hinkelman, describes him as a "caring, dependable person" and notes that he has been an excellent mentor to others. 


Karon enjoys his work at the Lodge. "ALI is like a melting pot," he says. "People come here from all different walks of life. That's part of why it is so much fun to work here. ALI has a safe, energetic, welcoming atmosphere. Here, you can be yourself, which allows us to create a safe place for the clients." 


Karon uses many creative methods in his work, such as origami and music. "I encourage my clients to grow to a place of wholeness, to see the situation differently," he says.


Congratulations to Karon Wilson, the Lodge's March Employee of the Month.  


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