The clinicians at Newaygo County Mental Health periodically contribute articles to help educate, enlighten and increase awareness of mental health issues.
Emily Derks, LMSW; Kayla McKnight LLMSW; Christina Bitson, Intern
“I thought I would have to teach my child about the world. It turns out I have to teach the world about my child. FASD is its own world.”-Anonymous
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) is a mental health disorder involving Prenatal Alcohol Exposure, meaning an embryo is exposed to alcohol while in the mother’s womb (American Psychiatric Association (DSM-5), 2013, p.798-801). According to the DSM-5, no amount of alcohol can determine the adverse effects of neurocognitive impairments. Children whose symptoms seem less severe are at risk to struggle more socially and academically because they have a “hidden disability” and may not readily qualify for extra support services in the school. Additionally children with unknown fetal alcohol exposure are viewed as oppositional or defiant.
The psychological dimensions of FASD are many including having hope for your child and the relationships your child will foster with your family and the community. No matter the age of your child, you are not alone when it comes to accepting the intrusion of your child’s disability and how you feel about grieving this loss. Feeling disconnected is common. It can be helpful to recognize the duality of joy and grief that is ever present from the journey that comes with parenting a child with FASD.
Your clinician should support the challenges within the parent-child relationship including potential guilt and the ups and downs that influence your bond with your child. Therapy can help provide a space to explore your child’s disability and process through the most challenging moments that you and your child are experiencing. You are not alone if your child is lacking benefit from natural consequences or reward systems to promote good behavior. It is commonly reported that children with this diagnosis never really look the same, but themes of ensuring safety, and trying to monitor the child's mood and impulsivity is constant. Children with FASD cannot be compared to children who do not have this brain damage.
Prevalence & Barriers to Diagnosis
FASD has a prevalence rate between 1.13% and 5% (1 in 88 to 1 in 20 individuals), which makes it more common than Autism Spectrum Disorder and Down Syndrome. (May et. al., 2018). Despite how common this disorder is, there are many barriers that prevent children from being properly diagnosed and treated. One such barrier is the presence of mental health stigma. Stigma is a complex social process by which a person or group of individuals are considered less acceptable due to a specific trait or behavior (Alcohol and Drug Foundation, 2020). Since FASD is a “hidden disability”, often the challenges of the disorder go unnoticed and help may not be received (Green et al., 2016).
Parents of children with FASD often feel blamed for their child’s disability. Pregnant women who drink alcohol may receive stigma from health care providers. Prolonged stigma often contributes to feelings of lowered self-esteem, depression, feelings of shame, and fear of losing one’s child. Recognizing these fears, it is understandable that some individuals may not talk with health care professionals. However, not discussing your struggles often makes the problem worse. Overall, stigma may prevent individuals from receiving appropriate health care services.
The National Association on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (NOFAS) (2020), states that “prenatal alcohol exposure is the nation’s leading preventable cause of developmental disabilities and birth defects”. This is good news. FASD can be prevented! Raising public awareness about the risk that prenatal exposure to alcohol has on a developing child is one way we all can help with prevention. However, the only true way to prevent FASD is for women and men to abstain from alcohol consumption before and during conception and for women to abstain throughout pregnancy.
For more information about the services provided at NCMH visit their website at
Gerber Memorial’s free March seminar to focus on preparing families for healthcare wishes
FREMONT. Mich., March 3, 2021 – Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s free monthly Healthy Minds, Health Bodies seminar for March shines a spotlight educating people about expressing their healthcare wishes through preemptive planning, also known as advanced care planning sessions. The virtual seminar is on Thursday, March 11, 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
With advanced care planning, individuals are better prepared to tell loved ones and health care providers what they want for their future health care needs. Advance care planning is important for people of all ages because anything can happen to anyone at any time like an accident or a stroke. Having a plan in place can help ensure that health care wishes can be known and honored in any situation.
Presenters at the March 11 seminar are Jen Eriks and Rena Ruehle, Spectrum Health senior improvements specialists, who will review the Advance Care Planning process. Eriks and Ruehle will help participants reflect on goals and values and help identify ways to make plans about current and future health care. The seminar is open to all community members.
To register, call 231.924.3073, and get information on how to connect via mobile device or computer.
The Fremont Area District Library is currently open for service (no appointment needed!) and still offers curbside service. Information about the library’s current opening guidelines, along with using curbside service can be found at www.fremontlibrary.net. Masks are required inside the library with the exception of children ages 5 and under.
We have also expanded our open hours! Our new hours are:
Mon, Tue, Thurs 9:30-8:30
Wed. & Fri. 9:30-5:00
And just a reminder to adults and teens--remember to turn in your reading logs and/or snowflakes for our adult and teen winter reading challenges by March 20th!
2021 Regional Spelling Bee Hosted by NC RESA
Newaygo County Regional Educational Service Agency (NC RESA) hosted the 2021 Regional Spelling Bee on February 23 with 16 district-level winners and runners-up (grades 3 through 8) competing for the regional title.
Congratulations to Reid Nelson from Fremont Daisy Brook School, who was the overall winner by correctly spelling the word balderdash in Round 8. We also extend congratulations to Ryker Kingsbury who was the runner-up. Ryker is an 8th grade student at Fremont Middle School. Both Reid and Ryker will now advance to The Greater Grand Rapids Spelling Bee on Tuesday, March 16 in Grand Rapids.
These students are commended for their determination in preparing for the different levels of competition at their local school District Bee, Newaygo County RESA Regional Bee, and The Greater Grand Rapids Bee. The winner from The Greater Grand Rapids Bee will have the opportunity to compete at the Scripps National Spelling Bee in Orlando, Florida. For a detailed national competition schedule, please visit Scripps National Spelling Bee website at www.spellingbee.com.
We are proud to acknowledge the district level spellers (front row: L to R) Gage Williams, Newaygo Elementary; Gabriel Orlo, Fremont Daisy Brook; Reid Nelson, Fremont Daisy Brook; Madison Lidke, Newaygo Elementary; Ayla Faulkner, White Cloud Elementary; Asa VanLiew, Big Jackson School; A’Brehn Aprile, Big Jackson School; Zaidabelle Stuart, Grant Elementary; (back row: L to R) Jacob Bosowski, Newaygo Middle; Ryker Kingsbury, Fremont Middle; Luella Hilden, Newaygo Middle; Rocquel Richards, Fremont Middle; Grant Frye, Grant Middle; Oscar Mendez, Grant Middle; Jaylynn Johnson, Grant Elementary; Kate McHaney, White Cloud
From our friends at Camp Henry:
Camp Henry is excited to continue their partnerships with the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the Gerber Foundation serving the Newaygo County Community. With the assistance of the Fremont Area Community Foundation and the Gerber Foundation, Camp Henry’s scholarship program is able to assist more local families send their children to summer camp. These scholarships are awarded based on a sliding scale that takes into account a family’s annual income and the number of children in their household.
Camp Henry has had the privilege of serving campers, families, and guests since 1937 and believe that a camping experience here has the capacity to transform lives in many ways. With such a concentrated amount of time, a beautiful natural environment, intentional camp programs and activities, opportunities to try something new, and campers being surrounded by positive Christian role models - the combination is perfect for enhancing and positively changing the lives of campers and guests.
Camp Henry thanks the Fremont Area Community Foundation, the Gerber Foundation, as well as other corporate and private donors for supporting their summer camp scholarship program that serves over 200 campers annually.
For more information, please visit www.camphenry.org or by contact Leigha Oberle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231.652.6472.
By Sally Wagoner, RN, TTS, BreatheWell Newaygo County
Want to Quit the Spit? Kill the Can? Now is the right time to start! Saturday February 21 is National “Quit the Spit” day, and February 21-27 is “Through with Chew” week.
Have you tried but have gone back to chew? Most people cannot do it alone, and there is help for you!
You can go local with the help from Tobacco Treatment Specialists at Spectrum Health Gerber and DHD #10.
And you can find daily support online from a community organization called Kill the Can. Check out these resources at the end of this article.
Smokeless tobacco (dip or chew) is NOT a replacement for smoking. Just like smoking, smokeless tobacco is highly addictive and can cause cancer of the mouth, throat, stomach, and pancreas. It can also cause painful gum disease, cavities, and tooth loss. Plus, smiles turn yellow and brown with chew – not a pretty sight.
Each can of chew has about the same amount of nicotine as four packs of cigarettes. So if you dip a half can each day, you are getting the same nicotine as a two pack a day smoker.
Even though you may not be breathing in toxins as you would with smoking, the cancer-causing poisons in the tobacco are still getting into your body through swallowing and absorption in your mouth. The addiction rate of dip and chew is as much as smoking. Addiction may occur even quicker because the amount of nicotine per use is greater than smoking and is absorbed more efficiently through saliva than with inhaling.
Rural youth and adults have higher rates of using chew than in other areas. Youth are often given their first dip by adults who chew – even by sports coaches! As of 2019, over half of all Professional baseball stadiums have banned tobacco from their stadiums and new Major League Baseball players are banned from using chew, dip or snuff through new contracts.
You can Quit the Spit! Kill the Can! Be Through with Chew!
Nicotine Replacement Treatments such as nicotine patches, gum and lozenges are important to use to help eliminate urges. A Tobacco Treatment Specialist can work with you and your provider to choose the right product and strength for you. Sometimes your insurance will help pay for these.
Check out these resources to help you start your quit:
Kill the Can (www.killthecan.org) is a community based organization that helps people quit through stories of experience and group support. Their forum, where people post questions, share information and develop quitter friendships is free:
KillTheCan.org Accountability Forum - Index (ktcforum.org).
BreatheWell Newaygo County is the tobacco and nicotine reduction workgroup of Headway Coalition. Community members, teachers, parents, youth and all others are welcome to join the efforts to support good health and wellbeing through the elimination of tobacco, nicotine and vaping products. Contact Caitlin Mitchell Schucker for more information: 231.924.7589
Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial engages kids in nutrition, wellness with fun virtual lessons
FREMONT, Mich., Feb. 15, 2021Spectrum Health Gerber Memorial’s community health team is turning to a fun, interactive online game-inspired program to keep K-5 students engaged in nutrition and wellness.
Gerber Memorial’s Coordinated Approach to Child Health, or CATCH, program is continuing to deliver simple lessons in healthy eating habits and physical activity even though students are learning remotely. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, Gerber Memorial health educators were in classrooms, face-to-face, sharing brief lessons that they and teachers collaborated on to incorporate into students’ daily curriculum. Gerber Memorial’s CATCH program began in 2017 and now reaches more than 3,000 K-5 students in all five Newaygo County school districts.
With the pandemic forcing many schools across Michigan and in Newaygo County to use remote learning, Gerber Memorial Health Program Specialist Erica Jordan said the team turned to online solutions that local schools were already deploying to be part of the educational outreach to student.
“We knew in the summer that the academic year ahead would be like no other and would require an innovative approach that continued to engage youth in a fun, engaging and safe manner,” Jordan said.
A game-based learning platform, Newaygo County teachers and Gerber Memorial’s health team are using Kahoot to provide virtual health education.
To get a sneak peek, Kahoot can be viewed at:
Students will be asked questions, with multiple choice answers related to what they have learned about nutrition, food and wellness. Questions include: “Which 2 food groups did we learn about during our last lesson?” and “Which meal is the most important meal of the day?”
The Kahoot challenge also includes a read-along section for students. Jordan said one of the books the team chose, “Sneaky Spinach: A Children’s Book,” was especially appropriate: A boy who hates vegetables and prefers unhealthy foods learns that spinach has been sneaking its way into his food. The author, Alexis Schulze, not only encouraged the team to read her book, but she also donated 100 copies of the book to share with students.
“This kind gesture and generous donation is much appreciated and a reassuring reminder that we truly are in this together,” Jordan said. “We want to extend a very special thank-you to Alexis Schulze, author of one of our very favorite books, Sneaky Spinach!”
To learn more about Gerber Memorial’s CATCH program:
Opportunity to explore what’s out there coming in March
The Newaygo County Career-Tech Center typically hosts a Job Fair for their junior and senior students, but is expanding programming in 2021. Please join us for a Career Exploration Fair, which is open to juniors and seniors at all Newaygo County High Schools.
The event will be held virtually, via Microsoft Teams, on March 11th, 2021. As in years past, there will be a morning session beginning at 9:00 AM and an afternoon session beginning at 1:00 PM.
This event will offer local employers an opportunity to highlight their entire organization to our students, regardless of open positions.
Registration is open and you can register online here. http://survey.ncresa.org/TakeSurvey.aspx?SurveyID=ml1K38l
Due to the virtual nature and change in structure, below is an overview of how you can expect the event to go:
During the event, each employer will be in their own ‘breakout room’ within Microsoft Teams. Students will then rotate through breakout rooms to view presentations, based on the student’s interest. Each employer will have 15 minutes to provide an overview of their organization, and a brief explanation of each department (regardless of open positions). Employers will finish up with a highlight of any open positions. Each employer will have three sessions in the morning, and three sessions in the afternoon.
Below are current Career Tech Center programs:
· Culinary Arts
· Engineering Technology
· Criminal Justice (AM only)
· Heavy Equipment
· Graphics and Printing
· Construction Trades
· Business Applied Technology/Finance
· Information Technology
· Future Educators/Child Development Associates (CDA) (AM only)
As the talent gap increases, it is more important than ever to “grow talent locally”, and there is no better place to start than our very own Newaygo County students!
Partnering with the Newaygo County Career Tech Center allows your business to take advantage of:
· Summer Interns
· Work-based Learning and Job Shadow Opportunities
· Pre-Apprenticeship creation
· Field Trips
· Opportunities to speak in NCCTC classrooms
Has the pandemic put a bit of a damper on the whole wedding scene? Are more brides biding their time these days? Has hesitation hit their husbands-to-be?
Or perhaps with the usual meet/connect/start-seeing-each-other patterns upended the issue is on the front side of the whole relationship cycle. Could be that fewer people meet and connect because fewer people are interacting in those fewer places that still have people to encounter.
Or maybe it’s just that winter weddings here in the heart of our bipeninsular paradise aren’t everyone’s cup of tea?
Whatever the reason we have had just a few takers of the plunge since the new year dawned.
So here’s to those who have forged ahead with beginning their married life together. May they one day reflect that when it came time to hunker in, there was but one person they wanted to hunker in with.
And that they chose well.
The latest Marriage license applications with appreciation to the County Clerk’s office for their assistance.
Ashley Scarbrough, Hesperia & Daniel Hendrick, Hesperia
Grace Hubert, Hesperia & Shawn Pence, Fremont
Nicole Smith, Newaygo & Joseph Colon, Newaygo
Charles Hicks, Grant & Shirley Kinsman, Inglewood, California
Mallori Palmer, Grant & Christian Beyer, Kokomo, Indiana
“There is nothing more admirable than when two people who see eye to eye keep house as man and wife, confounding their enemies and delighting their friends.”-Homer, ‘The Odyssey’
An Engaging and Free Path to an Associate Degree
Early College Newaygo County (ECNC) is a unique three-year program where high school students attend college and high school classes in grade 11 and 12 and graduate with a high school diploma and a FREE associate degree at the end of a thirteenth year. The program is offered through a partnership between the Newaygo County RESA, Muskegon Community College (MCC) and the five local districts in Newaygo County.
With at least 70% of jobs requiring a post-secondary degree or credential by 2027, it is critical to obtain education and training beyond high school to secure an in-demand career. Training and education after high school provides students with the essential skills to be successful in securing their future careers.
Early College Newaygo County provides facilitated career exploration and the development of professional and educational skills with the help of Early College and MCC mentors, tutors, counselors, and staff. “ECNC is more than just a degree. It’s about learning and growing together as a cohort and becoming more appealing to future employers,” said Melissa Miller, Supervisor of Early College and Student Success Services at NC RESA.
Students apply during grade 10, begin the program in grade 11 and work towards completion in grades 12 and 13. All tuition, fees, books, and course-required materials are paid for, there is no cost to the student. Transportation to MCC and on-campus food costs will be the family or student’s responsibility. For the first two years, the Career-Tech Center bussing is available for many classes offered at NC RESA.
“The support provided by the program staff is a full wrap-around network of resources which helps the student’s academic performance and future educational and career goals,” notes Cheryl Flannery, Dean of Early College Newaygo County.
Applications for the 2021-2022 school year are now available. Interested students currently in grade 10 are encouraged to speak with their high school counselor to obtain an application. Further information can also be found at https://www.ncresa.org/Page/605. Completed applications are due no later than March 5, 2021.
“I enjoyed making friends from a different school and getting to try a difficult challenge,” offered Dakota Gleason of the 2020 Cohort.
For additional information, please feel free to contact Cheryl Flannery, Dean of Early College Newaygo County, at (231) 777-0308 or email@example.com.