Mental Health Tips

Tips for Dealing with a New Medical Diagnosis

Tips for Dealing with a New Medical Diagnosis

Whether it's cancer, a heart condition, or another chronic or catastrophic illness, a new medical diagnosis is a stressful and sometimes traumatic event. If you're like most people, you start by imagining the worst-case scenario and focusing on the limitations and changes the condition will bring to your life.…

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6 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health and Well-being

6 Ways to Improve Your Mental Health and Well-being

There is so much more to healing than finding the right medication. Try one of these ways to improve your mental health and well-being so you can become your best self!…

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What Does Autism Have to Do With Trauma?

What Does Autism Have to Do With Trauma?

Simply put, children on the autism spectrum have difficulties relating and responding to others. In more “clinical” language, autism involves impairments in social interaction, relationship-forming, and communication, along with restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior. In other words, their relationships tend to be one-sided.…

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Tips for Parents of Kids with Autism

Tips for Parents of Kids with Autism

At Dakota Family Services, we understand that working with kids who are on the autism spectrum is not a one-size-fits-all approach. While many kids have things in common, it doesn’t make sense to assume the same approach will work with all children. It is called autism “spectrum” disorder because the symptoms vary from mild to severe, indicating the level of impairment and need for intervention.…

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Dakota Family Services Celebrates the Power of Story with a Children’s Book Giveaway at Thunder Coffee

Dakota Family Services Celebrates the Power of Story with a Children’s Book Giveaway at Thunder Coffee

We’d love to get you started on a year of reading by giving you a free copy of the children’s book, “Project: Kids, Let’s Be Superheroes,” to provide children and their parents with information about mental health and emotional wellness. The book helps children understand their feelings, teaches them it’s normal to be anxious about change, and helps them find ways to cope with their emotions. Start the conversation about mental health and emotional wellness with this free book from the mental health providers at Dakota Family Services.…

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The Power of Perspective

The Power of Perspective

One day last summer, I was reading a book and came across a line that spoke to me. In her book, "The Tenth Island," Diana Marcum wrote, "It had been a tumultuous week, and it occurred to me that in all levels of crisis, it is a good idea to lie down outside and look up."…

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Gratitude In All Things

Gratitude In All Things

When life throws a wrench in your plans, it can be difficult to feel grateful for the little things. We tend to focus on what we want and don't have, over what we want and already have. For example, it's common for people to focus on their lack of material blessings while forgetting about the blessings of a good friendship or caring family members.…

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Yoga for the Mind

Yoga for the Mind

Yoga for me is first and foremost a way to relax, unwind, and feel as though I am still improving my overall physical health. Yoga combines physical activity with mental calmness and provides a safe place for our minds and bodies to relax.…

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Owning Your Feelings

Owning Your Feelings

It can be easy to get caught up in your emotions as you’re feeling them. Most people don’t think about what emotions they are dealing with, but taking the time to really identify what you’re feeling can help you better cope with challenging situations.…

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When Well-laid Plans Fall Apart

When Well-laid Plans Fall Apart

Picture this; you have this big thing in your life coming up and it is going to be glorious. You have it all planned out and have pictured how it will go in your head just shy of one million times. And then…something changes or gets in the way of your perfectly imagined outcome. Taking the following steps will help you stay on track when something doesn’t go as planned.…

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The Healing Power of Art

The Healing Power of Art

Art is a powerful medium for healing, and if you come into my office, you'll see I do a lot of art with my young clients. Sometimes it's too difficult for kids to access words to describe the hurt they feel inside. Art gives them an alternative way to communicate their thoughts and feelings that is less threatening and easier to access. Art is a way to open up a conversation in a non-confrontational manner.…

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Seven Ways to Help a Friend or Loved One Through a Challenging Time

Seven Ways to Help a Friend or Loved One Through a Challenging Time

One in five adults and children experiences a mental illness in any given year. Those problems can contribute to onset of more serious long-term conditions such as major depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. Approximately one-half of chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14. Unfortunately, long delays—sometimes decades—often occur between the time symptoms first appear and when people get help. These delays lead to problems at home, at work, in school, and in forming relationships. If someone in your life is going through a challenging time that affects their mental health, Mental Health America and the mental health professionals at Dakota Family Services give the following tips for being helpful.…

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Postpartum Depression Can Be Dangerous

Postpartum Depression Can Be Dangerous

Having a baby can be the most miraculous event of your life. But what happens when that miracle is followed by depression? YOU ARE NOT ALONE. As many as one in nine women experience depression after having a child. It can cause serious symptoms, including the inability to fully care for yourself or your new child.…

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Coping with Loneliness During Social Distancing

Coping with Loneliness During Social Distancing

Even as states loosen restrictions, some people continue to play it safe by avoiding non-essential interactions and staying home. Isolation is taking a toll. Cope with loneliness by trying out some of these ideas shared by Dr. Wayne Martinsen, Psychiatrist and Medical Director at Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, and in an article at psychologytoday.com.…

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What is Your Personal Bandwidth?

What is Your Personal Bandwidth?

I was listening to a speaker a few months ago, and he was talking about how it is almost a status symbol in today’s workplace to be overwhelmed by projects, input, decisions, information, and policies. The speaker suggested that a more successful approach was to measure and respect our own “personal bandwidth.”…

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When Your Child Gets Angry

When Your Child Gets Angry

All children have occasional temper tantrums and outbursts. Because they don’t have the internal infrastructure to deal with big emotions, they get frustrated and angry. Other emotions—sadness, irritability, shame, guilt or embarrassment—usually lie at the root of a child’s anger. Anger is the fallback emotion when a child doesn’t have the vocabulary or awareness to explain other more complicated emotions.…

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Teaching Kids Alternatives to Aggression

Teaching Kids Alternatives to Aggression

On a purely cause and effect level, the aggression of Ranch children usually stems from some combination of poor emotional regulation and impulsivity. Many of the children we treat have mood disorders and experience intense periods of depression, anger, or irritability. These moods cause their level of emotional arousal to be abnormally low or high.…

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