Dakota Family Services

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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Nine Minutes a Day to Better Parenting

Nine Minutes a Day to Better Parenting

Nine minutes of a child’s day are consistently valuable across children of all races, socioeconomic statuses, and genders. The three minutes after they wake in the morning, the three minutes after they return home in the afternoon, and the three minutes before they go to bed are all instrumental minutes in a child’s world.…

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Your Mental Health Matters

Your Mental Health Matters

Winter is a time for bundling up, drinking hot cocoa, and celebrating holidays. In North Dakota, it may also be a time of short days, plunging temperatures, mountains of snow, and cheek-numbing wind. During times of extreme cold or winter storms, the lack of sunlight alters the neurochemicals in our bodies, disrupting our body's natural rhythms and influencing our mood.…

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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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