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City Club of Eugene: Adult Mental Health, Trauma, and Care

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Dan Meyers
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Program date: March 4, 2022

Air date: March 7, 2022

From the City Club of Eugene:

This second-of-two City Club programs on mental health focuses on the issue of Adult Mental Health, Trauma and Care. “Kids’ Mental Health” was the topic of our February 11, 2022 forum.

“Trauma” refers to an event, series of events, or set of circumstances that is experienced by an individual as physically or emotionally harmful, or life threatening, and that has lasting adverse effects. “Event, experience, effects” are often referred to as “the Es of trauma.” The National Council on Mental Wellbeing reports that 70% of adult Americans have experienced some type of traumatic event at least once in their lives. In public behavioral health, over 90% of clients have experienced trauma.

Experiences become traumatic when they overwhelm a person’s ability to cope. Traumatic experiences may be acute, chronic, or complex—a single event, long-term experience, layered, cumulative or intergenerational wound. Among the difficulties, stresses, grief and heartbreak of the past several years, many adult Americans have weathered traumatic events within the context of a global pandemic. While some adult mental health metrics have clearly worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, others are simply expressions of pre-existing, unresolved health challenges.

Our speakers today share insights to current adult mental health metrics in Lane County, the emergence of “trauma-informed care” as a practice, and strategies that can help to support greater resilience, recovery, and growth.

Program Coordinator: Kaarin Knudson

Speakers:

Bridget Byfield retired in 2020 after working nearly 20 years in child welfare at the Oregon Department of Human Services. Before that, she worked for the Multnomah Education Service District. She was a first responder for the Trauma Intervention Program, serving for eight years as a team leader. Those positions prepared her for using a trauma informed lens in working with families, youth, and community partners. In Lane County, her work was specialized in what was referred to as the Residential Unit, serving youth and families with behavioral and mental health challenges. She is an officer on the Advisory Board of Direction Services in Lane County and a food pantry volunteer at Catholic Community Services. She earned a Master’s in Public Administration from Portland State University.

Dan Isaacson is the Board President of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Lane County and a Co-Chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Lane County, a grass-roots advocacy group that supports suicide prevention initiatives in cooperation with the Suicide Prevention Program at Lane County Public Health. Isaacson is also CEO of OneGro, Inc., and a Eugene Planning Commissioner. He earned a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Arizona and a BA in Political Science from the University of Oregon.

Maureen Zalewski, PhD, is an Associate Professor and Director of Clinical Training in the UO Department of Psychology. She studies how child development and parenting is impacted by having a parent who struggles with mental health issues. Her work has included studies of parents with disorders rooted in emotion dysregulation (eg, borderline personality disorder, substance use). She is formally trained in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), an evidence-based approach to treating individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder and other disorders involving high emotional dysregulation. Her lab is currently completing a five-year clinical trial on DBT skills for mothers of preschool-aged children. She also supervises a DBT skills practicum at the University of Oregon Psychology Training Clinic.

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