Message from Nancy Phillips, M.S.Ed., CAADC, CFPP:
As Coordinator for the Illinois Family Resource Center (IFRC), I want to offer help and support to families as you go through the new normal lifestyle occurring as a result of the coronavirus. As a family member, many of you are dealing with concerns of substance use disorder and mental health concerns of a person you love as well as a new way to address life. There will be resources posted to assist you through this time and hopefully motivation to stand your best in a tough time. The page will also assist in supporting you who are addressing your own recovery journey. With that in mind, I wish the best for all families. Watch for “Hints” as we begin this process.
April 11, 2021
As you travel through the day, appreciate the lessons offered for your recovery journey. The attached saying supports the need for appreciating and learning from each day’s experience. Scroll through the pages of the website and find tools for learning from each day.
April 9, 2021
The Illinois Family Resource Center encourages you to learn more about substance use disorders (SUD's). This month is Alcohol Awareness Month. What better time to educate yourself and your family on the disease and learn strategies for reducing the stigma associated with it. Partners in Prevention offers a link to an Alcohol Awareness Month toolkit to assist communities in supporting health and recovery of their families.
To learn more, visit: https://pipnj.org/aam2021.
April 8, 2021
As we, the family, navigate the journey of life and recovery with loved one, it is helpful to have reminders to guide us to our own health and sanity. One of the tested and true resources for support is Al-Anon. This self-help group is for family and friends of those experiencing substance misuse. Today, as we move forward into spring, it seems time to reflect on a Today’s Reminder from One Day at a Time in Al-Anon. You have permission to take care of yourself. Read and reflect on your journey. From April 7 daily reading: “I want to remember, every time I’m tempted to take a heavy, somber view of what is happening, that it may not be so bad after all… I’ll cultivate a knack for recognizing and enjoying humorous moment.”
April 6, 2021
Prevent Child Abuse Illinois shares with us that Child Abuse Prevention Month is underway. They share that the COVID 19 pandemic has had a significant impact on our children and families. It has caused an increase in stress and a change in our normal routines and activities. We have also experienced a decrease in availability of services and support. That means this year, more than ever, it is important that we raise awareness about child abuse prevention and learn how we can create and sustain healthy and safe childhoods for all our children. To learn more about preventive strategies and support in our community’s recovery journeys, visit Prevent Child Abuse Illinois and check out the activities and support available. Take care of our children.
March 31, 2021
If you are a teen, school is almost out. If you are a parent, hours without a plan may be scary for you. WELL… Are you ready for some fun drug-free outdoor fun? The Just Think Twice, Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) website has some great ideas for your summer fun. For example, DEA suggests you have 5 or 6 friends meet in your backyard for quick dance party! Bring a tablet and take a dance class online. Try a sidewalk mural or update your camera skills. For more information visit: Are You Ready for Some Socially Distant Fun? | Just Think Twice. While there may be a few activities not available due to the pandemic, there are still a lot of socially distant ways to have fun.
March 30, 2021
Is your young adult graduating from high school this spring? As a parent be aware that underage drinking is prevalent after seniors graduate high school. Even before turning 21 and being legally allowed to drink, young adults tend to drink more each year. You can help the young adults in your life make healthy choices in their late teens and early 20s. It may be as simple as talking with them about the consequences of underage drinking. Even as they are moving out on their own, you have a positive influence on choices affecting their health and lifestyle. Know your guidance matters. To learn ways to discuss decisions with your young adult, SAMHSA has developed guidelines to help.
March 26, 2021
If you work with families within the welfare system, take time to review this resource. The National Center on Substance Abuse and Child Welfare helps communities move toward family-centered care. The NCSACW has prepared a tool to assist professionals gain a better understanding of the substance use treatment and recovery process. Professionals using this tool will be able to make informed referral decisions for services that are a good fit and meet the needs of the parents and families they work with. To review the tool, Understanding Substance Use Disorder Treatment: A Resource Guide for Professionals Referring to Treatment, visit https://ncsacw.samhsa.gov/topics/family-centered-approach.aspx. For more information regarding referrals for treatment services, visit our pages in the Family & Friends website.
March 18, 2021
Did you know there is help and support for persons experiencing issues related to gambling? This addiction impacts all the family, financially, emotionally and lifestyle. To learn more about the issues of gambling and the help available, visit Home | We Know the Feeling.
March 17, 2021
Everyone who works with families is experiencing many challenges. People have lost their incomes, while essential workers to go to work afraid of becoming ill and/or infecting their families. Parents are becoming the school teachers and stressed taking care of little kids too. Many are working from home if they still have a job and trying to balance their life. Children struggle too, especially when the persons hey rely on have strained interactions, relationships, lack resources. Research indicates sometimes even abuse and neglect are part of the environment. If this describes the families you are working with, take time to learn more about strengths-based practices. The Center for the Study of Social Policy, Strengthening Families Protective Factors Framework, offers a six-step tool to help you stay grounded in family strengths and help families succeed even in crisis. Explore the Strengths-Based Steps for Engaging with Families at Strengthening-Families-COVID-tool-for-workers-FINAL.pdf (cssp.org) or Strengthening Families | Center for the Study of Social Policy (cssp.org). Take care of yourself in this environment.
March 12, 2021
Are you a person providing healthcare in these times of the COVID-19 pandemic? With the continuing restrictions related to social distancing and masks, those of you providing the needed support services for our health may need your own support. The Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed a tip sheet, Tips for Healthcare Professionals: Coping with Stress and Compassion Fatigue, that explores stress and compassion fatigue, as well as signs of distress after a disaster. It identifies ways to cope and enhance resilience, along with resources for more information and support. Hint: If you are a volunteer in this environment, this tip sheet is a good resource for you too.
Here’s the Latest. https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/product_thumbnails/PEP20-01-01-016%20-%20Thumbnail.jpg for more information.
We are often reading or hearing about traumatic stress and the impact of the past year on our children and their families. You may not understand what “trauma” is or how it is defined. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) describes it this way: “Children who suffer from child traumatic stress are those who have been exposed to one or more traumas over the course of their lives and develop reactions that persist and affect their daily lives after the events have ended.” It is important to understand the issues related to trauma, especially if you are experiencing some life issues yourself related to a recovery journey for substances or mental health. Learn more about how to help your children and yourself in accessing support for trauma. Visit What is Child Trauma? | The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (nctsn.org) for more information.
March 4, 2021
If you are a family member who loves a person with substance use disorder, keeping yourself healthy can be a challenge. The stress and chaos often found in relationships may test your physical and mental health. One way to address the issue and move forward in your life is to set healthy boundaries. Defining boundary for your situation is the key to implementing the action. Review the information below. (author unknown). Identify the issues you can work on to be a stronger, healthier family member. Learn more about family wellness and support at the Illinois Family Resource Center’s Family & Friends page: Let’s Talk.
March 3, 2021
March is here and that means “spring break” is close for many young people and their caregivers. For many families, learning has been a combination of home schooling, classroom learning or both. For the younger children this may be a real confusing time since they are just learning about formal “learning.” As a caregiver, especially as we continue to manage the new environment created this past year, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) has some impactful activities for you to access and make your “spring break” a productive and fun interaction with the children. Making this a good time is part of supporting our younger ones who struggle feeling of confusion about the changes in family life and the stresses they witness. For a fun “break” visit check out the game and activity menu at Games | Sesame Street | PBSKids. Have a good “spring break.”
March 1, 2021
As we enter March, the weather is warmer, the spring rains have begun and it is a time to look ahead with peace and hope for all who have struggled to manage the “new normal” we have experienced. This is especially true for persons on a recovery journey from substance use. Take a few moments this morning and think about the strengths you have shown during this time. Generate a “grateful” list and share in a peaceful moment with a person you love. Enter the coming spring with a new energy and find support on your recovery experience. For more support on your journey each day, review the Illinois Family Resource Center website pages for tips on taking care of yourself. Find peace and move into the new season in a healthy way.
February 24, 2021
God Grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
These words, known as the Serenity Prayer, provide peace and support to many members of 12-step and other self-help groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon in their daily lives. The prayer helps people live a philosophy to assist in a balance between acceptance and change. These 25 words are just the beginning of the full prayer. For more information on the history of the Serenity Prayer, visit The Serenity Prayer and Twelve Step Recovery | Hazelden Betty Ford. Explore the peace and hope these words may bring to families impacted by substance use disorder.
February 23, 2021
Are you concerned about a loved one’s substance use? Remember, take care of yourself. Be aware recovery support groups can be beneficial for people whose loved ones have substance use disorder. You may benefit in talking with families who have loved ones struggling with addiction. Support groups within communities or offered virtually, may allow you to openly express your feelings. Counseling may also be helpful to learn how to manage your family chaos and move forward in a healthy way. Check out the following: Celebrate Recovery at Celebrate Recovery Locator Map (crgroups.info), Al-Anon at Al-Anon Meeting Search | Al-Anon Family Groups (al-anon.org), SMART Recovery at SMART Recovery Family & Friends | Addiction Help for Family Members - SMART Recovery, and Nar-Anon at Find a Meeting — Nar-Anon Family Groups (nar-anon.org).
February 22, 2015
Thank you to the author of the following thoughts. As a family member, it is often hard to focus on the disease rather than the behavior. Be caring of yourself and the ones you love. Review the variety of Illinois Family Resource Center website pages that address substance use disorder and the support for family.
February 19, 2015
What are prescription opioids? We hear references and warnings regarding opioid drugs, especially prescription drugs. It important to understand the appropriate use and the potential risk with prescription opioids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) tells us that opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Opioids are prescribed as medicine because they contain chemicals that relax the body and relieve pain. Opioids are sometimes used for non-medical reasons because they can make people feel very relaxed and "high. This is dangerous because opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common. Keep you and your family safe. Learn more about the use/misuse of opioids.
Visit the NIDA information at: Prescription Opioids DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
February 17, 2021
February is Black History Month— and as we enter the last part of the month, the Illinois Family Resource Center encourages you to continue teaching your child about Black History. As you begin exploring the Black scientists, politicians, activists, artists, and more who have been a part of U.S. history, it is a good time to encourage your child’s interest about their contributions. Discussing these achievements encourages understanding. It helps teach children how to connect their personal experiences with the experiences of others. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) offers many activities, age appropriate, to assist you in this endeavor. As a parent, these resources offered by PBS can enhance your opportunities to experience new areas of learning with your child.
Visit: Celebrating Black Leaders | PBS KIDS for Parents to appreciate more of our history.
February 12, 2021
Loving someone experiencing a substance use disorder is difficult at times. Understanding and forgiving takes work but it is worth the effort to support those you love, including yourself. Valentines Day is this weekend. Take this day to let those you care about know you love and care. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration has some resources to offer. Visit Parents and Families | SAMHSA to gather tools for understanding and moving forward.
February 10, 2021
Register Now for National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® In these stressful times, our efforts to empower teens and young adults in making informed decisions about drugs and alcohol are more important than ever. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) invites you to support our teens by joining the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW), March 22–28, 2021. NDAFW is a week-long national health observance that highlights the science-based facts about how drugs and alcohol affect the brain/body. You can support our teens by sponsoring a NDAFW group activity.
To find out more about this challenging week, visit Get Activity Ideas | NIDA for Teens (drugabuse.gov).
February 8, 2021
With COVID 19 continuing, schools and families are still struggling with how to best support our children as they are learning. Some children are in school, some virtual. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified steps schools and parents can take to support healthy dietary behaviors and develop a positive social emotional climate for our children’s learning. School nutrition policies and practices can impact the overall learning and social climate. They can support core competencies. As a parent or family member on a recovery journey, this information supports a healthier environment for recovery of all. Work with your schools in addressing these CDC policy ideas to enhance your child’s learning. Go to the Friends & Families page: Here's the Latest. Learn how schools can support the learning process in the stressful times with dietary approaches.
February 5, 2021
Do you suspect a family member is living with a substance use disorder (SUDs)? When a family member is experiencing SUDs, it can affect more than just the person in need of recovery. You, as family, are likely to notice when your loved one is experiencing changes in their mood or behavior. It is important to know you can help your loved one connect to treatment, resources, and services to begin and stay on their recovery journey. Remember, it is also important for you to understand the need to prioritize your own health as well, when supporting your loved one. For help with a substance use disorder, check out the Illinois Family Resource Centers Families & Friends web page Recognizing Substance Use Disorders.
January 29, 2021
Remember: Sharing prescription drugs with family members or friends is illegal. Did you know that next to marijuana and alcohol, prescription drugs are the most generally abused substances by our teens? These can be addictive and have harmful effects such as an overdose. This is especially true when used along with other mood-altering substances. Many teens obtain prescription drugs from their family or friends. Teens find prescription drugs and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs wherever the medicine is kept, and they know where it is. Want to learn more? The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has a publication, Prescription for Disaster, to help you understand the issues. Take a look.
You will find it at Prescription for Disaster: How Teens Misuse Medicine (getsmartaboutdrugs.gov).
January 28, 2021
As we explore the impact of substance use disorder on our families, one of the most often misunderstood is the youngest family members, the children. The children may be impacted by caregiver’s inability to parent and provide safe and nurturing structure. The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (DEC) works at bringing our communities and the professionals to address the needs of families and children in unique and new ways. Explore the work and training being provided by DEC. For a better understanding of the issues, visit National Alliance For Drug Endangered Children (nationaldec.org), (https://www.nationaldec.org). Learn ways to help protect our high-risk children in supportive and caring ways.
January 26, 2021
Having a family member or other loved one with a substance use disorder is tough. It’s often confusing how you can help them with their issues. As family we want to help our children and keep them out of trouble. We struggle with not wanting to overstep boundaries. Be aware that enabling and helping are two different behaviors when addressing response to a loved one’s disorder. The American Psychological Association defines enabling as “a process whereby someone (i.e., the enabler) contributes to continued maladaptive or pathological behavior (e.g., child abuse, substance abuse) in another person.” Helping is supporting the treatment and recovery journey, setting boundaries to manage your responses in a healthy manner and allowing your loved one to address the consequences of their use. To find more information regarding family support, browse the postings.
January 25, 2021
Do your kids finish activities faster than you can catch up with? With the continued COVID concerns, you, as parents, are more challenged to help your children learn and stay busy. If you are on your own recovery journey at this time, the extra demand on your resources adds stress. The Public Broadcasting Service, (PBS) offers printable activity packets you may download to keep your kids playing and learning for hours. The booklets are packed with crafts, games, and activities your family will love. Support your kids with interactive fun.
You will find these resources at: https://www.pbs.org/parents/printables/learn-along-bingo-for-ages-6-8-sharing-your-creativity.
January 19, 2021
The coronavirus and the ongoing predicament that’s resulted has changed many things. It has created “new normal” for our daily lives. Just be aware that even during this time, your children are still developing by learning, and growing. Everyone, parents and caregivers, can help support a child’s healthy development in just a few minutes at a time with some simple, free activities can make a difference. The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University has compiled some suggestions to use to make this growth continue and possibly reduce some of your stress. Take a look at the resources offered on their website by visiting https://46y5eh11fhgw3ve3ytpwxt9r-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/HCDC_ServeReturn_for_Parents_Caregivers_2019.pdf. Use the challenging times to promote your bonding and learning with your child.
January 15, 2021
Are your children are looking for your help to understand what’s going on with the riots at the U.S. Capitol last week? Having an open and honest talk with your children is important, but it’s also important to take a moment for yourself before boarding this journey. The South Southwest MHTTC has some suggestions for you as parents. It’s okay to not know all of the answers to your children’s questions. Parents are having their own concerns. In addition, some are struggling with their own recovery journey and the stress the riots have created. It can be difficult to address these questions for anyone at any time. Get some direction and support. Visit: Talking With Your Children After Riots at U.S. Capitol | Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network. Give yourself credit for addressing and answering their questions. In addition, visit the other Illinois Family Resource Center website pages for more communication suggestions.
January 14, 2021
In debt from the holidays? Did you try solving it through the holiday gambling challenges? Did you fill your social distancing time with online gambling? Be aware that problem gambling is a growing issue in the United States and around the world. You’re not alone when it comes to problem gambling. Experience the stories of persons with “lived experience” of how gambling has affected their lives. If these sound familiar, visit the website provided by the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery at Home | We Know the Feeling. They want to hear from you and talk to you about your own story. They can help you access help. Call or text 1.800.gambler or text ILGAMB to 5334. There is help and support.
January 8, 2021
For many families, this week is a return to our “new” normal. Following the holiday breaks, youth are returning to virtual learning, regular face-to-face curriculum and/or part-time in class. This is a good time to review the safety guidelines for social distancing and most importantly, the wearing of masks. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shared the following areas for your review:
- People age 2 and older should wear masks in public settings;
- Masks work best when everyone wears one;
- A mask is NOT a substitute for social distancing by staying at least 6 feet apart;
- Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
Visit the CDC website at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-coverings.html. We will work through these continuing COVID issues together and support safe and healthy behaviors.
January 6, 2021
As a parent and as a family member, knowing the signs for problems with substance abuse is important. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) offers the following information: “Addiction can happen at any age, but it usually starts when a person is young. Addiction affects how people think and what they do.” Be aware that one important sign of addiction is that a person continues to use drugs even though it’s harming their physical health, performance at school or work, or relationships. The person feels like they can’t stop using drugs, no matter what happens. Visit the NIDA website and absorb what you, as a family member, may learn regarding the signs of substance use problems. You will find it at: What Are the Signs of Having a Problem With Drugs? | NIDA for Teens (drugabuse.gov). Start out your new year with the knowledge and tools to support a healthy and drug free life. Check out more information on the Family & Friends pages.
January 5, 2021
Do you ever wonder why your partner won’t quit drinking? Do you become frustrated and focused on “fixing” them? Are the promises to stop using broken? Learn tools to take care of yourself as you go on this journey. People experiencing substance use disorder impact the lives of all who care about them, not just themselves. The Illinois Family Resource Center (IFRC) encourages you to visit the IFRC website and explore all the information and resources open to you. Understanding how someone else’s use impacts you is important. One great support is Al-Anon, a 12-step self-help program. With the current COVID-19 issues many of the groups are meeting virtually. To find a meeting that fits your needs, visit Find an Al-Anon or Alateen Face-to-Face, Phone, or Online Meeting (al-anon.org). Explore additional resources available here on www.illinoisfamilyresources.org. Remember, taking care of yourself is important!
December 30, 2020
As we enter mid-week and the festivities for Kwanzaa are in process, now may be a great time to explore fun, culturally focused activities for children. Take a minute to see how to incorporate cultural games and storytelling along with Kwanzaa arts, crafts, decorations, music and dance into your celebration. Take a look at the information on the official Kwanzaa website and celebrate with your children. Visit www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/for-kids.html. The Illinois Family Resource Center wishes you and your family an unforgettable holiday and a safe New Year.
December 21, 2020
Learn why Ho… Ho… Ho for teens this holiday should be NO… NO… NO!!! The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) shares the following on the teen blog site: “The teen brain is like a computer program that’s still being coded. Because it’s developing, it’s more vulnerable than the adult brain to changes caused by drug (and alcohol) use.” As a parent, it is often tempting to give into the teen “cry” for being an adult just for the holiday and allowed to have alcohol with the adults. Visit the NIDA teen website and read the at https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/why-does-nida-study-addiction-teens?utm_source=teenRSS&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=teen-Blog. Watch the video explaining the teen brain issues and why it is best to make your HO… a NO. For more NIDA teen blog links scroll the Illinois Family Resource Center web pages. Have a safe and sober holiday.
December 18, 2020
Christmas is one week from today. This has been a “new normal” year for most of us. As we begin the holiday week, the Public Broadcasting services (PBS) has some activities to incorporate into our family traditions. Visit their website at www.pbs.org/parents/crafts-and-experiments/make-leaf-imprinted-ornaments and learn about making your own personalized ornaments. It is an opportunity to make keepsake symbols that represent your achievements of 2020, your recovery milestones and our family values. Be creative. Let the child in you sneak out. Let your children generate memories. For more holiday ideas review the Illinois Family Resource center pages. Be safe.
December 8, 2020
Did you know that there are some high schools actually designed for students who are recovering from substance use disorders? The National Institute on Drug Abuse features one school on their teen website. Take a minute to explore by going to the Family & Friends page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders.
December 7, 2020
Family traditions and community celebrations initiate this week with Hanukkah. With communities experiencing the “new normal” of the COVID-19 pandemic, now is a good time to come together and learn more about our December holidays practiced by our diverse communities. Hanukkah begins Thursday evening. To help appreciate Hanukkah and its meanings, Good Housekeeping has provided an article on their website to help us learn more about this important holiday. For those on a recovery journey and the families impacted by the recent chaos, our understanding and support throughout the holiday events may be important to a healthy celebration.
Visit Good Housekeeping at: https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/holidays/a34486992/when-is-hanukkah-this-year.
December 4, 2020
In this busy season of holiday joyfulness, people in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, and their families, find the holidays can be an especially challenging time to stay healthy and sober. Too often unrealistic expectations, schedule demands, unhealthy self-care and the holiday financial strain can stress emotions. As a result, you may find you are spending time away from recovery support and sober routines. This may make you more vulnerable to relapse. In addition, family customs, past memories and annual gatherings are often closely associated with substance use, putting your recovery at risk. Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation offers some tips for navigating he holidays in a healthy recovery manner. Take a minute out of your busy day and visit https://www.hazeldenbettyford.org/articles/tips-for-enjoying-sober-holidays?. For other resources scroll through our past postings. Be safe.
December 2, 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that on November 27, 2020, more than 1 million COVID-19 cases were reported in the United States over the past 7 days. As cases increase, they share the safest way to celebrate is at home with the people you live with. They remind us that gatherings with family and friends who do not live with us can increase the chances of getting or spreading COVID-19 or the flu. Their website, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/holidays.html, offers resources to help plan a healthy and safe holiday. Visit for the following:
- Considerations for Small Gatherings;
- Who should avoid in-person celebrations;
- Considerations for Hosting or Attending a Gathering;
- Steps to take if exposed to COVID-19 during a holiday gathering.
December 1, 2020
As we enter this time between Thanksgiving and the various holidays, the Illinois Family Resource Center wants to offer a link to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) for Teens website. The links will offer you a great resource for you as a parent but support you in a healthy recovery journey. Take a look at Helpful Links for Parents | NIDA for Teens (drugabuse.gov) and use the information in your daily life.
November 23, 2020
As we enter the holiday week, generating gratitude may be difficult following the past months of the pandemic. However, for your own health and wellness and those of our children, creating the “gratitude attitude” is important. This is an important part of a recovery progression in your journey as a family. Visit the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) website today for ways to assist you and your children in this process. PBS offers learning through video apps and activity suggestions. Create a list of thankfulness with your children and visit the list throughout the holidays. You will find the PBS information at www.pbs.org/parents/practicing-gratitude.
November 20, 2020
As we enter the weekend before Thanksgiving, it seems propriate to think about the past events of 2020. In the midst of our chaos, remembering the things to be cherished is important. One of those is the resources available for substance use disorder (SUDs) families. Over the next week, the Illinois Family Resource Center will offer links to support a healthy holiday in this stressful pandemic time. There is help and support. It may look different this year but you can keep your and your family’s recovery journey focused. First, access the 12-step programs of Alcoholics Anonymous (https://www.aa.org/) and Al-Anon for family and friends. (https://al-anon.org/). Since many meetings are no longer operating face-to-face, check out the links for virtual support and gain peace and calm for your holiday.
November 19, 2020
Step back. Make your holidays less stressful. If you or someone you care about is experiencing gambling related issues, check out this new resource. As a result of the pandemic, Gamblers, Family and Friends In Recovery was formed. Their mission: “Gamblers, Family and Friends In Recovery (GFFR), was born out of the need to support compulsive gamblers, and families and friends affected by someone’s gambling, who are no longer able to attend face-to-face meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic.” Their current focus is to provide a resource in finding online meetings efficiently. Check out https://gamblersinrecovery.com/ and use the healthy resources available for a successful recovery virtually. Scroll through the Illinois Family Resource Center web pages for additional ideas of holiday support.
November 16, 2020
As the winds begin to blow and Illinois is facing an ongoing issue with COVID-19, the Illinois Family Resource Center is providing a link to a set of positive ideas to manage a sober and healthy holiday experience. Research is surfacing that indicates those on a recovery journey, including families, are experiencing a higher risk of relapse due to the continued issues of COVID and the stress and triggers it creates. The American Addiction Center offers some healthy guidelines on their website at https://drugabuse.com/blog/stay-sober-these-holidays/. Plan for fun and rewarding holiday times. Remember, there are in your community who are staying sober this holiday season. No matter what stage of recovery you or your family member is in, it is important to plan ahead so that you feel confident in your actions.
November 17, 2020
We all enjoy family mealtime traditions — whether for a special holiday or during a routine family dinner — are huge opportunities for children to learn. Practicing manners and conversation skills like listening, storytelling, and asking questions while sharing family traditions makes great learning and bonding time. Make the time special with discussion questions like: “Do you know where our family is from?” or “What are your favorite traditions that our family has?” sesame Street has many ideas for enhancing this holiday time. Visit Sesame Street and take a look. We will link other ideas as the holidays progress. Take the opportunity to tell your child the story of their family.
November 11, 2020
As we celebrate and honor our veterans, the Illinois Family Resource Center wants to honor the families “serving” from home. One of the most impacted is our children. They need family and community support as they manage a change in the family with deployment, wounded parent, transfers and other stress that goes along with this life. To help support our military families and their children, Sesame Street has a great selection of resources for children on their communities website: https://sesamestreetformilitaryfamilies.org/. It also has videos for parents and for providers who seek additional information. Thank you for all the sacrifices your families are making.
November 10, 2020
Protecting our children is a priority. With the stress of the approaching holidays in the midst of the COVID issues, it is important we are protecting our children who are living in unsafe substance use environments. The National Alliance for Drug Endangered Children (National DEC) exists to help make a difference in the lives of those children. This is accomplished by bringing professionals and communities together to address the issue in matchless ways. The DEC defines drug endangered children in this way: “(They are) children who are at risk of suffering physical or emotional harm as a result of illegal drug use, possession, manufacturing, cultivation, or distribution. They may also be children whose caretaker’s substance misuse interferes with the caretaker’s ability to parent and provide a safe and nurturing environment.” Learn more about this approach to keep children emotionally and physically safe.
Visit the National DEC website at www.nationaldec.org. Love and support our “little ones.”
November 9, 2020
As the holidays approach, being thankful is a vital part of celebrating. However, for those in recovery being prepared for the holiday events is just as important. Preparing ahead of challenges to sobriety can boost your sense of self and success during your recovery process. To assist you and your family in “planning ahead” for the holiday experience, we will provide a variety of ideas throughout the holidays. To begin with, recognize that the season often brings unwelcome stress and depression. Managing the traditional holiday responsibilities is enough but if COVID-19 is spreading in your area it impacts the community. To add to it, you may feel even more stress because you are forced to change your holiday plans. Take a breath. Explore options for dealing with the holidays. The Mayo Clinic Staff have offered some suggestions to assist you. One important idea is to check out a meeting near you or find one online.
Visit www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress/art-20047544. Be safe.
November 4, 2020
Keep you and your family healthy. This s a reminder that it the time of year to review your health care insurance needs. The Illinois Department of Insurance announced the start of ACA Marketplace Open Enrollment beginning Sunday, November 1 and running through December 15, 2020. The Illinois Department of Insurance (IDOI) provides consumer information to begin the search. Visit at www2.illinois.gov/sites/getcovered/Pages/default.aspx. You will find accurate information to help compare health plans, get free enrollment help and even financial assistance (if you qualify). Stay healthy.
November 2, 2020
The colored leaves are falling. November is here. Thanksgiving is headed our way. In this time of managing our lives with the continuing COVID-19 issues, thinking about gratitude and gratefulness may be difficult, especially if you or someone you love has a substance use disorder. Throughout the month of November, the Illinois Family Resource Center (IFRC) will post ideas and support for all of us experiencing the “new” normal of our lives. In all our current chaos, it is reassuring to know that gratitude and thankfulness is an important part of a healthy outlook on living. For those who are recovering from substance use disorder and for their families, gratitude for the things that their recovery offers can make it easier to stay focused on moving forward and enjoying a safe meaningful holiday. Check out todays resource and review the 9 Things to Be Grateful for in Recovery.
October 28, 2020
If you are a person concerned or impacted by someone else’s alcohol use, there are resources to help you through the chaos. For family and friends Al-Anon meetings are a mutual support group of peers who share their experience in applying the Al-Anon principles to problems related to the effects of a problem drinker in their lives. If Al-Anon is a new experience, visit https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/ and review the list of things to keep in mind at your first meeting. Knowing everyone at the meeting shares as an equal, but you are free to just listen, is very important in your feeling of a safe environment. With the holidays ahead of us, make your life less stressed and yourself healthy. With the need for social distancing continuing, many meetings are being offered virtually. The Al-Anon website can link you to resources for electronic meetings. Taking care of yourself is important.
October 27, 2020
The National Drug Take Back Day was held this last weekend. BUT ask yourself: Have I ever gone through the medicine cabinet and wondered what to do with all the pain medicines from an ankle sprain, surgery or headaches? Do I hang on to the pills because we “might” need them sometime later? Unfortunately, most people who misuse opioids have acquired them from a family member or friend. Often these are “borrowed” by the abuser without the person they were prescribed for knowing. In our homes we need to make the “Drug Take Back” an ongoing practice.
As household members, it is important to know the best ways to dispose of these dangerous unused substances. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recommends disposing of unused medications through drug take-back programs that are available in many locations. For the appropriate methods of disposal or sites that provide drop off boxes, visit the Family & Friends page: Let's Talk. It will link to the IDPH website page and valuable resources. Remember, opioids are addictive and opioids are deadly. Help prevent a tragedy.
October 26, 2020
Join the MISSION to help keep kids’ drug-free. Red Ribbon Week takes place each year from October 23 through 31st. Red Ribbon Week has been devoted to the well-being of our community’s children since 1985. A lot can change in three decades. The challenges of youth today are not the same as when Red Ribbon Week began, but the mission has never changed: “Support our nation’s families and communities in nurturing the full potential of healthy, drug free youth.” Support your healthy community and lifestyle by visiting: https://www.redribbon.org/. For more ideas to create a drug free family and community, review the Illinois Family Resource Center pages for ideas.
October 22, 2020
As our COVID-19 issues continue, so do our concerns. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has followed the potential implications of COVID-19 that may impact individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs). Last April, Dr. Nora Volkow, NIDA Director, offered some potential issues for those with SUDs. It is important for family members to know the potential increased risks and to adhere to the recommended safety steps. Dr. Volkow continues to offer new information on COVID-19 and other emerging information on her blog. To view her COVID-19 video and updated information, visit https://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nida/noras-blog/2020/04/covid-19-potential-implications-individuals-substance-use-disorders. Be aware and help keep our families safe.
Stop and Listen
October 21, 2020
Sometimes understanding the chaos of being in a family or relationship with someone experiencing substance use disorder (SUDs) is overwhelming. AND, sometimes something as simple as listening to other’s personal stories may help you through the roughest times. The Partnership to End Addiction offers a group of personal stories on their website. Take a minute to cruise the personal stories of those on a recovery journey if you are a person with SUDs or impacted as a family person. Learn you are not alone. Learn more on Family & Friends page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders.
October 19, 2020
Read and Learn… A Slippery Slope: The Dangers of Prescription Drug Misuse and Abuse is a brochure published by the State of Illinois, Illinois Department of Public Health to help address the crisis of drug overdose. The brochure offers basic information regarding the commonly abused prescription drugs. It also offers signs and symptoms and withdrawal symptoms of use. With the National Drug Take Back Day this Saturday, the Illinois Family Resource Center encourages you to participate. Read and learn more about the importance of this program. Review the poster and access your local prescription drop point. Be safe and save lives. For more resources visit www.illinoisfamilyresources.org.
October 16, 2020
Your words matter. That is often forgotten as we discuss addition and the people impacted by it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has developed an information sheet to help with the understanding of the power of words. This page offers background information and tips for people, especially providers, to keep in mind while using person-first language. It also offers a guide to terms to avoid to reduce stigma and negative bias when discussing addiction. Although some language that may be considered stigmatizing is commonly used within social communities of people who struggle with substance use disorders (SUDs), the guidelines can show leadership in how language can destigmatize the disease of addiction. Understanding that stigma is a discrimination against an identifiable group of people, a place, or a nation is a beginning. The stigma about people with substance use disorders might include inaccurate or unfounded thoughts like: they are dangerous, incapable of managing treatment, or at fault for their condition.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) wants to remind you that it is National School Lunch Week. As your child returns to school or to virtual learning from home, school staff may use a variety of methods to provide access to nutritious meals. The federal National School Lunch Program serves over 30 million students each day and ensures that students can get healthy meals with fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and important nutrients. Not only is it important during the face to face school day but also for those learning from home. The CDC offers help with achieving this goal. To learn more about accessing the lunch program and the importance of nutrition at this stressful time visit the Family & Friends page: Let's Talk. Remember, a brain needs well fed with a well-balanced lunch. It is an important part of school success.
October 8, 2020
As you are most likely aware, gambling is more popular in Illinois than ever. According to a National Survey of Problem Gambling Services, more than 2% of adults in Illinois demonstrated gambling disorders. If you have concerns about someone you love or about your own gambling experiences, you’re not alone. The Illinois Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) reports on their gambling website, (https://weknowthefeeling.org), that approximately 6% of U.S. college students have a gambling problem. If you are concerned about your own gambling, be aware that help is available to support you in recovery. If you are concerned about a family member or friends gambling, there is also help for you to gain a better understanding of the gambling disorder and to work on the issues that have been a result of this relationship.
To access gambling treatment in Illinois, visit https://weknowthefeeling.org for a directory of providers.
October 7, 2020
If you are a parent frustrated with the issues of managing your young child in the middle of our “new normal,” take a deep breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a great resource addressing the essentials of parenting. Essentials for Parenting Toddlers and Preschoolers is a free, online resource developed by the CDC. It is designed for parents of 2 to 4-year-old children and offers many resources including articles with a variety of skills and techniques, “Frequently Asked Questions,” fun and engaging videos and free print resources like chore charts and daily schedules. These tools are a strong support for parenting with our continued limited interaction with people we rely on for support. CDC recognizes that every child and parent is unique and faces different situations and challenges daily. They offer new ideas for parenting to help make the best decisions about what can work with your family.
Visit https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/overview.html and https://www.cdc.gov/parents/essentials/activities/activities-structure.html. For more family support, visit the Illinois Family Resource Center at www.illinoisfamilyresources.org.
October 5, 2020
As we emerge from the past months by moving ahead in our lives with the COVID-19 issues continuing, SELF website shares information regarding how our relationship with alcohol has evolved. In the article by Sarah Jacoby, “New Research Suggests Women Are Turning to Alcohol to Cope With Pandemic Stress,” SELF shared how a few recent studies suggest the stress of the pandemic is changing relationships with drinking, particularly for women. One study described women self-reported consuming alcohol 17% more often in 2020 than they did in 2019. These studies indicate women are using alcohol as a strategy to cope during these stressful times. In another study, the results stated participants reported their drinking frequency increased as their level of fear, stress, and distress increased. However, the results were far more pronounced for women than men. To learn more about this concern, visit https://www.self.com/story/womenalcohol-pandemic-stress.
October 1, 2020
If you are one of the 8.7 million young people who live in households with at least one parent or caregiver who is coping with a substance use problem, learn how to take care of yourself from the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s teen website. Living with a person who has a substance use disorder (SUDs) can be especially difficult for you young people who can’t leave the house for other activities. This is especially true with the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. If this is happening to you, it’s important to understand how it might be affecting you or other children in the home. Visit the Teens & Young Adult page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders. Be safe and be healthy.
September 30, 2020
Many parents and family members hear or read about the opioid crisis we are experiencing in our country. However, with the serious issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic and our countries unrest, it becomes overwhelming to think about opioids and the impact they have on our lives. Dr. Nora D. Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse has forwarded a letter to parents and families with some resources for addressing the concerns and risks with our young people. The seven-part resource guide may help you handle the communication you need to have, especially in this time of extra stress and fear that our current environment may cause our youth. Visit https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/opioids-facts-parents-need-to-know/letter-to-parents and follow the guide.
September 28, 2020
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Are you concerned that someone you care about is struggling with a substance use disorder (SUDs) and you are not sure how to handle it during the COVID-19 issues? Over the next three postings the Illinois Family Resource Center will give you some resources generated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Be aware that even during the COVID-19 emergency, you can get quality alcohol treatment through telehealth care. In your treatment search, ask providers if they provide virtual or phone sessions. There are thousands of SUDs providers nationwide. We'll show you how to search trusted directories to find some that meet your needs. For more detail, go to Family & friends page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders.
September 23, 2020
Are you dealing with a parent who abuses alcohol or drugs — or do you know someone who is? The National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA) can help! In order to better support persons in pain due to alcohol and drug dependency in their families, they offer a variety of programs and products designed to offer support. One unique support is the Kit For Kids that contains information and skills that can help protect the emotional survival of a child you may know that is dealing with parental addiction. If you are the stable support for your grandchild, niece or neighbor, access this kit. You can make a great difference in the child’s life as you offer the appropriate support. You may access the kit below. For more support ideas visit the pages of the Illinois Family Resource Center.
September 22, 2020
Did you know that Miss America 2020, Camille Schrier, is a scientist? She earned her bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and systems biology and is now working on a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. As Miss America, Ms. Schrier has said her goal is to help educate the country about the importance of using medications safely. Ms. Schrier recently sat down with NIDA’s Director, Dr. Nora Volkow, for a virtual conversation about prescription pain medications (opioids). Below, check out a few video clips from their conversation!
September 21, 2020
Fall is here! Take a minute to smell the leaves as they fall. Hear them crackle as you step on them. Smile at the squirrels storing food for the winter. Take a minute and reflect on the past few months. Explore the good things you have learned about yourself and your journey through the new “normal.” If you are a family member experiencing the chaos of trying to educate your school age children or support a person in recovery through virtual interaction, help keep yourself focused and healthy, with a browse through the Illinois Family Resource Center pages. Gain ideas to help you stay healthy and manage our new environment.
September 18, 2020
What is binge drinking? According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 25 percent of people in the United States ages 12 and older reported binge drinking during the past month, yet many do not understand what BINGE drinking is. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of consuming alcohol that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern equals consuming 4 or more drinks (female), or 5 or more drinks (male) in about 2 hours. As our communities experience National Recovery Month, Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections, learn the consequences along with the health effects related to binge drinking. NIAAA encourages you to visit https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/sites/default/files/publications/BingeDrinking.pdf and share what you learn with others.
September 17, 2020
As we look at RECOVERY through the eyes of all our family members, it is important we visit the impact of all on the recovery journeys, especially the impact on our little family members. One often overlooked journey is the building of fatherhood tools and their impact. If you are a “father” in recovery, take a look at the support the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC) has to offer your process. NFRC supplies activities and research information along with resources for healthy relationships and recovery. Celebrate recovery month by visiting fatherhood.gov and gain access to many valuable resources and ideas. Take a peek at activities and learning and enjoy your fatherhood.
September 15, 2020
College Adventure: A New Beginning? Wondering what you need to do as your child goes off to college? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), National Institutes of Health says, “Fall Semester—A Time for Parents to Discuss the Risks of College Drinking.” This is typically a time for your student to have new experiences, meet new friends, and make lifetime memories. It is also a time of harmful and underage drinking and of dealing with its repercussions. In light of the current coronavirus pandemic, it may be particularly important this fall for you to urge your students to take action to protect their health.
Parents Can Help! Visit the Family & Friends page: Let’s Talk. Send your student to school better prepared.
September 14, 2020
We are half way through September. AND it is National Recovery Month. Very year, the National Recovery Month has a new focus and theme to spread the message and share the successes of treatment and recovery. The 2020 theme is “Join the Voices for Recovery: Celebrating Connections.” The Recovery Month observance works to inspire people to recognize the strength and resilience of those living in recovery. As a person who supports a loved one’s recovery, remind them that we all have victories to celebrate and things we may wish we had done differently. As Recovery Month continues to educate others about substance use disorders, it shares the effectiveness of treatment and recovery. It recognizes that recovery is possible. Check in your community for Recovery Month events and celebrate!!
For more information visit https://www.naadac.org/national-recovery-month.
September 11, 2020
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders
September is Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) Awareness Month. As a young couple who is planning on a pregnancy or is pregnant, take a look at the resources offered by Prevention Action Alliance. FASD is preventable. For those who may be experiencing substance use disorder (SUDs), learn how to get help for SUDs. Learn how you may prevent a number of FASD syndromes and disorders that might harm an unborn child.
September 10, 2020
September 8, 2020
Teens and Digital Devices
Are you concerned about how your teens time on their phone and other digital devices may be affecting them? With more time to spend on their devices and less personal contact, it is bound to occur. As a busy parent managing a family in this new “normal” created by the COVID-19 pandemic, you may have the opportunity to work with your teens on the safety and guidelines for your family. Virtual learning is another factor that is new to our youth as they are limited in their classroom time so some of the courtesy and appropriate behavior guides may work for both. North Dakota State University has generated some good research based information for parents regarding digital devices. Take a look at:
September 4, 2020
Labor Day and It’s Meaning
Do you or your children know why we celebrate Labor Day the first Monday in September? As we enter a time of searching for homeschool learning events that will interest our children, this may be a great topic. The Illinois Family Resource Center is aware that if you are experiencing stress and concerned about your or someone else’s substance use, you may need support addressing all responsibilities. The Family Resource Center found several resources for addressing why Labor Day developed and what it means to us now. To make this holiday one of your learning experiences check out the following sites.
Activity worksheets. https://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images;_ylt=A0geKerFW1JfWdYAmBFXNyoA;_ylu=Y29sbwNiZjEEcG9zAzEEdnRpZANBMDU5OV8xBHNlYwNzYw--?p=illinois+labor+day+virtual+activities+free+worksheets&fr=yfp-t-s.
Video: Labor Day Facts for Kids, by Homeschool Pop. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=learn+about+labor+day&&view=detail&mid=B20DA92649B360E93FD1B20DA92649B360E93FD1&rvsmid=4C637E0FCACAA1F1A9C74C637E0FCACAA1F1A9C7&FORM=VDRVRV.
Video: Labor Day, by PBS Learning Media. https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=learn+about+labor+day&docid=608004942124090836&mid=4C637E0FCACAA1F1A9C74C637E0FCACAA1F1A9C7&view=detail&FORM=VIRE.
Have a safe Labor Day Holiday.
September 3, 2020
Who are Al-Anon members? Al-Anon members are people, just like you, who are worried about someone with a drinking problem. Al-Anon has a link to help you access the support even in this stressful time. It is clear that Al-Anon members realize the importance of welcoming newcomers and they offer hope to you despite the restrictions of the pandemic. Taking care of yourself is as important for you as recovery is for your loved one. To begin, visit the Family & Friends page: Recognizing Substance Disorders.
August 31, 2020
Due to COVID-19, many early child care and education programs have closed their doors or gone to addressing the needs of youth through remote and virtual learning opportunities. With the continuing issues related to social distancing and addressing the COVID-19 virus, Child Trends, an organization dedicated to “Improving the lives and prospects of children and youth through high-quality research,” provides five ides to help address these needs. Drawing on research and practice, they offer five recommendations for how caregivers and providers can best support at-home learning. These suggestions are a good basic plan for those recovering from substance use disorder and managing the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic. Take a look. These suggestions may provide the support you are looking for:
- Providers, find the best ways to reach families when communicating or sharing resources.
- Parents, establish daily and/or weekly routines for your children.
- Parents, seek guidance on expected length of activities and tips if your child loses interest.
- Parents, support children and encourage critical thinking.
- Parents, read to your children daily.
August 26, 2020
It's almost time to celebrate. September is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) National Recovery Month. Recovery month is a national observance held every September to educate Americans that substance use treatment and mental health services can enable those with mental and substance use disorders to live healthy and rewarding lives. Now in its 31st year, Recovery Month celebrates the gains made by those living in recovery. Now is a time that we need to celebrate the positive things in our environment. COVID-19 may still be an important issue but recovery is a healthy way to meet the issues with a positive outcome. Learn how to plan and promote your Recovery Month event and get support from other organizations or programs. Celebrate.
August 25, 2020
Healthcare providers visit the Providers page. Volunteers visit the Family & Friends page: Here's the Latest. Get tips for helping with the stress and fatigue of the current environment.
August 24, 2020
Attention new parents and caregivers, the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) reminds you unsafe sleep is a leading cause of death for children one year old and younger; and
with families spending more time at home together, or safely visiting relatives, DCFS is
releasing a new public service announcement to remind parents of three simple steps they can take
to ensure their infants are put to sleep safely. The DCFS Acting Director Marc D. Smith stated, “It is vitally important for parents and caregivers to learn and use the ABCs of Safe Sleep.” He explained, “A baby should sleep Alone, on his or her Back, in a safe Crib – it’s that simple.” As you visit family or are staying in a home with family that is not prepared for a small child, remember, infants sleep safest alone in a crib with a firm mattress and tightly-fitted sheet. The crib should be free of pillows, blankets, bumper pads, stuffed animals and toys. Infants should never be placed on an adult bed or couch to sleep. Check on and plan on a safe sleeping place for your young child as you address our continued social distancing and safety due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To listen to the public service announcement and learn more click on:
August 20, 2020
As a parent, grandparent or community member, do you ever wonder why teens use drugs? Understanding the reasons why our teens use may help us prevent the use and misuse of substances by our youth. Effective drug prevention focuses on reducing the risk factors and strengthening the protective factors related to substance abuse. These factors influence your child’s likelihood to use. To learn more about the risk and protective factors and the impact they have on our youth, visit the Family & Friends page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders.
August 17, 2020
With fall and school time coming, it is a good time to incorporate information focusing on substance use prevention into your conservation with your younger children and teens. If you are home-schooling or participating in a mixture of learning strategies, the information from the North Dakota State University Extension can be helpful. The NDSU Extension offers info sheets to educate you and give you tools for talking with your youth. An example of the parent sheet follows: “Brain development is not complete until about age 25. Early to late adolescence is a critical risk period for youth to begin using drugs (SAMHSA, 2015).” Research shows that essential parts of a teenager’s brain are forming so it affects the ability to make logical decisions. Some of the side effects may include irreversible brain changes, increasing the risk of accidents, homicides, suicides, and serious physical and mental health conditions (Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, 2018). This supports the need to talk to your pre-teens and teens about how substance use impacts their brain health and overall wellness. Every year that substance use is delayed during brain development years, the risk of addiction and substance abuse decreases 4 to 5 percent.
August 14, 2020
As we enter the weekend, the Illinois Family Resource Center is sharing another creative learning strategy. If you are a family with an Alexia device the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified it as a new experience for those of you learning from home. The CDC has posted that you can now access the CDC Health IQ through your Amazon Alexa device and then play a fun health trivia game. It offers three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, or hard, or you can be surprised by selecting a RANDOM mix. Learn as you race against the clock to earn more points or use hints when you are stumped. Each quiz delivers a mix of five questions. With the need to expand the resources for full or part-time home-schooling, access the CDC Health IQ and have some fun experiences.
August 13, 2010
Today is day four of exploring resources to support learning from home that many are experiencing this fall. For example, think about the following question: “Is there a cure for addiction?” This question is often ask by teens at the annual Chat Day during the National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week®. The short answer is that, unfortunately, there isn’t a cure for addiction. But the longer answer is more encouraging. There may not be a cure, but there is treatment that helps people live full, healthy lives again. So, the next question: “How does treatment for addiction work?” offers a great opportunity for your teen to do some research and find out the answers. Take a look at the available activities from the National Institute on Drug Abuse teen website and incorporate into your lessons. The endless supply of interactive games, articles, videos and blogs create a fun and effective way to enhance the lessons offered by your educational system.
- Visit https://teens.drugabuse.gov.
August 12, 2020
We have reached midweek. In keeping with our offering of resources, the Illinois Family Resource Center is introducing those not familiar with the Public Broadcasting Services (PBS) to the great activities and tips they have to keep your child playing and learning even when school is closed. PBS offers a Kids Daily Newsletter delivered to your email each morning. It contains activities and learning opportunities related to the scheduled PBS children’s shows each day. For example, today the newsletter offers ways to use the arts such as drawing, music and dance in learning about and managing feelings. With the current stressful environment, children are confused and do not often know how to handle the situations they find themselves in. Today’s hints from PBS are an example of addressing their needs. To explore this resource, visit the PBS website at https://www.pbs.org/parents/activity-finder/ages-all/topics-all/shows-all/types-all. There is a connection to sign up for the Kids Daily Newspaper on this page. Be safe and enjoy the learning.
August 11, 2020
Good morning. For day two of home learning resources and activities, the nutrition.gov offers many learning activities for youth and their families. MyPlate Kids' Place is a great resource for kids, parents, and teachers. Resources include games, activity sheets, kid-friendly recipes, and physical activity tips. Kids can also pledge to become MyPlate Champions. It is especially important during times of stress and managing our current environment to address healthy eating. This is also a great opportunity to use the resources as part of a learning tool. Check out these two websites for fun in learning. Keep yourself healthy throughout this time. Be aware of your family’s nutritional needs, especially if you are in early recovery. “Feeding” your body and soul is essential. Learn with your children, have fun and reduce your stress.
Check out the following:
August 10, 2020
Today’s link is to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) article, Help Children Learn at Home. The CDC is offering a variety of resources including videos, games and activities for managing at home learning as well as ways to make learning continue and fun. For more detailed information visit the Illinois Family Resource Center Families & Friends: Here’s the Latest page.
August 6, 2020
Check out the Adult Vaccine Assessment Tool.
Yesterday the Illinois Family Resource Center focused on the information regarding the importance of children’s well-visits to their doctor. Today we want to remind you that it is also important for adults to stay healthy and to receive vaccines needed for wellness. It is easy to put your own needs low on the priority list when you are dealing with the chaos of a family member struggling with substance use disorder in the midst of the COVID-19 issues. Your concerns for their safety as well as the daily stresses related to our current environment often come first. Remember, taking care of your own health is one of the best supports for your family now. Check out the adult assessment tool offered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention to help you understand and update your immunization needs. Visit https://www2.cdc.gov/nip/adultimmsched/ for assistance. For further family support during this time, visit other family pages on the Illinois Family Resource Center web.
August 5, 2020
Did you know August is National Immunization Awareness Month?
t is an important time to take a look at what you need to do this fall to get ready for school and the winter months. The Illinois Department of Public Health Reminds us of the importance of vaccinations during COVID-19. The Illinois Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics state that missing well-visits and vaccines may place children at higher risk of other future problems. With the continuing issues related to the arrival of COVID-19, staying current on vaccines is the best way to keep your children protected and healthy. To help you understand the immunization needs of your child visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/prevention-wellness/immunization. The IDPH requirements are on the IDPH website. For more family support in the continuing COVID-19 environment, visit the various pages of the Illinois Family Resource Center web.
August 3, 2020
What is Naloxone?
Be aware. Know your community. Know your resources. It is reported that the number of opioid overdose deaths that have occurred so far in 2020 are rising at a disturbing rate. After a 2018 reported decrease in opioid overdose deaths in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health estimates that opioid overdose deaths increased by 0.5% in 2019. It is too soon to know the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the opioid overdose deaths but it has complicated the response to the overdose crisis. It is important to remember that an overdose death is preventable. By linking people to harm reduction interventions like Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution (OEND) services, families can ensure that there is access to the opioid overdose antidote, naloxone.
Are you asking what is naloxone? Naloxone is a medication designed to rapidly reverse opioid overdose. It is an opioid antagonist—meaning that it binds to opioid receptors and can reverse and block the effects of other opioids. It can very quickly restore normal respiration to a person whose breathing has slowed or stopped as a result of overdosing with heroin or prescription opioid pain medications. For families living in the chaos of someone they love struggling with opioid use, this is an important resource for them to be aware of and to have access to. To learn more about the overdose education and how to access naloxone in your area, contact the Illinois Helpline for Opioids and Other Substances by calling 833-2FINDHELP (234-6343), text "HELP" to 833234. Visit www.helplineil.org. Learn about the life saving interventions and the treatment resources to support a healthy recovery journey by visiting the DOPP homepage at www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=58142. For additional information on naloxone, check out https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids/opioid-overdose-reversal-naloxone-narcan-evzio.
July 29, 2020
Take a Look At Gambling
Take a Look at GamblingHave a gambling check-Up? You may have noticed an increase in participation with online gambling, an increase in buying more lottery tickets or struggling with the desire to solve financial stresses during social distancing and isolation through gambling behaviors? This may be a behavior you are experiencing or you are observing from a loved one. Often a gambling problem goes along with a substance use disorder (SUD’s) and can be addressed together for a healthy lifestyle. If so, explore the possibility that you or your loved one are experiencing a gambling problem. To learn more about the issues related to gambling and to explore the resources for support in Illinois, visit the Family & Friends web page: Let’s Talk. It will lead you to the site provided by the Department of Human Services, Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery at https://weknowthefeeling.org/.
July 28, 2020
Meeting the Needs
Take a deep breath. Make a plan. Running important errands such as grocery shopping, take-out, banking, and getting gas can be a scary process, especially for those who are most at risk in the COVID-19 environment. As a family member or caring neighbor there are some guidelines offered by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to help reduce risk while doing these errands. If you are new in your recovery journey or are having some stress related to getting the things you need for yourself and your family, take a look at the information provided. The CDC offers basic safety and stress reducing strategies for meeting your needs. One major suggestion is to wear cloth face coverings in public settings when around people who don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. Remember: If you are able to help a neighbor or family member who cannot access these needs safely, it will be appreciated and help you feel a vital part of managing our “new normal.”
Go to: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/essential-goods-services.html
July 21, 2020
Race and Identity: Talk to Your Children
As we are experiencing upset throughout our country regarding race and identity, parent and caregivers are seeking some guidance in addressing the issues with our young children. Last November (2019) an article, based on a Sesame Workshop report, shared findings and suggestions for talking with your children about race and identity. The article, published by the Hechinger Report in the Early Childhood newsletter, is delivered free to subscribers’ inboxes every other Wednesday with information and resources about early learning. Here are some tips from the authors of the Sesame Workshop report on how and when to have these conversations:
- Start early and organically;
- Tailor your message based on the child’s identity;
- Focus on media literacy;
- Embrace the uncomfortable moments
To find the support and details on this important topic, visit https://hechingerreport.org/too-few-parents-talk-to-their-kids-about-race-and-identity-report-finds/. Have an open discussion and help your children understand our new environment.
July 20, 2020
What Do You Need To Know About Protective Face Masks!?
Let’s take a look. There's growing evidence that masks may help curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With the continuing concerns regarding the virus increase in many areas our country, it is a good time to take a look. It seems like we have been in isolation forever. We need some socializing but as we enter a time when more stores, eating facilities, general marketing places and social gatherings are requiring face masks to enter, the National Public Radio (NPR) is offering a revisit to what we have learned regarding face masks. Take a look at the NPR responses to common questions about wearing face masks in todays new “normal.” Be safe and aware of the safety of others.
July 16, 2020
Update on Resources
The Illinois Family Resource Center would like to share the merging of two resources for families who experience the chaos of substance use disorder (SUD’s). The Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) are now operating as the Partnership to End Addiction. Together, as Partnership to End Addiction, they mobilize families, policymakers, researchers and health care professionals to more effectively address addiction systemically on a national scale.
- You may visit their website at www.drugfree.org.
July 15, 2020
What Do They Mean?
Tolerance. Dependence. Addiction. Just what do they mean? These terms can be confusing to both young adults and families who are struggling with issues related to Substance Use Disorder (SUD’s). Often people use these terms interchangeably and do not realize these terms do not have the same definition. Each term is different and means something about how the drugs affect both the body and the brain. To assist both families and their youth, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has provided an overview of the terms and what they mean.
To learn more about tolerance, dependence, and addiction, visit https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/tolerance-dependence-addiction-whats-difference.
July 3, 2020
Tiny Survival Guide: Give It a Try
The Fourth of July weekend is here. We are still experiencing some restrictions from the COVID-19 crisis and it appears there are some new concerns that continue our limited interaction face-to-face with others. The Trauma Stewardship Institute has developed and offered us a Tiny Survival Guide. As we enter this holiday, even recognizing the unrest we are experiencing in many neighborhoods, take care of yourself. Your self-care generates peace for you and others as you work to provide the strength and resources to move forward as part of a strong community. Peek at the Tiny Survival Guide. It offers fun, hope and strategies to reduce stress. Have a safe and fun July 4th.
- Visit Trauma Stewardship Survival Guide PDF. Be safe.
July 2, 2020
10 Helpful Hints
Another school year will be soon be upon us. Even though some school districts are not sure what the year will look like, most are planning on returning to the classroom in some manner. With that in mind, the ACEs Connection Daily Digest published an article by Robin M Cogan that shared some support parents may be able to use as their children prepare to return to school this fall. These hints are based on the experience of school nurse, Toni Tomkins, BSN, RN. In the article, The Relentless School Nurse: 10 Things Parents Can Do Now to Help Prepare Children For Returning to School, Tomkins created a poster to help guide the use of these 10 hints. She has attached the word document in a format that can be adapted for use by schools and groups to help parents begin planning for fall. (SUGGESTION: These are good hints for those returning to college, for those returning to person-to-person treatment services and for those returning to work.) Be safe. Start the school year with a strong plan for a healthy year.
- Check out this resource and Tomkins story at: https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/the-relentless-school-nurse-10-things-parents-can-do-now-to-help-prepare-children-for-returning-to-school.
June 29, 2020
How To Get Help
The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) reminds us that everyone, teens to adults, has days and sometimes weeks or longer when life is difficult. Stress levels are high, confidence levels are low, and solutions to problems are tough to find. This has proven true as we all experience the lingering issues of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sometimes the negative feelings are overwhelming and painful. People may seek escape of the pain by using drugs, or they think about hurting themselves. Know that everyone can get help dealing with the pain.
NIDA offers five steps—you and a trusted adult—can take if someone is in emotional pain:
- ASK—Ask your friend, “Are you thinking about killing yourself?” Studies show that asking at-risk people if they’re suicidal does not increase suicides or suicidal thoughts. It can even save lives.
- KEEP THEM SAFE—If you can, remove dangerous items like firearms and medications.
- BE THERE—Listen carefully, acknowledge their feelings, and try not to judge.
- HELP THEM CONNECT—Save the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255) and the Crisis Text Line (741741) on your phone. You never know when you’ll want to use those numbers.
- STAY CONNECTED—Follow up and stay in touch after a crisis. It really makes a difference for the person who’s at risk.
REMEMBER the two BIG THINGS you can do to get help are:
- Text the Crisis Text Line (741741) or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255). These lines are confidential and available 24/7 for you or a friend.
- Ask a trusted adult to help you or to help your friend.
- If you or your friend need help right now, call 911 or go to the closest emergency room.
To learn more about these, visit https://teens.drugabuse.gov/blog/post/how-get-help-if-you-or-someone-you-know-suicidal.
June 26, 2020
How can you tell if a relationship is positive for you? Why is it important? Find out more about the importance of building strong relationships, especially in early recovery on the Teens & Young Adult page: Lifestyle Chat.
June 25, 2020
Help With Summer Lunches
With Illinois schools moving to remote learning during COVID-19, a special program called the Pandemic Emergency Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) is here to help families buy food for school-aged children or young people. If you currently receive SNAP benefits, you are automatically eligible for P-EBT benefits and do not need to apply. Your P-EBT benefits will be automatically loaded into your Illinois LINK EBT account along with your regular SNAP benefits. If you do not currently receive SNAP benefits and need to apply for the P-EBT program or to learn more, click here: http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=124142.
June 24, 2020
Starting the Conversation
When a family member is drinking too much, using drugs, or struggling with a mental disorder, your support can be important to getting them the treatment they need. Starting the conversation is the first step to getting help and showing support. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has some help for you. They have developed some tips for starting the talk. Read through the resources and take the first step.
To start your discussion, visit https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/samhsa_families_conversation_guide_final508.pdf
June 22, 2020
PBS Summer Fun
The first full day of summer is upon us. The Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) has daily suggestions for you and your young one(s). PBS suggests, “Keep kids playing and learning at home!” PBS has a “world” of fun and learning when you sign up for the www. pbskids.org daily posting. For today’s suggestions and for more information, visit the Families & Friends page: Let’s Talk. Hint: The Cat in the Hat is helping today.
June 19, 2020
Black Census Day
The Illinois Department of Human Services has declared June 19, 2020 as Black Census Day in the state of Illinois. Juneteenth, annually celebrated on June 19, is the Black community’s commemoration of the emancipation of slaves in the holdout state of Texas, on June 19, 1865. In her announcement of Black Census Day, the statewide census director, Marishonta Wilkerson, Illinois Department of Human Services, shared, “The census is a way for the government to see us, to hear us, to give us in our state, in our communities, the resources that we need.” The census impacts funding for vital services such as education, health care and transportation, and just a 1% undercount can mean a $195 million a year lost in federal funds. Be in the count.
- For more information go to https://my2020census.gov/.
June 18, 2020
PAWS… It’s not your pet’s feet! PAWS, Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, is a family of lingering effects of drug and alcohol withdrawal. As a family member, the more you know and understand about the symptoms of early recovery, the more support you may be for your loved one and the less stress and confusion you may experience as you move forward. To learn more about PAWS, visit the Family & Friends page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders. Learn, help and be healthy yourself.
June 16, 2020
Family Support Guide
After being isolated with a loved one the past few weeks, you may suspect that they are drinking too much or using other drugs. You may also be concerned about other issues related to their mental health. As family, you have the power to play a key role in getting them the help and support they need. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a chart of basic steps you may take. It is important to know if you or a loved one need help, call 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for free and confidential information and treatment referral. Also BE SURE TO CARE FOR YOURSELF TOO. Being a caregiver can be highly stressful and emotionally draining. It is often as much of a family stressor and difficult times as it is for the family member experiencing substance use and/or mental health concerns. Take a minute. Look at the steps they recommend:
- REMEMBER MENTAL AND SUBSTANCE USE DISORDERS ARE TREATABLE
- TALK TO YOUR LOVED ONE
- BE OPEN
- SHOW COMPASSION
- SEEK SUPPORT
- BE SURE TO CARE FOR YOURSELF TOO
June 15, 2020
The weather is warm and as a parent you are probably trying to figure out how to fill the time with your children and other family. Take a break and go to the ZOO. Even as an adult, the zoo experience is a great way to interact with your family and with nature. Of course, with social distancing still recommended, many places are not open for a “face-to-animal” encounter. In response to this environment, some zoos are offering virtual visits and opportunities to visit the ZOO. As an example, the Cincinnati zoo is offering virtual home safaris. The ZOO Director, Thane Maynard, said “We’re bringing the Zoo to people who are stuck at home. The goal with our daily live sessions is to provide fun and educational content to people who are stuck at home.” Remember, this may create a great time for “casual” talks with your children regarding how they are feeling, how they are handling the past few months and for some, it may provide a time to begin the discussion regarding substance use and decision making. Often that discussion begins when you are focusing on something fun, safe, or relaxed. Just make sure that you focus on your position of the subject. Access and enjoy your time at the ZOO. Below are two ZOO websites to explore.
June 11, 2020
8 Grounding Techniques to Try When You’re Spiraling
If you are like many of us, your life has changed in the last few months. Normal is not normal anymore. If you feel overwhelmed or powerless, try these suggestions offered by Patia Braithwaite of SELF magazine. She identified eight grounding techniques to help you through an anxious spiral. Most have the greatest use when you practice them before anxiety strikes but some of them may do their best magic when you’re in the middle of a spiral. Take a look and think about the processes.
- Try deep diaphragmatic breathing.
- Dip your face in cold water.
- Touch something cold.
- Get moving outside if you can.
- Get moving indoors if you can’t go out.
- Tap into your senses.
- Mow your lawn or do another physical chore.
- Try muscle relaxation exercises.
It is important to take care of yourself now. Taking care of yourself is taking care of your family and your future. To learn more about these suggestions see below.
June 8, 2020
The Illinois Family Resource Center (IFRC) is a statewide project funded for the purpose of ensuring family involvement and input in all aspects of adolescent and adult care within the Illinois substance use disorder (SUD's) treatment system. The IFRC is managed by the Hour House and as a part of the organization, the Family Resource Center supports the Hour House statement of equality and opportunity for everyone offered in the following:
June 8, 2020
COPING WITH GRIEF AFTER COMMUNITY VIOLENCE
It is not uncommon for individuals and communities as a whole to experience grief reactions and anger after an incident of community violence. Grief is the normal response of sorrow, emotion, and confusion that comes from losing someone or something important to you. With the recent protests, sometimes resulting in violence, and the varying outcomes, numerous communities are experiencing grief of many types. This impacts families, friendships, neighborhoods and entire communities. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Admiration (SAMHSA) recognizes the importance of tools to help move forward. They have published a document titled Tips for Survivors: COPING WITH GRIEF AFTER COMMUNITY VIOLENCE. They recognize that the trauma and grief of community violence can be experienced by all involved. This two-page document includes:
- What Can Communities Do To Cope With Their Grief?
- Grief Reactions to Violence
- How Long Do Grief Reactions Last?
- Reactions to Community Violence in Children
- Tips for Helping Children Cope With Grief
- What Can Individuals Do To Cope With Their Grief?
- Helpful Resources
- Disaster Distress Hotline
To help yourself, your family, your children and your community handle the grief of the past weeks and begin to heal, visit: https://store.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/d7/priv/sma14-4888.pdf.
June 6, 2020
Is There a Connection Between Missing Sleep and Using Drugs? Find out opbsn the Teens & Young Adults page: What's Your Drug Fact IQ? Learn how to take care of yourself and lower your drug use risk. Be safe and healthy.
June 4, 2020
Illinois Department of Insurance Notice
The Illinois Department of Insurance reminds consumers that help is available for people losing job-based health insurance. for more information visit the Family & Friends web page: Here's the Latest.
June 4, 2020
CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall
Sesame Street and CNN have joined to present a “CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families" event that will address the chaos that has swept across America over the death of a black man that involved the police. The 60-minute special "Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism” will air on Saturday, June 6, at 10 a.m. ET. The show will address issues regarding the recent nationwide protests, embracing diversity and being more empathetic and understanding. For more information on other Sesame Street resources visit the Illinois Family Resource Center at www.illinoisfamilyresources.org.
June 2, 2020
Illinois DCFS to youth: You are Not Alone!
In response to your isolation and the COVID-19, the Department of Children & Family Services (DCFS) wants you to know you are not forgotten or alone. Check out the information from the Department of Children & Family Services regarding your options for safety. Teens & Young Adults page: Lifestyle Chat.
May 28, 2020
Addiction is often called a family disease. If you have a family member who has a substance use disorder (SUD’s), or addiction, you may be experiencing your own chaos and unhealthy living. The sense of personal responsibility family often feels for the family member with SUD’s, can lead to feelings of being victimized and angry. It impacts the physical, emotional and spiritual life of the family. If this describes what you are experiencing, remember it is important to give yourself some self-care. It is appropriate and deserving for you to take care of yourself no matter how the recovery journey for your loved one is going. There are a variety of resources to assist you in that effort. Some examples are:
- Access family treatment services for yourself and family;
- Find support in self-help groups such as Al-Anon, Celebrate Recovery;
- Address your spiritual needs.
Give some of the suggestions a try and see how much better you may feel and how much better you handle the stressors. For more information regarding taking care of yourself in the chaos of a loved ones addiction, visit the Teens & Young Adults page, Recognizing Substance Use Disorders and the Families & Friends page, Recognizing Substance Use Disorders. Take care of yourself!!!
May 26, 2020
Be In The Know
Be in the know as a parent and teen. Protect your teens developing brain. The brain science (research) tells us that prevention is especially important for young people. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a series of You Tube videos to assist in understanding the issues related to the brain development of teens. Check out the series and learn how to help protect teen brains. Learn the difference between an adult brain and an adolescent brain. Acquire information about the biggest risks that young people face, especially in the isolation time we are experiencing with COVID-19. AND learn how to promote healthy living for your teens. Parents, take a few minutes and visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eikCOpF4au8. Teens, understand what you can do to take care of your brain. Visit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpfnDijz2d8&feature=youtu.be.
May 23, 2020
Feeding Your Family
Are you having problems getting to the grocery store? Is the lack of a sitter slowing your lunch shopping down? Great news today for many of you stressed to get out for your groceries. Governor JB Pritzker announced an Illinois state plan to permit more than 1.8 million Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients to purchase food from participating grocery retailers online. Access will be provided automatically beginning June 2, 2020 to all existing Link card holders. Customers will not need to call or visit an office.
The online implementation plan gives SNAP customers the ability to enter their Personal Identification Number (PIN) to order groceries online. All SNAP recipients with Link cards in Illinois will be able to participate. Walmart and Amazon have agreed to accept online orders in Illinois once the program begins. Be safe and consider this an important part of your social distancing. For more information regarding social distancing strategies and safety issues to support you through the COVID-19 pandemic, browse through the Today’s Hints listings here on the Illinois Family Resource Center website. Be Safe.
May 20, 2020
Keeping First Responders Safe.
As reports indicate, substance use emergency calls for first responders has increased as isolation, social distancing and economic issues has evolved. In response the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has recognized the tremendous work of the brave first responders and law enforcement officers who are expected take action when they encounter individuals who have overdosed. However, as the COVID-19 pandemic has spread, SAMHSA has received reports that some first responders and law enforcement officers have been reluctant to administer naloxone due to fear of potentially contracting the coronavirus. SAMHSA recognizes the concerns about COVID-19 exposure and has developed recommendations for first responder safety. Importantly, SAMHSA recognizes that not all naloxone products are available in some areas and they recommend the use of PPE regardless of the form of naloxone used. The COVID-19 pandemic brings important considerations and one that must not be forgotten is the concern of substance use disorder and drug overdose. We must not forget that individuals with substance use disorder still need help. To access the recommendations for first responders and law enforcement, visit: file:///E:/guidance-law-enforcement-first-responders-administering-naloxone.pdf. Thank you to those of you protecting us and providing for our safety. If you would like more information regarding naloxone, visit the Illinois Family Resource Center website page Teens & Young Adults: Lifestyle Chat. BE SAFE.
May 18, 2020
When Will This Be Over?
Parents, if you are honest, you may be struggling by now. You have spent two months juggling your parenting job as your children have been home and you became a “teacher,” along with the other stressors. The uppermost question in the minds of many kids and grownups is, “When will the coronavirus crisis end?” The answer to that question has become a mystery as time passes. To continue support for your efforts, the National Public Radio (NPR) Life Kit team and Sesame Street characters have responded with two NPR Life Kits to help you and your children continue this journey. Take a visit to Sesame Street and the parenting Life Kit, When Will This Be Over? Sesame Workshop's Tips For Parenting During A Pandemic. To support your children, help them view Grover in their Life Kit, Sesame Street's Grover On Coping During Coronavirus: Just For Kids. For additional resources that address life issues from a child’s perspective, visit the Sesame Street Communities website at: sesamestreetcommunities.org. Remember, it is okay to ask for support when you need it and BE SAFE.
May 15, 2020
Homemade Cloth Face Coverings
Are you looking for something to do this weekend? With some areas planning to allow more movement (with the recommendation of wearing a mask) consider using your weekend as a time to prepare for your safety of a mask. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. There are many patterns and suggestions for constructing a mask. CDC recommends the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus. This may help people who possibly have the virus and do not know from transmitting to others. Cloth face coverings created from common household items and made at home at low cost can be used. That includes using a bandana, a sock and fabrics of many fun designs. There are many patterns provided on the internet. Take a look and find one that may work for you. Challenge yourself to be creative and reduce your risk as you slowly enter back into the world.
REMEMBER: Follow the guidelines of social distancing and be aware of how and when to use a mask.
For approved mask patterns from CDC, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/DIY-cloth-face-covering-instructions.pdf.
May 14, 2020
Know the Risks of Marijuana
"Approximately 1 in 10 people who use marijuana will become addicted. When they start before age 18, the rate of addiction rises to 1 in 6." (SAMHSA)
Know the risks of marijuana use before you use. That is the challenge from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in regard to the use of marijuana. Marijuana use comes with real risks that can impact a person’s health and life. Marijuana use in the U.S. is growing. Take the SAMHSA challenge and see how much you really know about the effects and risks of marijuana! You might be surprised. Let’s test your marijuana IQ. Check out Families and Friends: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders.
May 12, 2020
Calling All Artists
The National Federation of Families for Children’s Mental Health is launching a new mental health art gallery on their website. What a good way to help pass the time of social distancing. To collect submissions, they are announcing the Artivism: Create to Advocate Youth Art Contest being hosted this month with partners at Magellan Healthcare's MY LIFE, Youth MOVE National and Youth POWER! They invite you to create and share something that expresses what mental health and wellness means to you or what you think others should know about mental health. The new national art gallery page will showcase submissions from the contest as well as those shared with us after it is over.
Create: Make a drawing, painting, graphic art, photography, poetry, music or short video - under 1 minute.
Shine: Creations will be displayed on the national mental health art gallery page and some will be selected to show during the Mental Health 4 YOUth – Virtual Youth Fest on May 21st. bit.ly/mylifeyouthfest
May 11, 2020
Smoking Cessation Training
The National Behavioral Health Network for Tobacco and Cancer Control, UCSF's Smoking Cessation Leadership Center (SCLC) and SAMHSA National Center of Excellence for Tobacco-Free Recovery (CTFR), along with the American Lung Association are offering a webinar on May 14 from 12 – 1:30 p.m. ET for Transforming Your Tobacco Cessation Practice with Telehealth. The webinar is led by a varied panel of tobacco cessation and telehealth care management experts and the webinar will explore ways to integrate best practices for telehealth services into your tobacco cessation efforts. The group will also release a complimentary resource guide to support behavioral health providers in the use of telehealth for providing tobacco cessation services.
For further information, go to the Provider web page. Add this information to your tool box of skills during this pandemic. BE SAFE.
May 5, 2020
The Mind Matters Series
Providers, parents and community leaders, don’t miss the new Mind Matters Series for teen education. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has launched a redesigned series of booklets geared towards educating middle school students about substance use. As substance abuse providers and community leaders, this is great information to have in your “tool box.” Visit today's posting on the Provider page.
May 4, 2020
Check Your Self-care During the Pandemic
Are you managing your social distancing, quarantine and/or isolation in a healthy manner? Have you taken the time for self-care as well as those of your family? We are now into the second month of the COVID-19 crisis. The majority of us are staying at home. Some of you may work from home, some of you are spending your time being the “teacher” for your children and others of you are just trying to manage each day’s stress, anxiety and for some, your recovery.
When the pandemic began, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published their guide, Taking Care of Your Behavioral Health, to help us all begin a plan for self-care and care of our families throughout this period. It is time to revisit the tips for social distancing, quarantine and/or isolation during an infectious disease outbreak. As we begin to move forward and guidelines loosen for stay-at-home rules, SAMHSA offers some tips for how to manage the mixed emotions and feelings you may experience. Remember, there is a variety of support provided virtually during pandemic. These resources include self-help meetings, hot/warmlines and professional resources for substance use disorder (SUDs), families of people with SUDs, mental health issues as well as other crisis related issues. BE SAFE.
April 30, 2020
Get to Know the 3 C's.
Visit the Family & Friends page: Recognizing Substance Use Disorders to learn about family support when substance use disorder is present in the family. The 3 C's are a great beginning to learn how families feel. Take a look and begin a journey if family recovery.
Stay Safe While in Isolation
Is a partner using the COVID-19 crisis as a scare tactic to keep control of you?
Are you at risk of abuse by a partner who is using alcohol or another substance?
Are you frightened for you and your children’s physical safety?
You are not alone! As the data from the pandemic evolves, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has published some guidelines for staying safe in a potential risky environment. They state, “Avoiding public spaces and working remotely can help to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but for many survivors, staying home may not be the safest option. We know that any external factors that add stress and financial strain can negatively impact survivors and create circumstances where their safety is further compromised.”
As a result, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has published guidelines for staying safe while having limited access to help. Recognizing that you may not be able to complete these hints now, take a look and implement those resources that you can. BE SAFE. The key topics the National Domestic Violence Hotline offers detailed suggestions for are:
- Create a safety plan;
- Practice self-care;
- Reach out for help.
If you or someone you care about is in a risky situation, read the information on the link below:
April 28, 2020
Scavenger hunts are not just “kids play.” They challenge a stressed brain to work on successful answers. They can become a fun challenge with family or friends through virtual contact/contest. A neighborhood challenge – obeying social distancing guidelines, wearing protective masks and in groups of 10 or less, may help relieve anxiety and stress as well as boredom.
A creative scavenger hunt is also a great way to entertain children both inside and out. It challenges the brain’s problem-solving skills and hopefully gives a feeling of success when completed. Use your imagination, AND if stuck about how to develop a scavenger hunt, look at the resources provided below. Use your recovery tools daily as we work through this pandemic but remember, being a kid again for short moments each day is okay. Be safe.
April 27, 2020
Teens: Be Safe
With the extended orders related to the social distancing and the stay-at-home order, domestic violence and substance use may increase. As a young person (pre-teen or teen), you may be the target of this stress. As parents become irritated due to several issues related to the current pandemic, violence and substance use may increase. These issues may be confusing to a young person. Issues such as being closed in with the rest of the family, having time on their hands due to a job loss or being bored as their outside contacts are gone, may create the risky and/or violent responses. Remember, there may be a good chance there are stockpiles of alcohol and other substances. Those already inclined to deal with stress by drinking and using are likely to indulge even more than usual. If you are living in anticipation of the next explosion, with nowhere safe to go and no one to talk to, there is help online. Through Alateen you can gain information and make a connection with other teens who have substance using parents. Remember, there are other young people the same age who are living through the same pain, experiencing the same issues. They can provide you with understanding and support to assist you in your situation. Alateen offers real hope. Help is available from Alateen.
April 25, 2020
Happy spring. With the extended time of social distancing for Illinois, you may be looking for an activity to challenge you and your children and support your recovery journey. The National Public Radio (NPR) posted a great idea to give you a springtime weekend project that you can share with your children. (Don’t tell them but it is a great learning project too.) The project: planting a COVID Victory Garden. According to Dr. Rupa Marya, a professor at the University of California, San Francisco's medical school, planting a garden is "a way to connect to something immediate here and now and watch it grow." NPR provides a short video to help you use the five step-by-step guideline NPR provides. Take time to get your hands dirty and enjoy the results as you and your garden begins bloom.
April 23, 2020
As the Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (SUPR) providers and other human service workers deal with the challenging issues related to providing help during the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not forget the issue of isolation that social distancing does for those who are at risk of abuse and violence by those they are “isolated” with. This issue is especially important for our children who may be victims or witness abuse. To help you find resources that may support you in your pressured time, the visit the links on the Provider page. Thank you for your commitment to serving families and their children as they try to make sense of this new "normal" and move forward.
April 22, 2020
During this time of the COVID-19 “stay-at-home” orders, it is important that each of you have a way to connect with family, friends and safety resources if needed. If you are paying for phone service out of a limited income during this time, you can check and see if the SafeLink phone is available for you. If you are a customer of SafeLink phone services, visit their website to see the update on their extended services during the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit: https://media.tracfone.com/wps/wcm/connect/phones/safelink/covid
If you are not a customer but wish to see if you qualify for the cost free services visit: https://www.safelinkwireless.com/
Most important, BE SAFE.
April 21, 2020
Resources to Pass the Time
Last Friday the Illinois Governor announced that the Illinois schools will not resume this school year. With that in mind, those of you who are home schooling may be become limited in your resources to keep your children busy in off school hours. Butler Human Services posts activity sheets, coloring sheets and home school suggestions periodically. Today they offered two coloring sheets as resources. One set is for young children and a second one is for older children. Coloring is great fun, good for the brain and a good tool if you choose to incorporate them into your home school art class. To access these coloring sheets visit:
April 21, 2020
Renewing Your Mental Health
Staying in isolation or at best, following the “stay-at-home” recommendations, may have you ready for some relief. However, the “stay-at-home” recommendations are still in force so let’s take a look at the suggestions offered today by ACE’s Connection. Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) is the body of research regarding trauma and the impact on a person’s life. The ACE’s Connection is an organization that informs its members of the up-to-date news regarding ACE’s science, trauma-informed care and resilience building news. Today the Connection posted an article by Shelli Altopp-Miller, LCSW, titled Mental Health Renewal in the Midst of COVID-19. As you are seeking ideas for managing your stress, anxiety and boredom since you are not around others as you were prior to the pandemic, take a look at the simple but workable suggestions Ms. Altopp-Miller has to offer.
Here is an overview of her suggestions. Note that each strategy has additional related links for you to explore. Try these now and pat yourself on the back for taking care of yourself.
- Get outside and go for a walk or just sit on the porch and watch the world. OR, take a walk in the rain and laugh.
- Write down your feelings and thoughts in your own notebook. Just go with it and don’t worry about spelling or punctuation. This stimulates your brain, especially the creative side.
- Put on music and shake your body. No one has to see you, just let your body move.
- Sing, loudly if you want.
- Move your body by cycling, skating, yoga or swimming. Be a child again and try jumping the rope.
- Practice mindfulness by hitting the pause button and allow yourself to be “in the moment.”
- Make something. Get your imagination going and be creative.
- Grow something. Planting seeds and watching them grow is a refreshing feeling.
- Make a fire and relax by the glow of the fire. Remember, you can make s’mores if you have the ingredients. YUMMY.
- Get water in your life both as a drink and a river or lake to sit by and relax.
- Stay connected with the people important in your life. Use your phone or computer to do face time if possible. However, the method, just connect.
- Play a game. Be a child again. Have fun and laugh. Make a blanket fort, build castles or blow bubbles. These may be child like activities but healthy activities for adults too.
Be safe and remember these useful and inexpensive suggestions for managing your mental health.
To learn more about the above suggestions, visit:
April 20, 2020
Teens, check out the information on the Teens & Young Adults: What is Your Drug Fact IQ? page to learn the latest information regarding VAPING. Be safe.
April 16, 2020
Caring for Each Other
Caring for our children has been the role of Sesame Street for many years. The majority of parents with young children grew up with the help of the Sesame Street characters. Your child’s friends on Sesame Street are once again here to support you and your children throughout the COVID-19 health crisis. Remember your children thrive with structure in their lives, and they learn best through play—even in our “new normal” times. The Sesame Street website is filled with ideas you can use to trigger lively learning and offers your children comfort. It also focuses on some support for you as a caregiver. As the Sesame Street friends work through their concerns and build their resiliency, your child can work along with them. Visit https://www.sesamestreet.org/caring each day and enjoy the new ideas and supports for you and your child during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Be sure to visit the Sesame Street in Communities website , for related videos, printables and learning-at-home resources for your family! (Visit Sesame Street en las Comunidades para recursos en español.) https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/
April 15, 2020
Visit the Resources page of the website. This page provides links to a variety of resources to build a healthy life.
April 15, 2020
Supporting Resiliency During the COVID-19 Challenges
To learn more about helping your children build resiliency through the pandemic go to the Family & Friends section, page Let's Talk. Support your family and children with an understanding of protective factors and the strategies to implement them.
April 14, 2020
Education at Your Fingertips
Join the University of Illinois Extension's Energy & Environmental Stewardship Team for weekly sessions on environmental topics. The webinars will both provide new information on natural resources and help you learn how to make small changes in your lifestyle to have a positive impact on the environment. What a great resource for your home school efforts, especially with the older students. Take a look at the topics ranging from lawn care, native plants, and managing home waste to understanding coyote behavior and atmospheric optics. Link on to lots of new information for your time at home. There is always new learning challenges.
The schedule of webinars is below and registration is free! Please register for each individual webinar you are interested in attending visit:
- To find a library of resources, handouts, tip sheets, and more for Illinois families going through social distancing visit: https://extension.illinois.edu
April 13, 2020
Home School Hint
We are into another week of educating our children from home. By now both you and your children are probably looking for new ways to get the learning work done. Here are a couple of suggestions to make the time more exciting and you, the parent, saner. If you have two or more students working at home, use the older child as a “mentor” or teacher. It will make both your students feel valued. Being the “teacher” builds self esteem and challenges the older child to do their best. Being the “student” and having an older sibling helping you can make you feel special, a great feeling. Good bonding time.
Another idea is to plan a fun day. “Fun” can also include learning. Let your children plan. Set the guidelines and let them generate the ideas. They may range from having a pajama day and study animal sleep patterns or generate information about why sleep is important to health. you may have an indoor picnic. Plan a healthy meal along with planning some games that include handling “money” or tracking the score of cards, etc. Laugh, encourage, have fun and LEARN. Good job parents.
April 9, 2020
Home School Hint
With important religious holidays upon us, our isolation if difficult. It is a time for family and faith get-togethers and this will happen less this year. A hint for a school project is to learn more about the history behind the holidays you celebrate. It is a time to use your imagination and decorate with home made items. Be creative and let your children research, share what they learned and be crafty using ideas from what they learned. To help you with your holiday creative learning efforts, visit the Homeschool Ideas website below. Enjoy your family togetherness and celebrate. Be safe and celebrate from home.
April 8, 2020
REMINDER: Virtual Support Communities for Individuals in Recovery
The Illinois Department of Human Services/ Division of Substance Use Prevention and Recovery (IDHS/SUPR) is dedicated to all of the Illinois residents throughout the state who use the services. With that in mind, they have developed resources to assist you through this challenging time. Social distancing for COVID-19 can be difficult, especially for those in recovery. Once again the Family Resource Center is posting these resources as a reminder to take care of yourself, and remember, taking care of yourself is also taking care of your family.
Please share this web page with friends, family, recovery providers, clients, and throughout your communities, wherever applicable.
April 7, 2020
Building Resiliency in Our Current Circumstances
As we enter another week of the "stay at home" order, stress and anxiety build. This is especially true as you are separated from access to support if you experience mental health or substance use disorder issues. To address these feelings and move forward, visit Fift of Voice and print their helpful page called Emotional Resiliency Tips. As we go through this new normal, hopefully you will grow in strength and become stronger as we take care of ourselves using these suggested steps tips. Be safe.
April 6, 2020
Home School Ideas
As we enter the second and/or third week of educating our children from home, we will be posting ideas from a variety of resources. Take a look and use your imagination. Step into your childhood and back to your younger learning age to think about how these may fit for you. The ideas will hopefully test you to adapt and enjoy your efforts. Today the ideas are from the website www.successful-homeschooling.com. These ideas are very adaptable to working in the challenging times we are experiencing.
- Spring is finally sneaking in. Go outside with your learning goals. Read or sit and complete lessons while enjoying the sun and spring breezes. Take your lunch and sit outside and discuss the birds you see or the types of trees and flowers you see popping up. Allow your wiggly students the opportunity of physical activity by riding your bike around home or taking a stroll through your neighborhood. REMEMBER: Follow the guidelines of social distancing as recommended at this time of COVID-10 threats. This may be a great time to talk more about what social distancing means to your child.
- What a great time to begin a family journal to remind you of these eventful times in future years. One way of doing this is to “publish” a family letter. You may be a family of two or ten, but this can be an enjoyable way to learn and make memories. Include “articles” about family news, community events, hobbies, favorite movies and add artwork. Share how you are feeling and how you work together to make it through. Depending on the age, give your children the responsibility for certain sections. Share some of your past experiences dealing with life challenges and let them process in their family news. This is a project to continue forward. What a good way to collect family history and share with in the future with people entering your life
- Family game night is always a good opportunity for family bonding, family fun and a good chance for learning. Look for board games that challenge your children’s thought processes. Let them keep score and if they struggle, give them some assistance. This is a learning time and a good time to encourage your child. Remember, turn off the television, leave phones of vibrate or turn off and have fun. Pizza is always a good suggestion too. Fix this yourself and do some teaching as you measure and cook.
Ideas adapted from: www.successful-homeschooling.com
April 6, 2020
CDC Household Checklist can be found on Families & Friends page Here's the Latest
April 3, 2020
Empowering Teens: NIDA Toolkit for Out of School Time
Your teens are out of school. A time for challenge at best, especially if you are dealing with a job loss or you are an essential worker. Keeping teens focused and interested in school work when they are questioning the environment as well as they may be frightened but not sharing, A MAJOR CHALLENGE. To assist you in supporting your teens learning during the time schools are not meeting face-to-face, the National Institute for Drug Abuse and Scholastics offers a unique toolkit for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) learning. This toolkit offers science-based activities and resources on drug use and addiction for educating teens during out of school time. The home setting is being used by many families during the COVID-19 crisis. The activities in this toolkit inspire learning and empower teens with the information they need to make informed decisions about drug use and their health. To help with your efforts to create a learning environment and motivating teens, visit:
April 2, 2020
Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)
Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced they are taking steps to address the unprecedented volume of unemployment benefit claims the department has fielded as a result of COVID-19. If you are applying for unemployment in Illinois due to COVID-19, the following website offers you information and suggestions for the process. It also connects you to the online application. At this stressful time you need all the support you can have to take care of yourself and your family. Be safe.
April 1, 2020
In an effort to work on a healthy recovery for yourself and our family, we are providing a variety of resources for you to access. Remember, keeping your mind and body as healthy as possible is primary now as we go through this new experience. Please check out the following information:
Al-Anon Electronic Meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous Online Intergroup
Adult Children of Alcoholics
In The Rooms (Online Meetings)
Bridge Club Virtual Meetings
Families Anonymous Virtual Meetings
March 31, 2020
PBS In Home School Resources
Homeschooling? Many of you, as parents and grandparents, ever thought you would become the primary school teacher for the children in your family. However, with the development of the pandemic of the coronavirus, schools in Illinois and other states have been emptied. Students were sent home for a long spring break and in many instances, they are not going back when planned. The Illinois Governor announced today that schooling is to be done at home through April 30, 2020 and possibly beyond. Wow, you may be thinking. Don’t panic. Take a deep breath. You can do this with the assistance of resources that are appearing. To begin, check with the resources your own school system offers. Stay in contact with them and see what they offer online or in-home support packets.
Another helpful resource is the Public Broadcasting System (PBS). Beginning this week PBS has changed their programming schedule to support learning at home. Throughout the day programs are focused on age appropriate learning. To support their programming the network has handouts, games, puzzles and other challenging learning tools for you to use if you have computer access. PBS also offers a newsletter that provides homeschooling ideas for those of us working on educating our children. To learn more about these resources, please check out the PBS website: https://pbskids.org/
Check in here for more ideas throughout the week. Be safe and support each other.