“What does beauty mean to you?” asked Madalena Miera of her group of Middle and High School girls in Taos Behavioral Health’s (TBH) SUCCESS program. Awkward silence.
During our recent review of applicants for the Katia Torrelli-Delgado Scholarship, we read one candidate’s declaration that “I am good at asking for help when I need it.” In other words, making a choice to seek additional resources to help reach a goal. How rarely do we see young people—or even adults—taking this action and feeling proud of it!
“We want to make sure the youth and families feel supported and learn about resources available to them” states Bruno Nora a Bi-Lingual clinician at Taos Behavioral Health (TBH) who is leading the new bi-lingual Learning Pods at TBH. At least 10 youth and their families will participate in a 14- week program that is facilitated by new funding and collaboration with the Taos Social Emotional Learning (SEL) Community Catalyst.
A rich offering of activities and services in Taos depends on many volunteers. Especially when nonprofit organizations build strength in their boards, the results can create important gifts to the Taos community. Recently, Taos Behavioral Health named new board officers who are providing unique strengths.
“I got this” he declared emphatically—a silent assertion understood by a Taos Behavioral Health (TBH) clinician who knows his clients. “They think they can do everything—keep the kids connected to schoolwork, pay the bills, care for family relationships, follow all the COVID guidelines, hide the fear of the virus spread, be ok with not traveling or seeing relatives, grieve the loss of loved ones and still come out strong.”
People land in Taos for many reasons—visiting and get called by the mountain, landing here and meeting an individual or a community that echoes with their values, coming to experience the natural beauty and becoming enchanted by the richness of history and culture. Some of us stay and feel privileged to participate in the unique life here. Others are challenged by some of the realities and leave.
In a softly lit room, she walked from person to person speaking quietly. “How was your week? Any thoughts about what you felt after last week’s session? Is there any specific thing you are dealing with now?” Then she gently inserted thin medical grade needles into five points in each person’s ears that correspond to the Chinese defined points activating the parasympathetic nervous system and the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. Quiet meditative music played as she moved on to the next participant.
Passing through the New Year’s Holiday season many of us thought about the tradition of New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us made them—others said, “Why bother?” Such resolutions are meant to help us start or increase positive behavior changes, but many people respond, “What real choices do I have?”
As we view our world, we see some new signs of hope. Several vaccines have been miraculously developed in record time and distribution is beginning. There is political change that has reflected an overwhelming number of citizens willing to vote even in the midst of a health crisis. The New Year celebrations were somber but reminded us that the seasons come around and we begin again to look toward new accomplishments. School will begin again—even if still virtual—but our youth can connect in a variety of ways.
”For many of our clients—during face-to-face schooling, we would be sitting with them in the classroom helping them maintain control and focus on their education. In oue now virtual world, we have to figure out how to still give them intensive support” said Brian Salazar, the Director of the SUCCESS program at Taos Behavioral Health.
The SUCCESS Program’s clients are middle school and high school students whose behavioral health diagnoses require multiple services. Both individual and group settings allow the staff to reinforce a variety of social and emotional goals—but the translation to a virtual world of 2020 has demanded patience and creativity.