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Lifestyle, Mental Health and the New Year’s Resolution Syndrome

by Dr. David Ammend  As a general pediatrician by training, I have been taught to try to look at children as a whole when attending to their health needs.  In my role as Medical Director of Northwest Passage residential treatment programs over the past 18 years, my practice has been focused on the health of children with a very particular set of problems, and there can be a tendency for me to pay insufficient attention to children’s general health as we are sometimes faced with a child and family in extreme distress due to mental illness.  However, my ability to keep the “whole child” in mind has been sharpened by the growing recognition that it is exactly the issue of “lifestyle” in its broadest sense has a profound impact on mental health.  Here I would like to discuss some of the challenges that anyone involved with the care of children face when trying to promote a “healthy lifestyle”. Over the past 5-6 years I have been working with some of my Northwest Passage colleagues to better understand the role of a healthy diet and physical activity in promoting mental health, and to use that knowledge to inform our work with the kids we serve.  What has become increasingly clear to me over that time is that there is a large

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Ice Cave Adventures

“Ice Caves Go Viral” by Kaitlyn As fleeting as they are iconic, the ice caves of Apostle Islands National Lakeshore are considered an endangered national park experience.  With spring around the corner, the ice caves will soon be a memory, with no guarantee of their accessibility in winters to come. But the young women of Northwest Passage Prairieview (previously known as Northwest Passage III) are among the lucky ones.  Braving the biting cold of a couple weeks ago, they trekked across the big lake to experience–and capture–these elusive cathedrals.  Enjoy their photos below.    

Diagnosis Versus Identity

This bit of reflection is dedicated to a beautiful soul who left this world much too early. I have been searching for a way to honor the footprints she left and this blog seems to be an appropriate stage. My experience walking…

Northwest Passage presents at annual NATSAP conference

Dr. Himanshu Agrawal and Angela Frederickson speak on addressing suicidal and self harming behaviors. This year’s annual NATSAP conference was held February 6-8 in Henderson Nevada. The conference is a great event that presents useful information to mental health professionals, including clinicians, program directors and more. This year, Northwest Passage was able to send two staff members to the conference for to present a short program “I’ll be the Death of Me”. NWP’s on-staff psychiatrist, Dr. Himanshu Agrawal, as well as our clinical director Angela Frederickson, spoke to a room full of mental health professionals about assessing and addressing chronic suicidal and self injurious behaviors with adolescents. The program more specifically focused on the addressing and  assessment of the current emotional state in suicidal clients and the use of tools to more effectively increase insight into the precursors to self-harm and suicidal behaviors. They discussed a specific approach to use with clients engaging in these behaviors, including application of the Stages of Change model. Topics of discussion included methods of training, communication, and ongoing consultation within a multi-disciplinary team that promotes critical uniformity among responses. The presentation included a theoretical framework and information about current research and best practice models, while also following the specific case of a teenage girl.

Racing Bikes on Snow?!?

“Intensity” by Margaret Ann   It’s true. The sport of Fat Biking has grown by leaps and bounds in recent years. Athletes float across the snow on bikes with over sized frames and tires expressly designed for that purpose. The young women of Northwest Passage Prairieview (previously known as Northwest Passage III) captured images of racers at the Solstice Chase, the inaugural race of the Great Lakes Fat Bike Race Series. CyclovaXC, a local ski and bike shop and good friend of Northwest Passage hosted the event and invited us to be there to enjoy and document it. The Race took place at Big Rock Creek Retreat north of St Croix Falls, WI. It was a very exciting day and a first for all of us from Northwest Passage (myself included).  Racers role modeled camaraderie, perseverance, and a sense of humor in the face of challenging and chilly conditions. We hope you enjoy the photos! -Ian Karl, NWP In a New Light Counselor  

NOW AVAILABLE – In a New Light : The Art and Nature of Healing

In a New Light : The Art and Nature of Healing follows the youth of Northwest Passage, a mental health residential treatment center for children and teens, on their journey of hope and healing. This new book is a beautiful photographic account of expeditions to six national parks, including Badlands, Yellowstone, Apostle Islands, Rocky Mountain, Isle Royale, and St. Croix National Scenic Riverway. The photographs tell a story not just of the beauty of America’s natural places, but also the story of youth finding renewed hope in their lives. To celebrate, the In a New Light Gallery will be hosting a Book Release and Signing Open House on December 18th, from 1:00PM – 6:00PM. Several of the young In a New Light Photographers will be in attendance to sign copies of books – which are available for 25% off during the open house. The book can also be purchased online. Order your copy of the book HERE please note you will be redirected to an external site. In a New Light is conducted in partnership with the National Park Service, and is funded through a grant from the National Park Foundation. The new book is funded through the popular crowd source funding website, Kickstarter. 

Introducing Dooskaabi

Dancing – by Cody, 17   In June, 2013, Northwest Passage launched its newest photography project, Dooskaabi. Centered at our Hayward Group Home, Northwest Oasis,  Dooskaabi aims to empower Native American youth to tell the story of the natural and culture landscape of their community, with a special focus on the Lac Courte Orielles Reservation. The project blends training in nature photography and photojournalism, and connects youth with leaders in their community. “Dooskaabi” is the Ojibwe translation of “open eyes.”  We hope this small sample of photos opens your eyes, and know that there are many more to come. Enjoy!   “When I look at these leaves, it makes me wonder how something so simple and ordinary can be also be so beautiful.   Maybe nothing is ordinary.” “A simple bug, no more than a basic form of life.  Yet at the same time, keeps going on day and night.” “This bug is beautiful, even though it was as small as an ant. Nobody really notices something like this on a leaf. When you take the time to pay attention you can see the natural beauty in all things.” This is a beautiful sculpture at the LCO Ojibwe Veteran’s Memorial. “Run away from your problems.  But when you look back they’ll still be in front of you.  When you look forward

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Rescue In a New Light

Northwest Passage Prairieview (previously known as Northwest Passage III) teamed up with the Humane Society of Burnett County to take these gorgeous portrait photos of the animals awaiting adoption. The young photographers used this as an opportunity to learn truly top notch studio portraiture techniques to capture the personalities of their subjects. The photographs were used in marketing materials (posters, flyers, etc.) to help find these amazing pets new homes within our community.Ten percent of all proceeds from this exhibit will be donated back to the Humane Society of Burnett County to help them in continuing the amazing work that they do. Rescue In a New Light is the newest exhibit to the In a New Light Gallery, located just south of Webster off of Highway 35.

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