Are You a Parent Whose Child Recently Experienced Psychological Trauma?

Supporting a child who may have experienced trauma requires patience, understanding, and a supportive environment. Here are some ways parents can help:

1.         Create a Safe Environment: Ensure the child feels physically and emotionally safe at home. This may involve removing triggers or reminders of the trauma and providing a calm and consistent routine.

2.         Open Communication: Encourage open and honest communication with your child. Let them know that it’s okay to talk about their feelings and experiences, but don’t pressure them to share before they’re ready.

3.         Validate Feelings: Validate your child’s feelings and let them know that whatever they’re feeling is okay. Avoid dismissing or minimizing their emotions.

4.         Provide Reassurance: Offer reassurance and comfort to your child. Let them know that you are there to support them and that they are not alone.

5.         Seek Professional Help: If you’re concerned about your child, their attempts to cope are ineffective or unhealthy, their symptoms are impacting their ability to function in multiple environments or last longer than 4-6 weeks, consider seeking help from a professional therapist or counselor who specializes in working with children who have experienced trauma. Professional support can provide additional tools and strategies for coping and healing. When in doubt reach out to a professional (Case Manager, Mental Health or Medical Provider- Family Doctor, Therapist, Psychologist, Psychiatrist) or the Crisis Hotline- 988 or 1-800-362-5717 (Grant and Iowa Counties) for support, guidance, or a consult.

6.         Maintain Stability: Try to maintain a sense of stability and routine in your child’s life. Predictability can help them feel more secure and in control.

7.         Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms: Teach your child healthy coping mechanisms such as deep breathing, mindfulness, or engaging in activities they enjoy.

8.         Model Healthy Coping: Be a positive role model for your child by demonstrating healthy coping strategies and managing your own stress in constructive ways.

9.         Encourage Self-Expression: Encourage your child to express themselves creatively through activities like drawing, writing, or playing music. This can help them process their emotions in a safe and non-verbal way.

10.       Sleep: Sufficient sleep is essential for children to process emotions and consolidate memories, including those related to traumatic experiences. During sleep, the brain undergoes processes that help regulate emotions and consolidate memories, which can be especially important for children dealing with trauma. Lack of sleep can exacerbate stress and emotional instability, making it more difficult for children to cope with traumatic experiences. Establishing a regular sleep schedule and ensuring children have a comfortable sleep environment can support their emotional resilience.

11.       Hydration: Hydration is critical for overall health and brain function. Dehydration can affect mood, cognitive function, and physical well-being, which can exacerbate the effects of trauma on children. Drinking enough water helps maintain proper brain function, including memory and concentration, which are important for processing and coping with traumatic experiences. Encouraging children to drink water regularly throughout the day can support their physical and emotional resilience.

12.       Nutrition: Proper nutrition is essential for children’s physical and mental development. Nutrient-rich foods provide the energy and nutrients needed for optimal brain function, mood regulation, and stress management. Eating a balanced diet that includes a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats can support children’s overall well-being and resilience in the face of trauma.

13.       Be Patient: Healing from trauma takes time, so be patient with your child and yourself. Celebrate small victories and progress along the way.

Remember that every child is different, and what works for one may not work for another. It’s important to be flexible and responsive to your child’s individual needs.

Thank you to Tony Evers and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development for awarding Unified Community Services with the Gold Award for Being a Veteran Ready Employer!

Award Presentation at Unified Community Services 2.13.2024

Thank you, Grant County Herald Independent!

We appreciate the article today in the Grant County Herald Independent covering Unified Community Services being one of only two governmental entities recognized in the State of Wisconsin as a “Vets Ready Employer!”

Check out the full article on our Facebook page: Unified Community Services

Are you concerned about someone who you believe may be depressed?

Learn more about depression from Craig Sawchuk, Ph.D., L.P., clinical psychologist at Mayo Clinic.

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.

More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness and you can’t simply “snap out” of it. Depression may require long-term treatment. But don’t get discouraged. Most people with depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy or both.


Although depression may occur only once during your life, people typically have multiple episodes. During these episodes, symptoms occur most of the day, nearly every day and may include:

  • Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness
  • Angry outbursts, irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies or sports
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Reduced appetite and weight loss or increased cravings for food and weight gain
  • Anxiety, agitation or restlessness
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or self-blame
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions and remembering things
  • Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

For many people with depression, symptoms usually are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities or relationships with others. Some people may feel generally miserable or unhappy without really knowing why.

Depression symptoms in children and teens

Common signs and symptoms of depression in children and teenagers are similar to those of adults, but there can be some differences.

  • In younger children, symptoms of depression may include sadness, irritability, clinginess, worry, aches and pains, refusing to go to school, or being underweight.
  • In teens, symptoms may include sadness, irritability, feeling negative and worthless, anger, poor performance or poor attendance at school, feeling misunderstood and extremely sensitive, using recreational drugs or alcohol, eating or sleeping too much, self-harm, loss of interest in normal activities, and avoidance of social interaction.

Depression symptoms in older adults

Depression is not a normal part of growing older, and it should never be taken lightly. Unfortunately, depression often goes undiagnosed and untreated in older adults, and they may feel reluctant to seek help. Symptoms of depression may be different or less obvious in older adults, such as:

  • Memory difficulties or personality changes
  • Physical aches or pain
  • Fatigue, loss of appetite, sleep problems or loss of interest in sex — not caused by a medical condition or medication
  • Often wanting to stay at home, rather than going out to socialize or doing new things
  • Suicidal thinking or feelings, especially in older men

When to see a doctor

If you feel depressed, make an appointment to see your doctor or mental health professional as soon as you can. If you’re reluctant to seek treatment, talk to a friend or loved one, any health care professional, a faith leader, or someone else you trust.

When to get emergency help

If you think you may hurt yourself or attempt suicide, call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency number immediately.

Also consider these options if you’re having suicidal thoughts:

  • Call your doctor or mental health professional.
  • Contact a suicide hotline.
    • In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat. Services are free and confidential.
    • U.S. veterans or service members who are in crisis can call 988 and then press “1” for the Veterans Crisis Line. Or text 838255. Or chat online.
    • The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454 (toll-free).
  • Reach out to a close friend or loved one.
  • Contact a minister, spiritual leader or someone else in your faith community.

If you have a loved one who is in danger of suicide or has made a suicide attempt, make sure someone stays with that person. Call 911 or your local emergency number 1-800-362-5717 immediately. Or, if you think you can do so safely, take the person to the nearest hospital emergency room.

All information above from

Recognizing Addiction in the Workplace

Does your staff need training on recognizing addiction in the workplace? Are you turning a blind eye because you don’t know what to do or how to help?

At Unified Community Services, we believe in fostering a supportive and inclusive workplace where every member of our team can thrive. If your organization shares this commitment to your staff and have encountered addiction in the workplace as one of the barriers to your employees thriving, we can help!

Reach out today to schedule a presentation with your leadership or management team. You will:

🔍 Gain valuable insights into the signs of addiction that may manifest in the workplace.

🤝 Learn how to approach and support team members who might be facing addiction challenges.

📋 Explore best practices for creating a supportive and stigma-free work environment.

📢 Understand the importance of workplace policies and resources to help those in need.

We help people facing the challenges of addiction every day at Unified Community Services. We offer an expertise that will empower your staff to face these challenges in healthy ways, equipping you with the tools to make a positive impact on your team’s well-being.

We invite all business leaders, managers, and HR professionals with concerns about addiction in the workplace to request a presentation. Your presence and commitment to this important issue can make a significant difference in the lives of your staff and the overall success of your organization.

Woo Hoo! First Place!

Unified Community Services took first place in the Lancaster Area Chamber of Commerce Business and & Residential Scarecrow Contest! Proud of our staff who created the display together and mobilized voters to cast 371 Likes! Amazing!

Are you concerned about someone in your workplace who may be in a mental health crisis?

Recognizing signs that a coworker may be having suicidal thoughts is crucial for offering support and potentially saving a life. While it’s essential to remember that you are not a mental health professional, and any concerns should be taken seriously and reported to a supervisor, HR, or a mental health expert, here are some common signs that a coworker may be experiencing suicidal thoughts:

  1. Isolation and Withdrawal: They may become increasingly isolated, avoiding social interactions with colleagues and friends, and retreating from workplace activities.
  2. Mood Changes: Noticeable shifts in their mood, such as becoming consistently sad, hopeless, or anxious, can be an indication. They might also show signs of extreme anger or irritability.
  3. Expressing Hopelessness: They may talk openly about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live. Comments like “I can’t go on” or “Life is meaningless” should be taken seriously.
  4. Giving Away Possessions: If they start giving away their belongings or talking about getting rid of their assets, it can be a concerning sign.
  5. Sudden Improvement: Paradoxically, some individuals may display a sudden improvement in mood and demeanor after having made the decision to attempt suicide. This is often seen as a sign that they have made peace with their decision.
  6. Change in Work Performance: A decline in work performance, increased absenteeism, or a significant drop in productivity can be indicative of emotional distress.
  7. Neglecting Personal Appearance: Neglecting personal hygiene or a dramatic change in appearance can be an outward sign of emotional turmoil.
  8. Increased Alcohol or Drug Use: Escalating substance abuse, whether it’s alcohol or drugs, can be an attempt to cope with emotional pain.
  9. Making Farewell Statements: They may make statements or write letters that sound like goodbye notes, indicating a desire to end their life.
  10. Physical Symptoms: Persistent physical complaints like headaches, stomachaches, or other unexplained pain can be linked to emotional distress.
  11. Talking About Suicide: They may openly talk about suicide, expressing thoughts about how they would do it or when they would do it.

If you observe any of these signs in a coworker, it’s essential to take their distress seriously and act responsibly:

  1. Talk to Them: Express your concern in a non-judgmental and empathetic manner. Let them know you care and are there to listen.
  2. Encourage Professional Help: Suggest that they seek help from a mental health professional or their Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
  3. Involve Supervisors or HR: Share your concerns with your supervisor, HR department, or your organization’s designated mental health resource. They can provide guidance on how to proceed.
  4. Connect Them with a Support System: Encourage them to reach out to friends and family for support. Offer to help them make these connections if they are willing.
  5. Do Not Leave Them Alone: If you believe the person is an immediate risk to themselves, do not leave them alone. Call emergency services or a crisis hotline (see below).

Remember that your primary role is to be supportive and encourage them to seek professional help. Do not attempt to handle the situation on your own, as suicidal thoughts require expert intervention. To access Crisis in Iowa and Grant Counties call 1-800-362-5717 24 hours a day.

People of all ages who need help for themselves or a loved one can access the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by:
Calling 988 (multiple languages),
sending a text message to 988 (English only), or using the chat feature at is external) (English only).
TTY users can either go through their preferred relay service or by calling 711 then 1-800-273-8255. Services are also available through chat and text.

  • Trevor Project LGBTQ+ crisis intervention
    • call 1-866-488-7386
    • or text 678-678
  • HOPELINE Text service
    • text HOPELINE to 741741
  • Veterans Crisis Line
    • Call 988 (press 1) or Text 838255
  • Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in Wisconsin
    • Call or Text 988