Author Archives : Haley Sledge

How I Met JFS

by Betsy Threefoot Kaston I will never forget the day I stopped by my parents’ house and met with Julanne Isaacson.  We were sitting in the living room; it was the first time I really learned about Jewish Family Service. She was a good friend of my mother’s and the Executive Director of JFS. SheRead More

The SPACE Program is now available at Jewish Family Service

SPACE stands for Supportive Parenting for Anxious Childhood Emotions and is a parent-based treatment program for children and adolescents with anxiety, OCD, and related problems. SPACE has been tested and found to be as effective as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for reducing childhood anxiety in randomized controlled clinical trials. SPACE can also be effective with childrenRead More

Changing the World through Kindness

Before I came to work at JFS, I thought that I had a very good understanding of the work that this agency does.  I knew about the Counseling Services, the Catch-A-Cab Program, the Continuing Education workshops, and the Lifeline Program (now Medical Guardian).  Now, as an employee, I’ve discovered that JFS’ service goes far beyondRead More

Give Thanks Everyday

Even here on the Gulf Coast, the distinct electricity of autumn is in the air. The temperatures are staying shy of 80°, the Golden Raintrees are wearing their pink bonnets, and the Bald Cypress along the river are flashing their burnt-orange leaves. While the fading heat is a signature pleasure of fall, the anticipation ofRead More

What is a Behavioral Health Intern?

Behavioral Health Interns are mental health specialists completing required direct practice hours towards master’s degrees in social work or counseling. In addition to holding bachelor’s degrees (typically in fields such as psychology, sociology, or social work) they complete several semesters of master’s level coursework that prepare them for clinical practice. This masters-level coursework includes in-depthRead More

Contemplative woman

Louise’s* EMDR Success Story

This blog post is in celebration of my becoming certified by EMDRIA, the EMDR International Association! I have been trained in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy and have been providing this powerful evidence-based therapy to my clients at JFS for six years. Qualifying for certification was a years-long process of group and individual consultationsRead More

Mental Health Care: Therapy and Prescribing Medication Misconceptions

Access to mental health care is a significant issue across the country. Affordability, location, stigma, negative past experiences, and so much more prevent people from seeking the mental health care they need and deserve. One barrier some cite as a reason they delayed seeking mental health care is confusion around medication and therapy. Mental healthRead More

Actually, There Is A Cure for the Summertime Blues.

June 21st might be the first official day of summer, but high heat and humidity begin plaguing the citizens of the Gulf South well before the official start of the season. Outdoor temperatures rise, indoor temperatures drop, and the thought of doing much of anything outside, while the sun is out, becomes less and lessRead More

Are You Aware of Your Own Mental Health? Or, Why It’s Important to Water Your Plants.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month! Organizations like JFS hope you will join us this month to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience. You can participate by following organizations on social media, sharing awareness messaging, contacting your legislators to ask forRead More

Be Kind to Myself

This month on the blog, JFS is featuring a testimonial from Cortni Randazzo, Client and Donor Services Specialist at JFS. Cortni’s story about receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood examines not only how difficult such a period can be, but there are tools available to cope. Sharing our mental health journeys helps remove theRead More

National Social Worker Month 2022

Happy Social Worker month to everybody! March is not only Women’s History Month, but National Social Workers Month as well. According to a 2017 study from George Washington University, 83% of social workers are women! While JFS offers a variety of services to our community, social work is a major part of our mission. OverRead More

Stay Aware of Human Trafficking in Our Community

January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month. As the Bilingual Human Trafficking Case Manager at JFS, I would like to share information about recognizing human trafficking as well as local organizations helping survivors. The Greater New Orleans Human Trafficking Task Force (GNOHTTF) focuses on providing client-centered and trauma-informed services. Through collaboration with otherRead More

Enjoy Your Cookies

Life may be uncertain, but one thing I know for sure is that time literally flies. I remember New Year’s Eve 1989 feeling so excited about my first decade change, and now 2022 is just around the corner. While 1989 feels not so long ago, the 30+ years in between brought so much change toRead More

Gratitude for Ourselves

Thanksgiving is a time for food, family, and gratitude. Gathered around the dinner table, people share their gratitude for children, friends, family, and their many blessings.  I am grateful to all of my loved ones for their unconditional love and support, too. This year, however,  I am most thankful for the ability to put myselfRead More

Slowing Down to Better Serve Our Clients

When unaccompanied minors (immigrant children who arrive in the U.S without their parents or caregivers) present themselves at the U.S/Mexico border, they are put into the care of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to await reunification with their family members or loved ones in the U.S. The Family Support Specialist and Family Support Coordinator teamRead More

Compassion and Self Care: Mental Health Professionals Need Them, Too!

We live in very stressful times. One of the online memes that I see a lot is a picture of a young boy looking tired, with the caption, “I’m kinda tired of living through historical events!” Aren’t we all! It’s difficult to deal with everything that’s going on all at once. Global warming and climateRead More

Why Your School Needs TLC

September is Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month. One of JFS’ long-standing programs is Teen Life Counts (TLC), a youth suicide prevention curriculum that brings vital education about the issue to schools in Orleans, Jefferson, St. Tammany, St. Charles, and St. Bernard parishes. The program is designed to provide students with education, resources, and skills toRead More

Not ready to go back to normal?

Your friends are headed back to the gym and happy hour gatherings. Your mom wants you to join her at the monthly art walk. Your boss is asking when you’ll be back in the office. Everyone seems ready to go back to normal, but you’re not. As vaccination rates rise and COVID restrictions loosen, someRead More

What’s your plan?

Seniors who live independently faced impossible challenges due to the pandemic. How does that change your planning for the future? Seniors in our community had an exceptionally difficult year. Those living independently faced new challenges. They couldn’t rely on the usual support from visiting family and friends. They were isolated and managed their household tasksRead More

Intimate Partner Abuse: Another Suspected Impact of the Pandemic & What You Can Do

by Max Balakoff Content Warning: This blog post contains information that might be upsetting to some readers. References to and/or discussion of inter-relationship abuse and victim-blaming follow. It’s been an unprecedented year for all of us. We are a world trying to process great loss, a world in mourning. Some of us lost loved ones,Read More

A New Beginning: JFS & Unaccompanied Children

Immigration has been a hot topic in media and political debates. Many of us are not aware, however, of the immigration process undocumented people, especially unaccompanied children, experience or even what brings them to the U.S. in the first place. Unaccompanied children (UC) is a term describing children under the age of 18 who comeRead More

Caring for the Whole Person: Case Management & Survivors of Human Trafficking.

Human trafficking forms complex webs of exploitation and pain. In their efforts to access a safer and better life, survivors must juggle potential risks to their health, safety, immigration status, families, and more. When organizations, such as JFS, assist survivors of human trafficking, the care we provide must account for the many challenges facing ourRead More

Managing Holiday Stress and Expectations

It’s the holiday season! Between parties, gifts, sweets, and treats, many of our clients are filled with more holiday dread than holiday cheer. Long to-do lists, family dynamics, and social expectations can transform a time of joy and laughter into one of doubt and misery. Our therapists put together a list of three ways toRead More

Mental Illness Awareness Week & 5 Things People with Mental Illness Want You to Know

In 1990, the US Congress established the first full week in October as Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW). It’s a time for advocates of mental health, whether those who experience mental illness or practitioners who serve them, to amplify their message en masse. Mental illnesses impact millions of Americans, and their experiences are as variedRead More

A Lifesaving Plan: Suicide Prevention Safety Planning

When it comes to discussions about suicide, safety planning must be a part of that conversation. Why? Well, as Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing for failure.” If you experience suicidal thoughts and/or attempted suicide in the past, you are at risk of attempt again. Coming up with a preventative safetyRead More

Depression is Serious

Depression is a difficult and pervasive illness. Many in our community, educated about and knowledgeable of their own experiences with the illness, are struggling . JFS therapists also hear from others, without any history of, or familiarity with, depression, who wonder and fear they are depressed. The reflection below, written by JFS’ Board President, BetsyRead More

So, What is Telemental Health?

Telemental health is now synonymous with pandemic life. In New York Times articles and emails from your healthcare provider, health care professionals are encouraging the public to begin, or continue, counseling via telemental health care. But what should you expect when talking to a counselor remotely via telemental health? Generally, only the means of communicationRead More

Pride Month & Mental Health

This month, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people will celebrate themselves and honor the people who catalyzed the Gay Liberation Movement with the Stonewall Uprising of 1969. Pride month is a time of both self-affirmation and reflection for the queer community. Despite the enormous obstacles the LGBTQ community has overcome to secure their rights,Read More

Jewish Community Open Letter to the African-American Community

Jewish Community Open Letter to the African-American Community