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Resilience & Prevention: We must set communities up for success to overcome periods of trauma and stress

A shortage of help during a critical time

Many lessons are being learned during this global pandemic. Some have been more painful than others. A recent article in the New York Times highlighted the difficulties individuals are having finding help for their mental health struggles. People are waiting months for appointments if they’re even lucky enough to reach someone who has an opening for new patients. A study published by the American Psychological Association in November 2020 shows that after six months into the pandemic, there are more people seeking help than there are practitioners to help. Most psychologists reported seeing 74% more patients for anxiety and 60% more for depressive disorders. All medical fields are feeling the stress. There are too many people that need help physically and mentally. This is leaving staff burned out and frustrated as well.

Need for empathy and education

Another lesson we’re being taught over and over again is the need for more education and empathy towards mental and behavioral health challenges. During this unprecedented time when people are being challenged in ways they never thought possible, we are having a huge spotlight shown on this crisis. From a 9-year-old being pepper-sprayed and arrested while having a mental breakdown to a large increase in suicide rates for women in Japan, to the rise in addiction and relapse and physical abuse, our world is in pain. We are struggling.

The shortage of mental and behavioral health crisis services is hurting individuals that are struggling and also their families and communities. Barring a magic genie coming to life and granting us three wishes to solve our problems, we need to teach communities how to use what they have available to help their people recover and thrive.

Importance of Connection

This leads me to Linking Human Systems (LHS). LHS uses the underlying Evidence-Based, Best Practice model, Transitional Family Therapy (As does the ARISE® method). LHS believes that communities are resilient and strong and those that are struggling need to learn the tools to access their inherent strength. LHS does this by building a network of healing in families and communities by enhancing relational resilience. Research has demonstrated the importance of connectedness to family and culture of origin, as well as to spirituality.

LHS involves external professionals in the initial phases. These facilitators work with the community to select natural change agents to work as Community Links to mobilize workgroups and achieve the goals of the community.  External facilitators gradually withdraw as the community takes over ensuring long-term sustainability.

The concept is that by using trusted community members they have easy access, particularly in communities or traditional extended families where professional intervention is neither invited nor welcomed. LHS’s emphasis is on empowering individuals and families to take charge of their own direction to achieve their goals. Disconnectedness perpetuates trauma. For healing to occur from molecular to a cosmic level, there needs to be collaboration and a network of support and connectedness across the bio-psycho-socio-cultural-spiritual system.

Case Studies

The first LHS study was done in 1977 in Natal Province, South Africa. Dr. Judith Landau worked with the Director of Public Health. The intervention addressed a population of approximately 5 million to enhance health by reducing morbidity. Results included a reduction in infant mortality, an increase in immunization, and breastfeeding with a reduction in protein deficiency (kwashiorkor).

In 1990, in the Buenos Aires Province of Argentina, after 2 years, they showed a 400% increase in youth attending treatment, and in a city of 2 million people 15 years after the intervention, 92% of the community projects were still functioning. The best part is that nobody knew that outsiders had been there. That’s what it should be. Their mission is to tread lightly and leave no footprints.

More recently in Aurora, CO,  a cultural microcosm of the United States with long-term citizens and immigrants of 29 countries, they now have an active community resilience center that grew from traumatic gun violence (2012) and is serving as an ongoing resource to the community.

One of the current projects LHS is working on is in Appalachia with grassroots peer supports, law enforcement, primary care, and quick response teams to help their communities deal with current stresses and trauma resulting in addiction and mental health issues. Like many underserved communities, they have a lack of resources and are depending on the few professionals available to handle everything. By working with LHS, these communities will learn how to access their resilience and come together to find themselves stronger and healthier than ever.

Learn more

To learn more about Linking Human Systems, or if you’re interested in working with LHS, please email us at, or call 303-834-5194.




Cumberland Heights Facility Wide Training

This past week Dr. Judith Landau and Senior ARISE® Trainer James Ott brought a facility wide training to Cumberland Heights! Cumberland Heights trained their entire staff in the ARISE® philosophy, principles and model in order to become a Certified ARISE® Facility! This training involved a huge shift in focus from pathology to resilience, recognizing the key roles that families play, and working towards whole family healing.

The effects of facility wide training can be seen on not only the facility level, but on the staff and patient levels as well. Facility wide trainings are an amazing way to improve patient retention, significantly reduce your AMA rates, improve your long-term outcomes, and create a patient referral community.

When you train your whole staff in the ARISE® methods we will raise ethical awareness, create staff support systems, improve your staff retention rates and reduce burnout. When your staff and patients are seeing the improvements that an ARISE® training can bring, your overall facility performance increases, you will attract more referrals and improve your cost effectiveness!

Training an entire staff, over a three day period is an intensive process, and it was a pleasure and an honor to spend last week with Cumberland Heights!