Freedom from fear (organization)

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Freedom From Fear, is a national nonprofit mental illness advocacy organization located in Staten Island, New York. This organization was founded in 1984 by director Mary Guardino as an outgrowth of her own personal experiences having suffered from anxiety and depression for more than 25 years. The mission of Freedom From Fear is to impact, in a positive way, the lives of all those affected by anxiety, depressive and related disorders through advocacy, education, research and community support. Freedom From Fear is dedicated to improving the lives of those experiencing mental illness. By serving as an advocate for the mentally ill, Freedom From Fear works to reduce the stigma behind mental illness through education. Freedom from Fear specializes in the treatment of clinical depression and anxiety disorders. Freedom From Fear is located in Staten Island, New York at 308 Seaview Avenue.

Depression and Anxiety

Anxiety

Freedom From Fear specializes in the treatment of Anxiety Disorders. While anxiety is a common experience of everyday life, mental health professionals deal with anxiety that is excessive and interferes with daily life. Clinicians recognize about 12 relatively distinct subtypes of anxiety disorder: Panic Disorder, with and without Agoraphobia, Agoraphobia Without a History of Panic Disorder, Specific Phobia, Social Phobia, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, Acute Stress Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Anxiety Disorder Due to a General Medical Condition, Substance-Induced Anxiety Disorder, and Anxiety Disorder Not Otherwise Specified. The prevalence of these disorders is startling. In any given year, approximately 40 million adults in the United States will suffer from an anxiety disorder which is 18% of the adult population. The causes of anxiety disorders are a cross between nature and nurture. Several areas of the brain such as the amygdala and the hippocampus are impaired which leads to an increased fear response. How individuals respond to their environment and how the environment responds to them are also play a role in the development of anxiety disorders. Studies are researching the impact of stress, life changes, social factors and other influences on the development of anxiety disorders.

Depression

Freedom From Fear also specializes in the treatment of Depression. Depression affects approximately 20 million adult Americans causing them to have symptoms such as hopelessness, sleep problems and feelings of being "down" and "blue". Depression is a chronic condition that impairs individuals in getting the most out of their daily lives. In depression, neural circuits responsible for the regulation of moods, thinking, sleep, appetite, and behavior fail to function properly. Critical neurotransmitters-chemicals used by nerve cells to communicate-are also out of balance. A combination of genetic, cognitive, and environmental factors are involved in the onset of a depressive disorder.

Treatment

Freedom From Fear, along with Clinical Management Consultants, provides counseling service to patients experiencing Anxiety or Depressive disorders. Treatment for adults, adolescents and children are provided. Licensed psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, social workers and other licensed mental health practitioners provide cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy to patients. The focus of cognitive behavioral therapy is to change dysfunctional thoughts and behaviors the lead to a heightened sense of anxiety. Interpersonal therapy focuses on improving the relationships that the patient has with others that contribute to anxiety or depression. Psychiatrists are also available to prescribe any necessary medication. Inpatient evaluations are also provided on a walk in basis to determine whether or not Freedom From Fear can provide patients with adequate assistance. The services provided by Freedom From Fear all have the goal of positively impacting the lives of patients by treating mental illness.

Freedom's Way: Treatment For Children and Adolescents

Freedom's Way is a group of programs that were developed and organized by Freedom From Fear. All of these programs are focused on children and adolescence who are suffering from different mental health conditions. Freedom From Fear understands that early intervention plays a key role in a successful recovery. Early intervention also sets up the road to a more successful adulthood.

  • Anxiety and Depressive Illness Center at Freedoasdfm From Fear- This program specializes in the treatment of children and adolescence who suffer from a variety of different mental health concerns. Some of the mental health illnesses that children/adolescence suffer from are anxiety disorders, depressive disorders, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) and so forth. The program is under the direction of a licensed child psychiatrist (M.D) as well as licensed mental health professionals. These mental health professionals include social workers and licensed mental health counselors
  • Early Beginnings for Life Long Mental Health- The program teaches parents appropriate skills to help their children who are suffering from anxiety and depressive illnesses.
  • The Freedom’s Way Summer Program- The program is designed to offer a variety of fun activities such as sports, arts and crafts, music and drama. Children will also receive daily sessions in age appropriate Emotional Management Training (EMT). These sessions are conducted by mental health professionals who have experience and training in working with children. EMT is focused on concrete behavioral elements that have been proven to effectively treat children who suffer from anxiety and depression.

Advocacy

Freedom From Fear advocates for those that are mentally ill by spreading awareness of the importance of good mental health. This organization participates in and encourages others to support Mental Health Wellness Week which takes place during the month of November. Founded by Freedom From Fear, this national campaign emphasizes the importance of a healthy mind and body. Throughout this week, mental health practices as well as individuals throughout the country educate their community about how to increase mental health by combating everyday stress and anxiety.

Freedom From Fear also advocates for the mentally ill by participating in National Anxiety and Depression Awareness week which occurs during the month of May. This campaign focuses on increasing awareness about the effects of anxiety and depression. Freedom From Fear provides mental health agencies as well as individuals with materials such as videos, books, handouts and screening forms to aid participants in educating the public. Workshops about these illnesses, screenings of educational movies, and giving the community information about local treatment centers are all common throughout this week.

Education

Director Mary Guardino serves to educate the public about mental illness through the creation of a video series called Mind in Motion. This YouTube video series focuses on mental health and behavior. The show discusses the development and treatment of mental illnesses such as Depression and Anxiety Disorders. The show that is hosted by Mary Guardino brings in experienced mental health professionals to discuss research that is currently being done on these illnesses. Mind in Motion also interviews people about their experiences with mental illness in order to better educate the public about the effects of mental illness of a person's daily life.

Board of directors

  • Irwin Freeman (President)
  • Mark Sisti, Ph.D. (1st Vice President)
  • Eileen Murray (2nd Vice President)
  • Jonathan W. Stewart, M.D. (Treasurer)
  • Marty Garfinkle, Ph.D.
  • Kathleen Garrigan, Esq.
  • Willian Henri, MPA, MA
  • Edith Mandarino
  • Justine Pawlukewicz, Ph.D.
  • Connie Salhany, Ph.D.
  • Paul Scano, Esq.
  • Carol Sonnenblick, Ph.D.
  • Joel F. Tricarico, M.D.

References

(1) http://www.freedomfromfear.org/index.html

(2) http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/anxiety-disorders/introduction.shtml