Street Talk: Living life on the edge

Unhealthy habit.
100

Easterseals Michigan is calling all thrill-seekers.

The nonprofit that empowers individuals with behavioral, physical, social or intellectual disabilities will host its fifth annual Over the Edge fundraiser, sponsored by Amway, on Saturday, Sept. 18, at Bridgewater Place, 333 Bridge St. NW, one of the tallest buildings in Grand Rapids.

Over The Edge is an urban rappelling experience organized to raise funds for nonprofit organizations. Participants who raise $1,000 will go over the edge and rappel down 18 stories and 270 feet. All event proceeds will support Easterseals Michigan programming.

For those not ready or able to take the big leap, a virtual reality rappelling experience, sponsored by Flagstar Bank, will be available for a $25 donation. Using Oculus Quest VR Headset, participants can virtually experience the going over the edge, with the sound of the crowds cheering them on, without leaving the ground.

The event, which will take place during ArtPrize, will include food, music and all are invited to attend and cheer on participants.

“Since 2016, the Over the Edge fundraiser has raised nearly $400,000 to support our work in the community,” said Easterseals Michigan President and CEO Brent Wirth. “Each individual’s experience managing mental health is different, but the experience of going over the edge is similar to what some of the people we serve face every day. This event gives people the opportunity to conquer their fears and feel what it is like to face something head-on with a sense of great accomplishment.”

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Easterseals Michigan — which is based in Auburn Hills and has locations in Grand Rapids and several other cities — never closed its doors but instead saw a 26% increase in demand for its services. The organization also hired more than 130 individuals to meet the growing needs of the community. Funds raised at Over the Edge will go to support its services.

Additional event sponsors include Chick-fil-A, EOTECH, Gun Lake Casino, Founders Brewery and Varnum.

People can register at overtheedgewestmi.com. Space is limited.

Crafted solution

Molina Healthcare has gifted Wedgwood Christian Services with a fully stocked, custom Craft Corner for the use of children and teens in Wedgwood’s care.

Wedgwood provides residential treatment and care to children and teens who have experienced immense trauma and have significant mental, emotional and behavioral health challenges. While in Wedgwood’s care, youths have access to donor-funded wellness and recreation services, an employment training program, voluntary chaplaincy services and educational support.

Arts and crafts are often integrated into therapeutic activities and therapy sessions. The Molina Craft Corner is a dedicated space for creating stocked with a variety of art supplies.

“We are very pleased to see the Molina Healthcare Craft Corner come to life,” said Kali Jackson, residential therapist at Wedgwood. “This craft corner will provide numerous kids with an opportunity to strengthen their coping skills and tap into their creative side. Opportunities like this are pertinent to kids’ success, as it provides them with a safe space to process their emotions, unwind and practice skills they can take into the community. The Molina Craft Corner is a space that the kids in our care can make their own while away from home and in residential treatment.”

The initiative is part of Molina Healthcare’s commitment to community service and corporate social responsibility.

“We are excited to provide a Craft Corner to help the children in Wedgwood’s care explore emotions, develop self-awareness and cope with stress,” said Heidi McGlinnen, associate vice president, community engagement, Molina Healthcare of Michigan. “We are proud to partner with Wedgwood Christian Services on this, as they are one of the largest social services agencies in the state of Michigan providing outstanding outpatient, as well as residential, treatment.”

Psychotic brake

In a presentation awarded “Best Clinical Case Report” by the American Psychiatric Association at its nationwide annual meeting in May, Dr. Chad Percifield, D.O., showed the use of e-cigarettes to vape tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) places individuals at a significantly increased risk for the development of psychotic disorders.

Percifield is a resident physician in Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services’ Psychiatry Residency Program, a partnership between the behavioral health organization and the Michigan State University College of Human Medicine. 

His research poster, entitled Suicidality and Psychosis Following Vaping Related Lung Injury, highlighted the use of e-cigarettes to vape THC compounds an already-elevated risk of psychosis to an extreme degree.

“Research has previously shown that individuals who consume THC are three times as likely as those who do not to develop a psychotic disorder,” Percifield stated. “Vaping solutions increase this risk more than sixfold due to the potency of the vaping solution, which on average contains 52% THC versus the 13% THC contained in the marijuana flower.”

The increased risk of psychosis is especially noteworthy when considering trends in e-cigarette use among adolescents, Percifield noted.

“It’s a growing problem,” Percifield said. “In 2019, 46% of high school seniors reported vaping of some kind, up from 34% in 2016. More significantly, 21% of those surveyed in 2019 stated they vape marijuana, more than doubling the figure from a similar 2017 survey. Of all those who vape, over 60% said they do it to experiment.”

Percifield’s research findings note the known impact of THC consumption on development of psychosis, the high potency of THC vaping solutions and the increased use of e-cigarettes among adolescents place that population at an increasing risk of psychiatric illness.

“Research shows that many adolescents vape to experiment — just to try it out. Others report they vape because it tastes good. It’s critically important, however, that we increase awareness that vaping can have long-lasting effects on both physical and mental health. Adolescents who vape, especially if vaping marijuana, are placing themselves at an exponentially increased risk of developing a psychotic disorder, and that can have a lifelong impact,” Percifield added.

Facebook Comments