Growing up in Lake County, a neighborhood where economic stressors were clearly present, Shayna Jackson always found herself helping her friends and coming up with creative solutions to their challenges.
That’s why when Shayna arrived at Miami University, she decided on a pre-med path to becoming a physician. After a few months, however, she began to rethink her life trajectory. Her mother and one of her biggest influences always told her, “Shayna, life is a journey and not an event. Let life take you where it feels you will do the best.”
As Shayna began reflecting on her mother’s statement, social work kept coming to the forefront of her mind. “I believe in justice for all people”, Shayna explains, “My belief is that it is not always a situation of “if only a person works harder they will succeed.” Sometimes the system that we rely on to help our community in need can create barriers to that help- and that’s where social workers come in.”
After completing her undergraduate degree, Shayna continued on to receive her Master’s in Social Science Administration from Case Western Reserve University. She currently works as a licensed independent social worker at Beacon Health, where she witnesses inspiring creativity every day. “The individuals that come to us for help are in need of so much more than a typical response, Shayna says, “They need something that is “out of the box” thinking. The team at Beacon Health does this with passion and commitment.”
When asked about the most rewarding part of her job, Shayna expressed the privilege of becoming a part of her someone’s journey from behavioral health issues to healing. Shayna also credits her team with coming up with programs that “will truly make an impact on the recovery for those that we serve”.
Know the Signs
Shayna explains that each mental health condition has its own signs and symptoms. “I think one of the main things is to know what a mental health disorder or substance use disorder may look like for you”, Shayna says.
In general, professional help might be needed if you experience any of the following:
- Marked changes in personality, eating or sleeping patterns
- An inability to cope with problems or daily activities
- Strange or grandiose ideas
- Excessive anxiety
- Prolonged depression or apathy
- Thinking or talking about suicide
- Substance use
- Extreme mood swings or excessive anger, hostility or violent behavior
Shayna encourages those suffering from a mental health condition or substance abuse problem by assuring them that there is HOPE. “Both mental health disorders and substance use disorders are treatable conditions” she explains, “recovery takes time, commitment, and courage, but people CAN and DO get better”. Shayna recommends joining peer support groups at a mental health agency or other groups like AA, NA, or Smart Recovery. Participating in these groups allow people the opportunity to lean on others who have experienced similar situations and learn from their mistakes and triumphs.
Shayna’s Lake County Favorites
When Shayna’s not at Beacon Health changing lives, she enjoys exploring local restaurants and shopping in different Lake County stores, like Bracken Moss Yarn Shop. Her son was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder when he was around four-years-old and she recognized that crocheting helped her to continue to bring her best self to her family and those she serves. Even now with her son being 17-years-old, she continues to crochet and utilize mindfulness as a way to reduce compassion fatigue.
To learn more about Beacon Health, visit http://beaconhealth.crossroads-lake.org/.
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