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Mental Health is Health

Mental Health Awareness Month may have come to a close, but we continue to be reminded that our emotional, psychological, and social health are all components of our overall well-being; and that mental health is health. Being mentally healthy influences caregivers’ ability to support children’s development and growth toward leading successful, healthy lives. A 2021 study found that 1 in 14 children have a caregiver struggling with some form of mental health challenge and that persistent parental mental health problems during the developmental years of 0-8 years old is a significant predictor of greater distress through adulthood (Kamis, 2020).

But what happens when children and parents are struggling simultaneously and need support? It’s complicated, and access and availability of care can be limited. Locally, many agencies have current waitlists that extend out 6 months just to be able to start services. The mental healthcare system can be very daunting to navigate on your own when your focus is your own well-being, but what does that look like when the child and the caregiver are struggling with their mental health? Implementation of comprehensive community programming to support the growth and development of children while supporting parent and family needs is integral to a societal mental and well-being change.

Forging and strengthening connections within and around families is an essential component of Allendale’s core values and guiding principles for all of our therapeutic programs, including:

  • Community Support Services (CSSP) Program – bridges gaps of siloed supports and establishes a community of care that comprehensively wrap around the child and family.
  • Foster Care – pairs youth with understanding, supportive families who commit to helping them achieve their individual goals for their lives and prepares them to launch into adulthood.
  • Shelter & Transitional Adolescent Resources (STAR) Program – offers locked-out and homeless youth and young adults a safe place to regroup, reconnect with family and/or gain access to community resources.

At Allendale, connecting youth and families with a circle of people that will continue to provide guidance, support and comfort is what motivates us, and helps empower our youth and families along their journey.

Mental health is not an individual challenge. The adage that “it takes a village to raise a child” applies under the best of circumstances but takes on even greater significance when essential services and support become more elusive and difficult to access due to an enduring perception of stigma or shame that often comes with a mental health diagnosis. People readily see treatment for an injury or other physical health condition so why should an emotional or psychological ailment be any different? Allendale advocates at the local community and state level to improve the mental healthcare system and works to remove the barriers and obstacles that impede access to much needed programs and services whenever possible. We endeavor to educate and to empower so that our youth, parents and families may thrive.

You are not alone.

1 in 6 youth (aged 6-17) experience a mental health disorder each year in the U.S. If you or someone you love is struggling, please reach out for help. Programs like Allendale’s Community Support Services Program (CSSP) are designed to bridge gaps of siloed supports and establish a community of care that comprehensively wraps around the child and family. Call us at 847-245-6327 for more information on how we can help.

Allendale’s Bradley Counseling Center therapists also offer a broad range of experience to help address many of life’s challenges with individual, couples or family therapy. Call us at 847-356-3322 for more information on how we can help.

Together, we can help address and guide our clients through barriers or challenges they may be facing. We truly care about seeing our clients reach their individual goals!

A tradition of care and service.

For 125 years, Allendale, a private, not-for-profit organization, has led youth with serious emotional, mental, and behavioral health challenges and their families on a journey towards resiliency.

At Allendale, our aim is to offer every chance for healing and growth – through myriad programs and services and a continuum of care including 24/7 therapeutic residential treatment, therapeutic day school programs, outpatient counseling services, foster care and community support services. Allendale is a place where kids and families have the opportunity to restore their lives and discover a better future.

*Special thanks to Maral Binnebose MSW, LSW, Allendale In-Home Therapist, for her contributions to this article!