From Our Family to Yours…
We hope you are enjoying the end of summer! It is hard to imagine that here in Florida we spend the next few weeks transitioning from vacation to school. Change seems to be an expected part of our rhythm these days, yet we are well aware it may still compound stress levels. Seemingly simple measures may reduce stress such as eating healthy, remaining mobile and active, and trying to intentionally disrupt stressors with healthy activities—like listening to music, calling a friend, giving your pet some attention, going to the beach, etc. Yes, you may still have to cope with stressors, but having a reserve of mental and emotional wellness strengthens your ability to better respond.
As students return to school, learning virtually or in-person has pros and cons that can affect mental health and academic performance. Our Triple P (Positive Parenting Program) is designed to help parents with children of all ages who are struggling with behavioral issues and problems in school and at home. This Children’s Services Council (CSC) funded program offers great parenting tips and education at no cost to Palm Beach County parents and guardians.
Additionally, this program is regularly presented at local schools in partnership with the 21st Century Community Learning Centers. Center for Family Services’ clinicians also helped create a well-received video series “Ask the Experts” produced by CSC and available on the CSC website, as well as the EveryParent app. These are short videos in both English and Spanish on relevant back-to-school topics.
Please remember to reach out to your child’s school’s mental health employee for helpful resources and potential referrals if you find this school year particularly challenging.
Numbers of those struggling with severe mental health issues have soared in the last two years. Even more mild and moderate mental health issues have seen a staggering increase in American adults. Boston University School of Public Health recently published that 1 in 3 American adults are currently identifying as being depressed (The Lancet Regional Health-Americas, Oct 04, 2021). Boston College recently published that self-reported depression and anxiety rates in adults are six times higher in the US today than in 2019 (Journal Translational Behavioral Medicine, April 05, 2021).
The childhood mental health statistics are equally alarming. National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recently reported that just over 16% of US youth aged 6-17 experience a mental health disorder; 50% of all lifetime mental illness begins by age 14, and 75% by age 24; and suicide is currently the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 (www.nami.org). All of these rates seemed exacerbated by the pandemic; fear, anxiety, depression, isolation, loneliness, financial hardship, and physical illness all increased as a result.
Especially helpful is the recent announcement of the new crisis-line phone number: 9-8-8. This change has been years in the making, and the intent is to speed access to much-needed resources for individuals in mental health crisis. Many people in emotional crisis dial the emergency 9-1-1 not realizing these calls are not managed by trained mental health professionals. Suicide prevention and mental health crisis counselors can now be reached by dialing the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 9-8-8 for voice; or text for chat options. The Veterans Crisis Line can also be accessed through the same 9-8-8 call center. Locally, when seeking non-emergency crisis counseling, we also have 211 Palm Beach and Treasure Coast to provide information on available resources by dialing or texting 2-1-1.
We are so grateful to all of our funding partners and generous donors. This month, we would like to especially thank Lost Tree Foundation for its support updating and beautifying the Center for our employees, clients, and visitors. The Foundation’s support has been uplifting for all of us. Our dedicated staff, board, community partners, and our donors enable us to offer exceptional outpatient mental health services to Palm Beach County residents of all ages. You are essential partners to our thriving nonprofit organization. Thank you!
Wishing you a safe and healthy August!
Dawn M. Silver, Ph.D.