Sara*, 15 years old, was referred to the Child Guidance Center (CGC) by a school counselor after she disclosed that she was cutting herself and thinking about suicide. CGC’s Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services team provided immediate crisis intervention. Once the situation was stabilized, Sara began receiving intensive in-home psychotherapy to help her stop cutting and learn to manage emotions.  She also received treatment through CGC’s System of Care (SOC) program.

The SOC care coordinator visited Sara’s home weekly, getting to know the family and learning about their needs. The care coordinator discovered that Sara’s mother, Claire, struggled with anxiety, which caused her to snap at or ignore her children. Claire and Sara fought often, which caused Sara to feel bad about herself.

To help Sara’s parents effectively communicate and manage their children, the care coordinator connected them to a parenting program. The care coordinator also organized a support team comprised of Claire’s family, friends, and counselors. The support team met once a month and discussed how they could best assist Sara’s family.

The support team’s dedication gave Sara’s family hope. Knowing that others cared and wanted to help them succeed inspired the family to work together, support one another, and hold each other accountable. When treatment began, Sara’s family argued and didn’t want to spend much time together. At discharge, Sara’s family was spending more time together. Claire and Sara began to laugh together and enjoy each other’s company. Her parents became more consistent when communicating with and disciplining their children.

To help families like Sara’s overcome their challenges, CGC created the Youth, Empowerment, & Support (YES) Mentoring program. Through the YES Mentoring program, a screened volunteer can give a child like Sara an opportunity to socialize and participate in fun, age-appropriate activities with a positive role model, while providing time-off for parents to take care of themselves.

For more information about CGC’s YES Mentoring program, contact Sheila Figueroa at [email protected].

* identifying information has been changed