Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention

February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, which is a nationwide effort to raise awareness about abuse in teenage relationships and promote programs that educate young people on the importance of having a healthy relationship.

Hubbard House Teaches Teens the Importance of Healthy Relationships

Jacksonville’s Youth Crisis Center and Hubbard House first began their partnership in March 2018 to educate youth residing in YCC’s Residential Crisis Care program about the importance of healthy relationships. Hubbard House, serving Duval and Baker counties, is a full-service, certified, domestic violence center, responding to more than 91,000 hotline calls and providing shelter to more than 36,800 victims and their children in its 42-year history. 

Every other month, a Hubbard House Violence Prevention Facilitator for Youth spends two consecutive days at YCC facilitating the Couplets program, which was created by the One Love Foundation. The facilitator provides a safe, non-judgmental place for youth to open up about their relationships and any issues they may be experiencing. Youth are encouraged to first identify times when they could have been the abuser in relationships, exhibiting manipulative or disrespectful behaviors to their partner, so they can recognize how their actions affect others. The Hubbard House Violence Prevention Facilitator then educates them on how to recognize the warning signs of abuse in relationships and provides information on resources available for help.  

Prevention Eliminates Intervention

One in three teens will be in an abusive or unhealthy relationship at some point in their life, whether it is from physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse. In the case of an unhealthy relationship, Hubbard House stresses the importance of prevention, which will stop the violence before it even has the chance to occur. If prevention is unsuccessful, an intervention will be called to involve counseling, medical care or the police. Teens can prevent unhealthy bonds from forming by discussing their relationships, learning conflict resolution skills, becoming educated on the warning signs of abuse, and taking advantage of available resources, if needed.

5 Warning Signs That a Relationship Could Be Unhealthy

Potential abusers may be:

  • Using manipulation to get what they want, convincing you to do something you may not want to do, or influencing your decisions.
  • Forcing isolation by making you choose between them and your family and friends.
  • Throwing in a guilt trip to make you feel like everything is your fault, or that you are solely responsible for their happiness.
  • Lashing out because of jealousy, or sabotaging your work, school or other relationships because they want to be the most important part of your life.
  • Making you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them because of unpredictable overreactions, which could come in the form of violent behavior, belittlement or extreme mood swings.

Teaching Youth Early Is Key

Many of the youth at YCC present risk factors that could lead to a potentially abusive relationship: violence at home, aggressive or angry behavior, and poor problem-solving skills. The important thing to remember is that even if a teen presents risk factors that can lead to an unhealthy relationship, it doesn’t mean they are doomed to be abused or become an abuser. With the right tools and support, teens can develop healthy, happy relationships. “How kids handle friendships and early relationships is going to set the tone for how they handle more serious relationships down the road,” said Laura Gilligan, Health Educator at National Health Corps Florida Program, who serves at Hubbard House. “If they can learn non-violent approaches to conflict resolution in middle school or high school, they’ll carry that with them for the rest of their life.”

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic abuse, the Hubbard House has highly trained advocates available 24/7 to talk with anyone experiencing domestic violence, seeking resources or information, or questioning unhealthy aspects of their relationship. Call (904) 354-3114 or go to their website to speak confidentially with an advocate today.

Are you dealing with a crisis or unmanageable youth? The Youth Crisis Center’s Residential Crisis Care program provides short-term residential services and therapy for youth ages 10-17. Our residential therapists work with youth and their families to address the immediate crisis and help provide long-term solutions to handle future concerns once the youth return home. Click to fill out the Residential Crisis Care form on our website and a therapist will contact you, or call our crisis hotline at (904) 725-6662 to speak with someone immediately. Click more to learn about 8 ways to help your child cope with stress and anxiety.

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8 Ways to Help Your Child Cope With Stress and Anxiety

National Human Trafficking Awareness Month

It sounds like the plot from a terrifying Hollywood thriller; a young girl runs away in an act of defiance and then disappears for years. Only it’s not the next blockbuster, it’s the real story of a young girl we will call A.G. Like many teenagers, A.G. had a rocky home life. She struggled with authority and didn’t feel wanted or loved. A.G. began talking to men online, and it didn’t take long to find one who said he would take of her. So, at just 14 years old, she left for what she hoped would be a better life in a place – where she was appreciated. A.G. thought she’d met her prince. He was sweeter than anyone she’d ever met, and bought her anything she wanted. She was falling for him. But then it all changed. He told her she needed to earn her keep by taking a job in a strip club. He kept her money and kept her locked in the basement.

The Escape

A.G. made a run for it one night while working at the club, but the person she thought was going to help her ended up forcing her and another woman to live in a motel and work as prostitutes. Customers would “set up appointments” with her rescuer, who was now her pimp. One “customer” agreed to help her escape and take her to his house to be safe. But this was no safe haven. This man, who was twice her age, would not let her leave. He forced her to have sex with him and kicked her out when she became pregnant. A.G. was under 18 years old and had been missing for three years. She found a way to call her family and they brought her home. Her grandparents, who were her legal guardians, could not care for her and a baby. Fearing she would leave again, they reached out to YCC’s Residential Crisis Care program. A.G. stayed at YCC for two months while she received schooling, therapy services, extracurricular activities, a safe place to sleep and nutritious meals. After moving from YCC into a maternity group home, A.G. gave birth to a healthy baby and found the support and stability she needed to make it through her life changing events.

The Rescue

“In A.G.’s case, I think the best place for her is a facility with the appropriate resources to provide her support,” said Ashton Crawford, Residential Clinical Supervisor for the Youth Crisis Center in Duval County, Florida. “I believe if she had gone back to her guardians, she would have run away again, possibly even with her baby.” Crawford provides therapy to young people like A.G. who have experienced traumatic situations such as divorce, homelessness, relocation, loss of life and abuse. YCC provides a variety of services for children, adolescents, young adults and families, and is one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families.

Crawford says a major issue therapists see in teens at risk for trafficking is significant feelings of abandonment, or feeling unloved or unwanted. Many times, this stems from parents who are substance abusers, or abuse and neglect their children. The risk is also higher in children who were abandoned by their biological parents and are being raised by another family member (not necessarily being adopted out). “It is important for parents or guardians to be significantly and positively involved in their children’s lives, monitor their social media usage, and teach them about the dangers of human trafficking in an age-appropriate way,” adds Crawford.

Human Trafficking In Northeast Florida

In 2017, Duval County ranked fifth in Florida for the number of cases involving commercially, sexually exploited children. The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office reported that 66 human trafficking victims were “identified and/or rescued” in 2017, marking a 50 percent increase over the previous year. Human trafficking is the world’s second-largest criminal enterprise after narcotics, generating $150 billion dollars each year.  

Crawford taught A.G. how to think positively and helped her work through the feelings that made her run away in the first place. A.G. now has a strong support system in place and Crawford feels she will find a path to a better life for herself and her child.

Are you dealing with a crisis or unmanageable youth? The Youth Crisis Center’s Residential Crisis Care program provides short-term residential services and therapy for youth ages 10-17. Our residential therapists work with youth and their families to address the immediate crisis and help provide long-term solutions to handle future concerns once the youth return home. Click to fill out the Residential Crisis Care form on our website and a therapist will contact you, or call our crisis hotline at (904) 725-6662 to speak with someone immediately. Click more to learn about 8 ways to help your child cope with stress and anxiety.

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8 Ways to Help Your Child Cope With Stress and Anxiety

Residential Therapist

Job Title:         Residential Therapist

Reports to:      Residential Clinical Supervisor & Director of Program Services

Department:    Residential

Exempt:           Yes

Position Overview

Provides short-term counseling with emphasis on prevention.  Work with individuals, families, and groups to promote optimum mental and emotional health.  May help individuals deal with issues pertaining to the family such as family dynamics, parenting, and communication; suicidal/homicidal ideations; anger management; problems with self-esteem; peer related concerns, behavioral issues, and school related issues.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The most important knowledge, skills, and abilities are listed for Therapists.

Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological or social work research methods; and the assessment and counseling modalities of behavioral and affective disorders.
  • Knowledge of principles, theories, models, methods, and procedures for counseling of physical/mental/emotional/behavioral dysfunctions in the capacity of individual, family, and group therapy.
  • Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for psycho-educational instruction for group counseling and the measurement of training effects.
  • Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Knowledge of counseling ethics.

Skills:

  • Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
  • Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.

 Abilities:

  • The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.  It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.
  • The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

Position Duties and Responsibilities

Occupation specific tasks and the most important generalized work activities are listed for Therapist.

  • Perform clinical assessments through interviews and observation. Submit assessments for signature in a timely manner and in accordance with Florida Network standards and agency policy.
  • Develop measurable goal plans and submit plans for signature within the required timeframe as defined by the Florida Network and agency policy.
  • Close cases within designated timeframe as determined by your supervisor and agency policy.
  • Enter all required data into JJIS and Netmis regarding clients in an accurate, complete and timely manner. 
  • Provide individual, family, and/or group counseling to clients and families a minimum of twice per week for 10-12 clients on their caseload.  Complete all required documentation for such in the client’s file. 
  • Perform follow-ups on clients within seven (7) days of discharge.  Complete all required documentation for such contact.
  • Provide referrals upon discharge for clients and complete all required documentation in the client’s file.
  • Participate in treatment team.
  • Provide case management and advocacy for clients while participating in the program and complete all required documentation for such.
  • Responsible for completion of training objectives within established timeframes.
  • All other duties assigned.

Education and Experience

Master’s degree in social work, counseling, or related area of study from an accredited college or university recognized by the Florida Department of Education; and two years of related experience in social work or counseling experience with at-risk youth and families. Licensed-eligible in the State of Florida preferred and willing to begin licensure supervision within 6 months of employment.  A valid driver’s license and safe driving record is required.

Mathematical Skills and Reasoning Ability

Basic and/or advanced computational skills may be necessary.

Physical Demands

This is a sedentary position, and the incumbent will be required to sit approximately 70 per cent of the time.  Little to moderate lifting of less than 25 lbs. may be required.

Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is occasionally exposed to outside weather conditions.

The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

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National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Month

For many families, November is a month filled with Thanksgiving dinners, family gatherings and the kick-off of holiday shopping. Yet, for millions of other young people, their reality couldn’t be further from these festivities. The National Runaway Switchboard estimates that on any given night there are approximately 1.3 million homeless youth living unsupervised on the streets, in abandoned buildings, or with friends or strangers. National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Month, recognized in November, is an annual awareness event where people across the country draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness through educational, service, fundraising and advocacy events.

Homelessness and Hunger Go Hand in Hand

Unfortunately, homelessness and hunger go hand-in-hand for America’s youth. Every state in the country faces a flood of young people with no place to call home. Florida’s warmer climates prove to be an even bigger draw for young people on the move to find a safe haven. In 1974, former Jacksonville Councilwoman Gwen Yates founded the Transient Youth Center to provide a safe shelter space for runaway youth. She initially battled the stigma that runaway or homeless teenagers are troubled, damaged or dangerous. She and others prevailed to create a safe space that would become the model for the entire state. In 1982, the center was re-named the Youth Crisis Center. Over the next few decades, it shifted focus from solely serving “at-risk” youth to including their families that are also impacted by traumatic life events like drug use, domestic abuse, bullying, divorce or the loss of a parent or sibling.

Expanding SAFE PLACES

Fast forward 43 years and YCC remains a steadfast leader in operating SAFE PLACE in Northeast Florida, the only national outreach program for at-risk kids in danger on our streets. There is currently an intense effort to expand the SAFE PLACE program because of the urgency regarding the rapid increase in child sex trafficking and additional risk for homeless LBGTQ youth. “The frightening speed at which sex trafficking is growing in our community has us connecting with current SAFE PLACE locations to make sure they are up-to-date on what it means to be a SAFE PLACE,” said Kim Sirdevan, YCC president and CEO. “We are also expanding our training to ensure we are aware of the signs of youth sex trafficking, as well as how to properly intervene when a youth is being trafficked.” Runaway, homeless, and young people trying to escape sex traffickers, can find immediate help by entering any location displaying a SAFE PLACE sign. The child at risk will be immediately connected to YCC and transported home or to the shelter.

House of Hope

The House of Hope is the next step for YCC to create a safe space for young adults 18-24 years old, who identify as LGBTQ, and are being stigmatized, discriminated against or are the targets of violence. “The YCC House of Hope will be a beacon to young people who have had the crushing experience of alienation from family support,” explained donor Delores Barr Weaver. “We need to embrace them so that they may gain the footing they need to be productive, good citizens in our community.” YCC is supported by a $100,000 fund-matching grant from the Delores Barr Weaver Fund to help launch the new, nine-bed House of Hope emergency homeless shelter.

Transformational Partnerships

Another challenge facing families and displaced children is hunger. In America, 1 in 6 children may not know where they will get their next meal. YCC partnered with Feeding Northeast Florida in 2018 to provide meals for children, families and young adults participating in several programs on its campus.  In 2017, YCC provided more than 22,302 meals just for the children in its Residential Crisis Care program.

By connecting millions of pounds of rescued food to a network of over 160 social service agencies and programs like YCC, City Rescue Mission, Sulzbacher Center and Salvation Army, these hunger-relief partners are able to provide not only food to those in need, but also services that can help these families and individuals end the cycle of poverty. Services might include programs like job training or placement, low-cost childcare, SNAP benefits, medical care, affordable housing and counseling. “As the region’s largest hunger-relief network, we are proud to forge this relationship with the Youth Crisis Center,” said Feeding Northeast Florida president and CEO Frank D. Castillo. “Through strategic partnerships like this one, we are collaboratively helping to transform our community.”

 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationship

Licensed Outpatient Therapist

Job Title:               
Licensed Outpatient Therapist

Reports to: VP – Outpatient Services

Department: Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

Exempt: Yes

Position Overview

The licensed therapist delivers outpatient therapeutic counseling to children, adolescents, young adults and their families to assist in helping clients relieve mental and emotional suffering and assist clients in finding ways to change behaviors. The therapist works with clients on a number of issues such as, anxiety, trauma, mood disturbances, family dynamics, abuse, poor self esteem and many others areas of life that are creating emotional, mental, spiritual and behavioral concerns for them.

The most important knowledge, job responsibilities and qualifications are listed for Licensed Outpatient Therapist.

Knowledge:

Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological or social work research methods; and the assessment and counseling modalities of behavioral and affective disorders.

  • Knowledge of principles, theories, models, methods, and procedures for counseling of physical/mental/emotional/behavioral dysfunctions in the capacity of individual, family, and group therapy.
  • Knowledge of principles and methods for psycho-educational instruction for group counseling and the measurement of training effects.
  • Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins
  • Knowledge of counseling or social work ethics.
  • Have a working knowledge of how trauma impacts people of various developmental stages in the different domains of their lives.

Skills:

  • Strong assessment and interviewing skills
  • Strong documentation skills
  • Minimal supervision required regarding use of time, able to prioritize work assignments
  • Effective organizational skills.

Abilities:

  • Ability to communicate effectively with professionals and clients/families
  • Ability to make sound decisions in emergency situations
  • Good interpersonal skills
  • Active listening skills
  • A “team player”

Essential Duties and Responsibilities include the following for the Licensed Outpatient Therapist:

  • Complete services and documentation within designated time frame as determined by supervisor/agency policy, funding sources, accreditation organizations and best practices.
  • Complete services and documentation completely, accurately, according to requirements determined by supervisor/agency policy, funding sources, accreditation organizations and best practices.
  • Demonstrate a knowledge of diagnostic criteria evidenced by documentation of symptoms presented supporting mental health diagnosis and prescribed treatment.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in the development of treatment plans based on clients presenting symptoms and identified underlying causes with measurable goals and objectives showing the progression towards discharge.
  • Maintains documentation and client files in accordance with program standards as determined by supervisor/agency policy, funding sources, accreditation organizations and best practices.
  • Close cases and files, completing all discharge data entry and documentation requirements completely and in a timely manner set forth by supervisor/agency policy.
  • Maintains an average of 25 billable sessions weekly.
  • Demonstrated organizational and time management skills through timely responses to emails, deadlines and requests, attention to detail in meeting task requirements.
  • Demonstrates critical thinking skills through display of flexibility, creativeness and ingenuity in meeting expectations and facing client and task oriented challenges.
  • Completion of training objectives within established timeframes.
  • Other job duties as required.

Minimum Education and Experience:

Licensed practitioner of the healing arts who is licensed in accordance with the Florida State Laws according to their respective discipline, with a Master’s degree from an accredited college/university recognized by the Florida Department of Education in a major in the field of mental health counseling, social work, marriage and family counseling, or psychology with a minimum of two years of professional experience in providing services to persons with behavioral illness.

  • Must be licensed in the State of Florida.
  • A minimum of two years experience working with children, adolescents, young adults and families.
  • Experience working in a mental health setting.
  • Experience with Medicaid and third party insurance service delivery preferred.
  • Experience providing outpatient mental health services preferred.

Mathematical Skills and Reasoning Ability

Basic and/or advanced computational skills may be necessary.

Physical Demands

This is a sedentary position, and the incumbent will be required to sit approximately 70 per cent of the time.  Little to moderate lifting of less than 25 lbs. may be required.

Work Environment

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is in a work environment. The noise level in the work environment is usually moderate.

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National Runaway Prevention Month

A Teenager Acting Out

Senora Reynolds has a loud, bustling and energetic home with seven children. They range in age from toddlers to teenagers. The older kids help out, the smaller ones have their chores, and everyone has a role to get work done in this big, busy family. However, as Senora’s daughter, Senora Lee, turned 13, she started developing what Senora calls the “middle child syndrome”, which made for a challenging combination. “Over the summer of 2018, when my daughter turned into a teenager, she started acting out,” said Senora. “She was a borderline runaway; she was becoming defiant and didn’t want to come home.”

The Real Dangers for Runaways

Senora was terrified at the thought of her daughter running away and the dangers Senora Lee would face if she ended up on the streets or homeless. In a 2013 study, The Institute of Medicine stated that homelessness is the largest risk factor for the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children (CSEC) and sex trafficking of minors. Additionally, 48 percent of runaway and homeless youth who engaged in a commercial sex activity said they did it because they didn’t have a safe place to stay. During the course of one year, between 1.6-2.8 million youth run away from home.

YCC Provided a Time Out to Cool Off

Fearful that her daughter’s defiance would end up putting her in danger, Senora knew she had to put a stop to Senora Lee’s behavior. One night, when Senora Lee had come home late, they had a heated argument that ended in Senora calling the police. “They took her to the Youth Crisis Center, which was a good thing,” said Senora. “It gave us both time to cool off and make some decisions about how to handle the situation.” During her stay, Senora Lee received residential therapy, followed by outpatient therapy after she returned home. Her time at YCC let her know that no matter how bad she felt her situation was at home, she had a safe place to go for support. Senora says that helped her daughter put her situation in perspective and realize that an over-protective mom was better than a mom who wasn’t involved in her life at all.

Civil Citation Program

Senora says she is also grateful that the police took her daughter to YCC instead of a lock-down juvenile detention facility. YCC participates in the state’s Civil Citation program, which allows juveniles to stay at YCC and receive therapy services, instead of a having a criminal record.

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

As a result of the services her daughter received, Senora has decided to utilize the outpatient therapy services YCC offers for families. She credits the therapists for making her feel comfortable about taking the entire family for therapy because they kept the lines of communication open even after Senora Lee returned home. Senora admitted a seven-child family can be stressful at times, so developing problem-solving skills and coping tools would be to the benefit of everyone. Senora Lee is about to turn 14, and her mom says things are a lot better because the family knows they have YCC to turn to if things get too tough to handle on their own.

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Navigating Relationships After a Cancer Diagnosis

Cancer is a very scary word, and when one person in the family has been diagnosed, it can feel like the entire family is facing the disease. When Robert* was first diagnosed in February 2009 with bone marrow cancer, his whole life came to a standstill. “I went from working 40+ hours each week and participating in extracurricular activities in my free time to not working at all and being bed-bound due to the horrific side effects from my treatments,” recalls Robert. “I had planned out my whole life, down to my retirement, but never thought to include a diagnosis and plan for cancer.”

Following any diagnosis, the next few months can be a whirlwind of medical treatments, hospitalizations, tests and side effects, which are often followed by feelings of depression, anger, anxiety and fear. “Those emotional responses to life-altering medical diagnoses are normal,” explains Youth Crisis Center’s Director of Program Services, Cecelia Stalnaker-Cauwenberghs, LMHC. “It’s important to develop a support system, not just for the patient, but for the entire family.”

For those facing a life-threatening illness, The American Cancer Society finds some of the most common emotional and physiological issues for their family members are:

  • Family and social isolation and/or conflict
  • Concern about the quality of life
  • Problems adjusting to illness or changes in care
  • Making decisions for future medical care (advance directives)
  • Grief

Robert says it was hard for him to reach out to family and friends because he was exhausted from his illness and the treatments. He didn’t have the energy and didn’t want them to see him looking physically ill. That can be very challenging for family and friends who want to help, but don’t know what to do when the person who is ill is pushing them away. “It’s beneficial for family members to be in therapy so they can also express their emotions/feelings and can work through them to find the best adjustments in the new situation,” advises Stalnaker-Cauwenberghs, LMHC. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all approach when you are going through something so personal. Everyone will react differently, but at the end of the day, we need to get everyone through this difficult time in as healthy a way as possible.”

A therapist can offer families the opportunity to share their feelings of loss, grief, sadness or fear in a safe and supportive environment. They can also provide referrals to resources in the community that assist with finances, transportation and caregiver respite. YCC identifies three top tips for emotional and mental stability when facing illness as a family:

  • Have the family participate in family counseling to help process the diagnosis. Work with a professional to develop an individualized plan for family needs.
  • Build a schedule and rotate caregiving shifts to help prevent burnout and minimize stress.
  • Don’t isolate yourself – this goes for the patient and the family members.

Robert says turning to friends and family for support did help him through this tough time. He also re-focused his fears to more productive avenues, like learning how to eat healthier and educating himself on what he could do to be an active participant in his healing and recovery process. He says he found a new respect for life’s preciousness and suggests considering the financial implications of these types of unexpected life experiences when making long term plans for yourself and your family.

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Jax Journal Spotlights YCC

On October 27th Danielle Leigh from Jax Journal sat down with President and CEO Kim Sirdevan from the Youth Crisis Center. Take a listen as they discuss everything from crisis services offered by YCC to upcoming projects and how you can get involved. 

Founded in 1974 as Florida’s first runaway program, Youth Crisis Center has grown to one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. YCC’s emphasis on care is for those  who have been exposed to traumatic situations such as divorce, homelessness, relocation, loss of life, and abuse. YCC provides a variety of services for children, adolescents, young adults, and families.

 

The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Bullying

Could That Bully Actually Be a Victim of Domestic Violence?

As we mark Domestic Violence Awareness Month, along with Bullying Prevention Month, it’s the perfect time to examine the connection between domestic violence and bullying. Studies show that children exposed to violence at home tend to participate in higher levels of physical bullying than young people who were not witnesses to violent behavior.

Domestic Violence Can Influence Child Bullies

Researchers from the University of Washington and Indiana University were among the first in the country to focus their study on the association between children who witnessed their parents or caregivers behaving violently towards each other and that child’s likelihood to bully other kids. It also drilled down to look at the type of violence the child witnessed as compared to the tactics the child used while bullying others. For example, if a child witnessed hitting and pushing at home, did they, in turn, hit and push others?

Overall, the study found that 34 percent of the children studied engaged in bullying, and 73 percent reported being the victim of some form of bullying in the previous year. Sadly, most of the bullies – a whopping 97 percent – said they themselves had been victims of bullying. The study concluded that children learn behaviors from their biggest influencers, which, in the majority of cases, are their caregivers or parents.

Civil Citation Program

For youth that are the perpetrators in a domestic violence incident, the Department of Juvenile Justice Civil Citation program may be an option, depending on the severity of the case. This allows juveniles to stay at YCC’s Residential Crisis Care program and receive counseling services instead of going to a lock-down facility and having a criminal record. 

Adolescent Domestic Batterers Typology Tool

One tool YCC uses to gather more information about youth who batter their family members is the Adolescent Domestic Batterers Typology Tool (ADBTT). ADBTT helps provide a framework for developing appropriate goal/treatment plans and utilize appropriate treatment options based on the youth’s risk of future domestic violence incidents.  

Trauma Continues to Grow                                                                                                

The emotional and psychological injuries from domestic violence and bullying can have longer impacts than physical wounds. Ron Bertie, outpatient therapist at the Youth Crisis Center in Jacksonville, said he is seeing an increasing number of adult clients who have never addressed the childhood trauma they experienced from violence or bullying. “At YCC, we don’t just treat the child, we treat the entire family in order to address their relationship issues, emotional scars, or trauma from growing up,” explains Bertie. “When adults have families and children, it can bring up emotional wounds that haven’t healed and are now resurfacing and negatively impacting their current family unit.”

It’s important to seek help if you or a family member is struggling with the impact of violence or bullying. The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program serves children ages 3 and up, including family members of any age. It provides counseling for a myriad of behavioral and mental health concerns through individual, family, group and couples counseling.

Outpatient Behavioral Health 

The program’s licensed mental health therapists and board-certified psychiatrists provide care for a variety of concerns, such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, behavioral issues and trauma. Individual, family and group therapy, psychiatric evaluations and medication management are provided onsite.

Warning signs of teenagers living with domestic abuse:

  • Poor grades, failing in school
  • Running away
  • Inability to express feelings
  • Property destruction
  • Violent outbursts

Warning signs of bullying:

  • Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Declining grades, loss interest of schoolwork
  • Self-destructive behaviors (e.g., hurting themselves, running away from home, talking about suicide)
  • Decreased self-esteem

Being aware of the symptoms and the developmental impact is a step toward advocacy and advancement in the treatment of children exposed to violence or bullying. If you recognize these symptoms, reach out to a mental health professional, a school counselor or someone in authority who can assist with addressing the problem. It’s time to stop the cycle of abuse for the health of everyone – at school, at home and at work.

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client. Click to learn more about 5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

The Jim Moran Foundation Funds Critical Visual Arts Program for Youth