3 things you can do now to get more involved in your child’s life

Have you ever wondered how you can get more involved in your child’s life? Perhaps you may have wondered if parental involvement is important for children?

No matter what your reason is, Family Link Therapist Sidney Vernon, MSW, has listed a few suggestions below on how you can become more involved in your child’s life. 

How to get more involved in your child’s life:

1. Create routines.

Routines help children to feel safe and provide structure to their lives. To get more involved in your child’s life, consider making new family routines. Some examples include: try to have a family dinner at least three times a week, start a weekly family game night, have a monthly family movie night, or have a family outing

2. Do a daily “check-in.”

To be more involved in your child’s life, try to build a routine of doing a daily “check-in” with your child. Come up with questions to ask your child during your daily check-in time like what was your favorite part of your day, how did you feel today, etc. Some good times to complete a daily check-in are in the car on the way home from school, on the walk home from the bus stop, bedtime, or any other time of day that you are and your child are typically already together.

3. Communication is key!

Communicating with your child is a great way for you to be more involved in their life. Depending on the age of the child, communication looks very different. Young children communicate through play and behaviors. Older children can communicate more through having conversations. If your older child does not feel comfortable talking, you can try writing letters back and forth.

Why to be more involved in your child’s life/ Some benefits may include:

  • Improved attachment / relationship
  • Builds trust
  • Increases your child’s self-esteem
  • Increases your child’s self-confidence
  • May decrease your child’s bad behaviors
  • May increase your child’s school performance

YCC’s Family Link Program

The Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Touchstone Village Holiday Wishlist

20-year-old male

  • Gift Card
  • Winter Jacket size Large
  • Shaving Set
  • Twin Size comforter set
  • Anything else you can think of

19-year-old female 

  • Bath & Body Works Body Spray
  • Basketball
  • Black Winter Jacket size X or XL
  • Black Crocs

19-year-old female 

  • Sweater (size S-M)
  • Big Headphones
  • Twin Size Comforter Set
  • Makeup Kit
  • Jewelry
  • Fuzzy boots (size 7)
  • Blazers for Work (size Medium)

20-year-old female

  • Winter Jacket (small)
  • Gift Card
  • Cozy Slippers/Socks (medium)
  • Nail kit
  • Makeup set

19-year-old female

  • Weights – dumb bells
  • Skin Care Products (The ordinary)
  • Winter Jacket (size medium)
  • Gift Card 

19-year-old Female

  • Acrylic Nail Kit Set, portable electric drill
  • Acrylic Artificial Nails
  • Nail training practice hand
  • Poly Gel Kit
  • Gift Card
  • Blazers for work (size medium or small) 

19-year-old Female

  • Weight Scale
  • Tennis Shoes (size 6.5)
  • Body Wash
  • Jeans (size 3)
  • Casual Shirts (size small)

20-year-old female

  • Soul Food Cookbook
  • Gift Card
  • JBL Bluetooth speakers
  • Beats earbuds
  • Cooking set

18-year-old male

  • Shaving Kit
  • Gift Card
  • Clothes (XL shirts or jackets)
  • Socks (large)
  • Watch

The importance of therapy

What is therapy and can it really help people? 

Therapy is designed to assist someone who may be dealing with life stressors that can affect their outlook on life. You can see a mental health profession for a multitude of problems such as anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), trauma, low self-esteem, anger, grief/loss just to name a few. Therapy allows you to talk openly with an unbiased mental health profession. As a mental health profession, we assist our clients in uncovering strengths about themselves and to help them learn new skills in life so they can deal with situations that may impact their life. Therapy not only helps you to deal with what is going on internally but it can boost your physical health as well.

Can therapy be for one person or can the whole family participate? 

Therapy is designed for the individual and their family. Individual therapy is one-on-one and it tackles your needs as a person so that you can handle any obstacles that you may face daily. Family therapy allows for family members to come together and work on any conflict and lack of communication there is amongst one another. At Youth Crisis Center we not only provide individual therapy but strive to have family therapy as well to help address specific issues or concerns they may have.

Is therapy only for someone who is mentally ill? Can therapy tackle more than one issue?

Therapy is not just for people who have been diagnosed with a mental illness. Everyone needs a positive support system in their life and by talking to a mental health professional regardless of if you have a mental illness or not, it can give you a new perspective on how to deal with certain situations in your life. Therapy can tackle as many issues as you would like to work on. At Youth Crisis Center, our treatment plans are personalized to meet the needs of our patients and there are times where they have more than one issue they would like to work on.


YCC’s Family Link Program 

The Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns, and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 720-0007.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Fight 2 Flourish

Date: Saturday, May 15, 2021

Time: 8:00 AM

Location: CrossFit Salt de Terre  2385 Corbett Street, Building 2
Jacksonville, FL 32205 

CrossFit Salt de Terre and The Youth Crisis Center invite adults and teens to compete together, at our first-ever Fight to Flourish event, raising funds and awareness for Teen Suicide. 

This event is inspired by the passing of a fellow CrossFitter, Cora Schryver of Ojai, CA who took her life at age 13. Cora loved animals, the outdoors, and CrossFit. In her gym, she was known for “pushing people past their comfort zones,” always giving it her all, and for wearing only Converse sneakers when working out. 

Through this partner style competition, our aim is to honor and remember the teens, families, and loved ones, like Cora’s, affected by teen suicide.


$2,500 -Title Sponsor

  • Company name/logo prominently displayed on all Fight to Flourish advertising, signage and all event materials
  • Large company name/logo on the participant t-shirts
  • Recognition at the event as the Title Sponsor during the award ceremony
  • 10’ by 10’ Vendor Booth
  • 2 team entry included
  • 10 Fight to Flourish Swag Bags

$1,000 – Premier Sponsor

  • Company name/logo on the participants t-shirts
  • Signage at the event
  • 10’ by 10’ Vendor Booth
  • 1 team entry included
  • 5 Fight to Flourish Swag Bags

$500 – Event Sponsor

  • Company name listed on the shirts
  • Signage at the specific workout
  • Recognition on Social Media
  • 3 Flight to Flourish Swag Bags

$250 – F2F Friend Sponsor

  • Company Name listed on the shirts
  • Recognition on Social Media
  • Fight to Flourish Swag Bag

$75 – Patron Sponsor

  • Recognition on Social Media


I Want to Know More

What is Mental Health and does everybody have it?

Mental health is the well-being of an individual’s mental, emotional, and/or physical functioning. Mental health is something that all individuals have whether they are aware of it or not. When something has an impact on our mental health we may refer to it as mental illness. Although there are myths about mental health/illnesses and how it impacts individuals it is very similar to any other illness and should be treated as such. For example, imagine having migraines that interfere with how you can interact with your friends/ family, perform job responsibilities at work, or even do things you love like going for a run. Most of us will seek a doctor to learn the cause of the migraine and how we can at least decrease or eliminate migraines due to its impact on our lives. Having migraines doesn’t mean something is wrong, but further warrants attention by a professional. In the same concept, mental health warrants us to take a look into what is impacting us mentally, emotionally, or physically, and what we can do to make it better.

Sometimes mental health and mental illness are used interchangeably. This should not be the case. According to the CDC, mental illnesses are conditions that affect a person’s thinking, feeling, mood, or behavior. Those conditions have a handful of different names like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia. The CDC says such conditions may be occasional or long-lasting and affect someone’s ability to relate to others and function each day.

The CDC says while the terms are often used interchangeably, poor mental health and mental illness are not the same things. For example, a young woman can experience poor mental health and not be diagnosed with a mental illness. However, a teen boy could be diagnosed with a mental illness and experience a period of physical, mental, and social well-being.

How can someone take care of their mental health? What does care look like?

Lead Family Link Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center, Jazmin Jerome says ensuring mental health can look different for many people. Self- Care and implementing healthy coping mechanisms can provide individuals with a source of strengthening their mental health and overcoming challenges faced in.

  • Healthy eating
  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Medication
  • Talking with a mental health professional
  • Doing puzzles
  • Exercising 
  • Spending time with family/friends

 When someone struggles with mental health or does not know where to start when it comes to taking care of it, what should they do?

For someone unaware of where to start when it comes to taking care of their mental health it would first be beneficial to think about/recognize any changes in behaviors, moods, and interests. Jerome, who is also a Registered Clinical Social Work Intern suggests talking to someone about these concerns is the first step to getting help from a professional. Although you may not want to talk to a mental health professional at first, being able to talk to a trusted individual and expressing your concerns will allow others to help you as well. 

Easy Mental Health Tips:

Some of Jerome’s favorite mental health tips include:

  • Spending time with loved ones, surrounding yourself with good company and people who have your best interest 
  • Journaling, even if not physically writing in a journal but at least having a trusted individual that can act as your “human journal” who you can talk to and truly express yourself with
  • Finding a new hobby or continuing with a current hobby, being able to identify things that make you, you that brings you peace is very important when it comes to ensuring positive mental health.

About the Youth Crisis Center

Founded in 1974 as Florida’s first runaway program, the Youth Crisis Center emphasis on care is for those who have been exposed to traumatic situations such as divorce, homelessness, relocation, bullying, loss of life, and abuse. This past year, the Youth Crisis Center served a total of 2,467 children, teens, young adults, and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC.  YCC provides a variety of services such as short-term residential crisis care, outpatient therapy, skills-based groups for children and their parents, and transitional living programming for young adults.


Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

The world through our children’s eyes during COVID-19

This will be a six-week online program for children between the ages of 6 and 10. Youth Crisis Center Family Link Therapist Clarissa Benitez, MSW will conduct this free online group through BlueJeans.

Space is limited please call 904-575-1324 by May 11th, 2020 to learn more and reserve a spot for your child.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

What do I do with a child dealing with depression?

Depression and what does it look like for me and my child? We as adults think we understand what depression looks like, we sleep a lot, maybe we eat too much ice cream, we wear black, and listen to sad music. We write sad poetry and comment on the unfair nature of life? What does it look like with our children should be the real question? Honestly with all the physical, social, and emotional changes happening with our children each day depression and anxiety for a child are so difficult to differentiate. Before with children, we would chalk it up to growing pains, or a phase of life for which children will grow out of. The real truth is, it is one of the most difficult times in American history to be a child.


If you looked up Depression in the Webster Dictionary you will get a definition of:

1.        Feelings of severe despondency and dejection

When I first looked at this definition, I note with the question “What is severe?” With many kids’ emotions and the many fluid changes happening in a kid’s life, everything seems severe. Some may wonder if it could be so severe that it will end in drug addiction, criminal behavior, or suicide. The fact is what is severe with one child, may not be severe for another. We cannot assume that because we as parents can deal with something our child will be okay. A break up of a relationship or a failing grade may not lead to an extreme action of self-inflicted pain or suicide. This may not be the case for other kids, as an event like this may lead to the decision to harm themselves or others. As a parent, it is important to an error on the side of caution and you should speak to a professional. You may know your child, but if they are dealing with depression or anxiety, they may not want to share that with a family member or a loved one. In some cases, kids may find it easier to open up to someone who is not related to them.  



What is part of growing up and what is a mental health condition?

“In 2017, 13% of U.S. teens ages 12 to 17 (or 3.2 million) said they had experienced at least one major depressive episode in the past year, up from 8% (or 2 million) in 2007, the total number of teenagers who recently experienced depression increased 59% between 2007 and 2017. The rate of growth was faster for teen girls (66%) than for boys (44%). 7-in-10 U.S. teens said anxiety and depression is a major problem among people their age in the community where they live, according to a Pew Research Center survey of teenagers ages 13 to 17 conducted in fall 2018. An additional 26% cited anxiety and depression as a minor problem. An article in Johns Hopkins Health Review explains adolescent depression is a relatively new diagnosis. Until the 1980s, mental health professionals were reluctant to diagnose youth with a mood disorder in part because the adolescent brain is still developing and they thought it would not be appropriate to diagnose someone so young with depression. Also, professionals believed that teen moodiness was perfectly normal during what is often referred to as the “turbulent years.” According to a Pew Research Center analysis of data from the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (Pew Research Center). 


   Kids today deal with more than any other child in the modern age, from social media overstimulation, increased standards for success earlier in life, limited avenues for success, disjointed family structures, and divisive social interactions.  


Children deal with : 

Uncertain time

Today’s youth are living through world Pandemics, Terrorism, School shootings, increased levels of suicide, drug use to include drug overdoses, and increased teenage gang involvement. We live in a world where our news is on a 24/7 cycle. There is always something breaking in one country. Kids today know and can access more information both positive and negative than any other generation in the past. 


Lack of sleep:  

Electronics increased requirements in school, and limited avenues of success for youth in school (no music, art, or vocational arts). We all have our distractions, but kids these seem to be caught with their video games, social media apps, and streaming services that some may spend less time working or socializing in person.  


Lack of Family and Community: 

A new Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories shows that the U.S. has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households. While U.S. children are more likely than children elsewhere to live in single-parent households, they’re much less likely to live in extended families. In the U.S., 8% of children live with relatives such as aunts and grandparents, compared with 38% of children globally. According to the New York Times In 1962 African American Homes single parent, were 30% and in 2017 reported 82%. Caucasian homes in the same statistic went from 5% to 55%. Today 28% of families report having both parents in the home and never married. We have no real definition of family. Community interaction is limited at best to non-existent, and schools due to security threats look more like prisons than places of youth education. With mass shootings at public events, and security needs around the world people have been isolating from 9-11, and now with the world in lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, this issue will be intensified. 


     So as a parent what should you look for with a child dealing with depression?

The following symptoms for childhood depression are: 

  • Irritability or anger
  • Continuous feelings of sadness and hopelessness
  • Social withdrawal
  • Increased sensitivity to rejection
  • Changes in appetite — either increased or decreased
  • Changes in sleep — sleeplessness or excessive sleep
  • Vocal outbursts or crying
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue and low energy
  • Physical complaints (such as stomachaches, headaches) that don’t respond to treatment
  • Reduced ability to function during events and activities at home or with friends, in school, extracurricular activities, and in other hobbies or interests
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Impaired thinking or concentration
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

If my kids have some or most of these symptoms what do I do?

     Get help from a professional. 


With resources in the palm of your hand, there is no excuse to get help. In every city and state, there are resources out there to help you and your family. With tragedies like school shootings Parkland Florida, and Columbine High School, Columbine, CO has come a better understanding of Mental health, depression, bullying, school pressure and the need for professional aid. You don’t need to be ashamed, you’re not alone. If you don’t have money there are services for free to aid children. 



It is proven that exercise creates the brain chemical known as Dopamine which is directly responsible for happiness. Get your child out of the house and running around. Take your child to parks, playgrounds, and other places for safe fun athletic involvement. Enroll your child in organized group activities they are good at and encourages social interaction. 


Eat healthier: 

This means less fast food and more home-cooked meals, more greens, beans, nuts, and rich health proteins. What we put in our bodies directly reacts and relates to our mood. If you eat healthier, then you allow the body and the brain to run more efficiently. With the creation of the T.V. dinner in the 1970s, we stopped family dinners and moved from the dinner table to the drive-thru. With more meals, you will see a better mood, better school performance, and less depression. 


Get more sleep: 

Children require a minimum of 6 hours of sleep and recommended 8 hours of sleep. This allows time for the brain to enter REM mode which allows the brain to reset chemically. It was believed the brain shut down during sleep, but with technological advances, we have come to learn the brain becomes hyperactive as it processes and resets the brain to optimal working standards. When you do not get enough sleep your brain fails to have this opportunity and works less efficient which leads to anxiety and depression.


Be involved with your child: 

Be involved in your children’s lives. It’s not enough to provide their needs, and wants, but to be involved in their lives. Teens begin the “War for Independence” when they enter the “turbulent years,” which makes connections difficult, but it is still very important for them to know that you are there for them. Children develop life skills from school, the social interaction from friends, and self-esteem from both Parents. It is not enough to take care of them, you need to be there for them.


Limit media intake: 


There is nothing wrong with limiting negative information and access to free streams of information. No matter how intelligent your child is, or believed capable or interested in social media it is important for limits to social media, news, video games, and other technology. Youth are still dealing with all the same scholastic, social, romantic, and parental demands we dealt with, but now they are connected and plugged in 24/7. As parents, it’s important to limit online connectedness for real-life family interaction. 


Finally, if you suspect Suicide?

  1. Ask your loved one if they are suicidal or plan to harm themselves. They may answer “no” and you may still need to take them to the hospital for help, but the fact you asked the question may be enough to draw attention to the situation for the youth.
  2. Call the Police. In Florida, we have what’s called the Baker Act named after the originator Maxine Baker. This law was created for those wishing to harm or suicide themselves could be taken, assessed and receive treatment. 
  3. If you know someone that is planning on killing themselves then please call (866) 441-8725 in the state of Florida. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-8255 or call 911 and speak to the local police. 

Youth Crisis Center’s Family Link Program

YCC’s Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term, outpatient counseling services to families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing concerns that could disrupt the health and stability of the family. These services are available at no cost to residents of Baker, Clay, Duval, St. Johns and Nassau counties through appointments at the child’s school or other community locations. Click to learn more about Family Link and the 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential. To learn more about services, please call (904) 725-6662.

Download our FREE ebook!

5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family

An update from YCC in response to COVID-19

With the recent updates from our government regarding COVID-19, and in order to ensure staff and clients are as safe as possible, Youth Crisis Center is making some changes to our provision of services.

  • As of March 19th, the residential crisis care program has temporarily suspended all operations and is not admitting any youth at this time.
  • The 24-hour crisis hotline continues to be active.
  • As of March 23rd, all therapists, case managers, and SNAP (Stop Now and Plan) employees will be providing telephonic sessions and follow up contacts remotely. YCC continues to accept new clients for therapy and case management.
  • All administrative staff are working remotely to ensure safe measures are in place.
  • All administrative staff are working remotely to ensure safe measures are in place.
  • On May 1st, our Residential Crisis Care program re-opened on a limited basis.
  • Our staff has returned to work and we are following new safety measures.
  • We are working on welcoming our clients back into our office and will update as more information becomes available.
  • For the time being, we are offering virtual services for our current and new clients.

YCC will continue to monitor the situation closely and will provide updates as they become available to us. YCC remains committed to serving our community and we will adjust our provision of services as we are able to safely do so. Please feel free to reach out to our staff with any questions or guidance needed.

You can stay up to date by checking our website: youthcrisiscenter.org.

Our crisis hotline is 904-725-6662.

Social distancing does not mean emotional distancing. Please ensure that you stay connected with family and friends as a means to ensure emotional well-being.

For information on COVID-19 from the CDC, please click here.

CDC: Wash hands, stay home if sick to avoid COVID-19

YCC wants everyone to remain safe and healthy! In the wake of COVID-19, please review this information from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention about this virus.


Symptoms: Symptoms of the virus become noticeable between 2-14 days after exposure and range from mild to severe. These symptoms are fever, cough, and shortness of breath.


Prevention: There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease in 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, the CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask. 
    • CDC does not recommend that people who are well to wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19.
    • Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of face masks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. 
    • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.