Is My Child Just Experiencing The Holiday Blues Or Is It Something More?

Throughout childhood and adolescence, it’s normal for your child to experience a wide range of emotions. However, if the negative feelings last longer than a normal “bad mood” and begin to impact your child’s ability to function normally, they could be experiencing depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1.9 million children ages 3-17 years old have been diagnosed with depression. Having additional disorders is most common in children with depression; about 3 in 4 children diagnosed with depression also have anxiety.

Holiday Blues

Just like adults, children can also exhibit signs of stress or depression around the holidays. On one hand, children are like sponges and it could just be them absorbing the stress and anxiety from those around them. On the other hand, however, some children are directly affected by the holiday stressors themselves. Here are common stressors many children face around the holidays:

  • The child may feel anxious about attending a different daycare or childcare during the holiday break because it’s different from their normal routine.
  • If parents are unable to afford presents this year, the child may feel sad and experience social anxiety when they go back to school and the other kids are showing off their new toys and clothes.
  • The child could be deeply affected by the loss of a loved one earlier in the year, and this may be their first holiday without them.
  • If they don’t typically see their extended family, they may feel anxious about socializing with people they don’t know or don’t get along with.

5 Warning Signs For Childhood Depression

Mental disorders in children can have a significant impact on the way they learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which causes distress and a multitude of problems they have to deal with regularly. Sometimes it can be difficult for parents to determine if their child’s behaviors or emotions are just a regular part of growing up or if it’s something more.

Here are 5 distinct warning signs that could indicate depression:

  • Isolation or withdrawal from family and friends
  • Lack of interest or motivation with school, sports, or other activities
  • Irritable behavior or everchanging moods (extreme highs to extreme lows)
  • Low self-esteem or feelings of hopelessness (thoughts of suicide in extreme situations)
  • Constant fatigue, aches, or sick feeling

Let Them Know They Are Not Alone

Whether your child is open about their feelings to you or more closed off, it’s important to know they are not alone in experiencing these emotions. Baltimore Ravens tight end Hayden Hurst has been open about the anxiety and depression he’s faced throughout his adolescence into early adulthood and recently visited the Youth Crisis Center to share his story with the children there to let them know they are not alone. Hurst was a phenomenal baseball player, but one day, he began experiencing the “yips” a condition that would cause hands to sweat and tremor uncontrollably, and he lost the ability to pitch due to his depression and anxiety. Hurst received the help he needed and found a new passion for football and was later drafted into the NFL.

“I still battle with depression and anxiety today. It’s part of the makeup of who I am,” said Hurst. “I want to tell my story. I want it to be out there. I don’t care if it makes me vulnerable. I want people to be able to relate to it so they can change the course of their life.”

How You Can Help

If you think your child or family could benefit from speaking with a counselor, the Youth Crisis Center provides short term crisis care, mental health counseling, skills-based group training, and transitional living services program for children, teens, young adults, and their families in need. To learn more about the programs we offer, click here or call (904) 725-6662.

If you would like to get involved, join us on February 24th for the first Hayden Hurst Family Foundation Golf Tournament benefitting the Youth Crisis Center. Click here to learn more.  

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SNAP Group Facilitator (Part-Time for St. Johns County)

Job Title:         SNAP (Stop Now And Plan) Group Facilitator (PT for St. Johns County)

Reports to:      SNAP Supervisor

Department:    SNAP Program

Exempt:           No

Position Overview                                                                              

SNAP (STOP NOW AND PLAN) Group Facilitator reports to the SNAP Program Coordinator and is a part time hourly position. The SNAP Group Facilitator is a position which focuses on early intervention program for boys, ages 6 – 11, who are engaging in aggressive, anti-social behavior and have come into contact with police. This is a highly visible position with the children and their families and helps with the day-to-day aspects of the SNAP Program. Provides administrative support for the SNAP Program Coordinator and SNAP Specialist.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The most important knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs) are listed for SNAP Group Facilitator:


  • Knowledge of SNAP Program Policies, Procedures and Performance Standards
  • Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; and social and psychological norms.
  • Knowledge of group dynamics and how to manage
  • Knowledge of data collection methods for evaluating program effectiveness.


  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written
  • Critical thinking and problem solving skills
  • Highly organized and the ability to multi-task
  • Detail oriented and strong documentation skills.
  • Computer skills a must.


  • Effective verbal and written communication skills
  • Clearly communicate expectations
  • Ability to work with a diverse group of individuals in difficult situations.
  • Ability to remain calm in stressful situations.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to work as a team.
  • Positive, upbeat personality, with the ability to promote SNAP to community partners.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

Occupation specific tasks and the most important generalized work activities are listed for SNAP Group Facilitator

  • Assists with coordinating the start-up of the SNAP Program, which includes the implementation of policies, procedures and performance standards for the Program.
  • Provides support to staff responsible for intakes, case management, and therapeutic work with youth and families, including client related case management decisions, treatment planning and therapeutic interventions, as needed.
  • Administers Assessments, Screenings and Measures required by the SNAP curriculum
  • Monitor program curriculum for training delivery and effectiveness.
  • Assists to ensure compliance with Florida Network contract requirements.
  • Ensures accurate and timely completion of all documentation for programmatic, administrative, compliance and fiscal responsibility.
  • Participate in community activities in order to promote SNAP Program and to build collaboration with community partners.
  • Facilitate groups for the participants of the SNAP program, utilizing the evidenced based SNAP curriculum.
  • Meet with individual and family participants outside the group environment for either 1;1 or family support, as needed.
  • Participate in regularly scheduled Management Team meetings, staff meetings, Treatment Team meetings, and Admission Team meetings.
  • Attend required training as determined by the SNAP Program contract.
  • Responsible for completion of training objectives within the established timeframe.
  • All other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience

A high school degree. A minimum of 2 years of experience in one or more of the following areas: social services, juvenile justice, grants and contracts administration, program management or administration, or program monitoring.

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Teens On The Run – How To Spot Runaway Risks and How To Prevent Them

Every year, between 1.6 and 2.8 million youth run away, according to the National Runaway Safeline. There is a multitude of reasons why youth run away, whether they feel unsafe in their home, are in a constant battle with their family, feel shunned due to their sexual orientation, are experiencing mental health issues, or have a history of truancy or residential instability. 


5 Indicators Your Child Could Run Away


Parents know that as their children grow older, they will attempt to assert their independence, but some may struggle with finding that freedom more than others. Their child could act out in extreme ways, such as abusing drugs or alcohol, committing crimes, skipping school, and running away from home. 


A decision to run away can be triggered by several factors, so parents need to pay close attention to changes in their child’s behavior and be on the lookout for some key indicators that their child is thinking about running away:


  • Threatening or talking about running away
  • Changes in their usual mood or behavior (withdrawing from family and friends, becoming extremely irritable, or engaging in self-harm) 
  • Increase in rule-breaking or reckless behavior (coming home late or not at all, drug abuse, truancy, stealing)
  • Developing new relationships outside their typical network, including high-risk peer groups and gangs, that cause them to act out
  • Saving their money for no apparent reason or keeping their belongings packed away


Prevention Begins With The Family


Most children run away due to problems with their families. The child may leave home because of a heated argument or abuse, they did something they’re ashamed of and are afraid to tell their parents, or maybe they don’t want to adhere to their parents’ rules anymore. However, there are also other, more emotional reasons, that cause a child to run away, such as feeling neglected because of a newborn sibling, death in the family, or a family financial crisis. 


Children who are thinking about running away may also not have adequate problem-solving skills or the right adults in their life to help them work through the issue. The child may feel that running away is the only choice to get away from or solve their problem. Whatever the problem may be, it’s important for parents to make sure their child knows there are other ways to deal with their problems besides running away. 


“Families who fear that their teen has run away, or is planning to run away, should reach out for help,” stresses Youth Crisis Center’ mental health counselor Lonnie Erskine. “If you fear your child is thinking of running away, reach out to them and talk to them. Give your child comfort, time to be angry, allow them their space to find some quiet time, listen to music so they can center themselves. Remember communication is the first key, followed by compassion and love.”


YCC Family Link Program 

The Youth Crisis Center was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth 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. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 


One program, in particular, YCC’s Family Link, 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, leading the child to run away. 


“Providing intervention and prevention are the keys to success for families and youth in the community,” explains Erskine. “I have had the opportunity to help youth in our community that has run away, or thought of running away, face their fear of anger, depression, and anxiety of school, and become better equipped with coping skills and strategies to face issues head-on.” 


To learn more about Family Link services, click here or call (904) 725-6662. All Family Link counseling sessions are confidential.



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Clay County School Therapist

Job Title:         Clay County School Therapist

Reports to:      CINS/FINS Program Manager

Department:    CINS/FINS

Exempt:           No

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.  The therapist will provide services directly onsite at Clay High School and Green Cove Springs Junior High School.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

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


  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 needs assessment and goal plan through interview, observation, client and guardian input completely and within designated time frame as determined by supervisor/agency policy.
  • Enter all data entry input and submit all data entry instruments to the quality improvement department completely, accurately and within the designated time frames.
  • Prepare, maintain and document all instruments of the client file in a timely manner, completely, according to clinical and documentation requirements set forth by supervisor/agency policy.
  • Close cases and files, completing all discharge data entry and documentation requirements completely and in a timely manner set forth by supervisor/agency policy.
  • Demonstrated effectiveness in managing client length of service through- evaluate need, establish goals with measurable objectives and provide services showing resolve of identified problems.
  • Perform outreach efforts demonstrated through production of referrals and/or professional contacts for supervisor follow up.
  • Opens defined case load amount each month.
  • 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.
  • A positive and professional workplace manner demonstrated through excellent customer service with clients, all workplace colleagues and community.
  • Responsible for completion of training objectives within established timeframes.
  • Attend work related meetings as required.
  • All other duties assigned.

Education and Experience

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 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 Florida 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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Collaboration Supporting the LGBTQ+ Community

In a national study on youth homelessness, it was discovered that LGBTQ+ youth are 120% more likely to become homeless than their heterosexual peers. The prejudice and bigotry that many LGBTQ+ youth face can come from their family, friends or people in their community. The rejection that they receive can lead them to develop anxiety, fall into depression, and – as the statistics show – end up on the streets. All across the country, youth who identify as LGBTQ+ are being stigmatized, discriminated against, and targeted for violent acts every day.  

60% of Homeless Youth in Jacksonville Identify as LGBTQ+

Youth that identify as LGBTQ+ make up 40% of the population of homeless youth in the United States. However, Jacksonville’s rate is higher than the national average, at 60%. A national assessment found that LGBTQ+ youth face greater hardships when they are homeless compared to non-LGBTQ+ youth. They experience higher rates of assault, trauma, the exchange of sex for basic needs, and early death. The rate of early death for LGBTQ+ youth is twice the rate of death for other youth. In some cases LGBTQ+ youth avoid shelters altogether, either because of the limited space or because of their gender identity, which shelters use to regulate the separation of accommodations.

Youth Crisis Center Provides a Beacon of Hope for Homeless LGBTQ+ Youth

The Youth Crisis Center, in collaboration with JASMYN and Changing Homelessness, is working to give LGBTQ+ youth of Jacksonville a safe place to help with their transition into the world. The House of Hope is an emergency homeless shelter specifically for LGBTQ+ youth ages 18-24 who are being stigmatized, discriminated against or are targets of violence. Through a generous gift of $100,000 from The Chartrand Family Fund, YCC is able to begin restorations to its former residential shelter.

Additionally, community supporters raised another $95,500, which was matched by the Delores Barr Weaver Fund matching grant challenge for a total of $191,000. These funds will go toward the first year operational budget of $243,200. We invite you to contribute to help close the gap on the last $52,200 needed to open the House of Hope! This desperately needed emergency LGBTQ+ homeless shelter is set to open this year.

“The YCC House of Hope will be a beacon to young people who have had the crushing experience of alienation from family support,” explained 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.”

The House of Hope Will Transform Lives

YCC’s House of Hope will be the first LGBTQ+-specific emergency homeless shelter for youth in the Jacksonville area. The shelter will include nine bedrooms, a full kitchen, dining hall, private counseling room, life skills training space, sanctuary garden, and communal gathering spaces. Opportunities are now available to adopt a room in the House of Hope. During their stay, staff will help the youth focus on life skills training, mental health counseling, receiving access to medical care, a connection for stable housing, academic monitoring and support, and career development training.

“The collaboration between these three organizations has the potential to leverage and sustain a broad range of solutions that help homeless youth find stable housing and LGBTQ+-responsive services,” said JASMYN executive director Cindy Watson.

You’re Not Alone

There are millions of stories of youth across the country that come out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. Each story has a different outcome, but ultimately, it helps other LGBTQ+ youth know they are not alone. YCC will provide services not only to the youth who seek shelter at the House of Hope but also to their families. Research shows that most LGBTQ+ youth don’t become homeless in the immediate aftermath of coming out, but as a result of family instability and frayed relationships that happen over time. YCC hopes June’s LGBTQ+ Pride Month will provide an additional opportunity to bring attention to the House of Hope as supporters campaign for equal rights, celebrate gender identity, sexual orientation, and connect with others in the LGBTQ+ community.

The goal of the House of Hope is to provide LGBTQ+ youth with everything they need to truly be themselves and live a happy life without the worries of rejection or bullying. They will be provided with a safe place to stay where their physical, emotional and mental well-being needs are cared for. Click to learn more about Youth Crisis Center, or to donate in support of the new House of Hope emergency homeless shelter. Tours of YCC and the House of Hope are open to the public; please call (904) 446-4966 to schedule.

If you or a youth in your family would like to talk to someone, there is no shame in getting help. 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.+

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Family Support is Key

Every crisis is different, just like each family’s experience within it. It is unfortunate that families today face a barrage of experiences that can result in a family crisis: death, divorce, addiction, relocation, mental illness, unemployment…the list goes on. There is no “typical” family crisis, just as there is no “typical” family. A crisis within a family can impact not only the family unit but also affect each member uniquely.

Heightened family tensions can cause family members to experience a variety of psychological issues, such as hostile behavior, difficulty thinking clearly, feelings of numbness or hopelessness, impulsive behavior, dwelling on meaningless activities, or low self-esteem. A family crisis disturbs the normal functioning of everyone in the family and requires a change in response to the stressor.

Elements of a Family Crisis

Even the happiest families can experience a crisis. Ideally, family members will always support one another in times of need. However, living up to this expectation isn’t always the reality, whether because of long work hours, conflicting schedules or personal issues. There are four elements that can lead to a family crisis, and when two or more of the elements are present, a family is likely to move into a state of crisis:

  • Experiencing a stressful situation: This can be anything that causes tensions to grow within the family, such as divorce, death, unplanned pregnancy, incarceration, or even a child protective services investigation.
  • Inability to cope: When a family is having a hard time accepting or dealing with the crisis at hand, a breakdown starts to occur in the family dynamic. Family members may blame each other, become argumentative, feel overwhelmed or hopeless, or stop communicating altogether.
  • Chronic difficulty meeting basic responsibilities: This could be anything from a parent not being present in their child’s everyday life to being unable to provide basic needs to survive, like food, shelter or protection.
  • No sources of support: Families that don’t support one another are at high risk of experiencing a crisis. When they are unable to rely on other family members, friends or neighbors, they are isolating themselves and eliminating support systems.

Stages of a Family Crisis

A family crisis has three stages: onset, disorganization and reorganization. Whether it’s something that happens unexpectedly, an underlying issue that has been waiting to surface, or the inability to adapt to change, each crisis will be characterized by these three stages.  

  • Onset: The family starts to realize that there is a crisis. Family members may present denial or disbelief about the situation. In this stage, it’s important for the family to identify the problem and accept that they need to make a change.
  • Disorganization: This is a family’s lowest point. Chaos from the crisis is in full effect, causing family members to feel helpless, anxious, agitated and vulnerable. Tensions are rising and family members may turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.
  • Reorganization: This is when the family takes action. They have identified the problem, accepted the need to make a change, and are working to overcome the crisis.

When to Get Help

Remember, a crisis doesn’t always have to have a negative outcome; it can be a time for the family to build stronger bonds, work on their problem-solving skills, or develop better coping methods. If the family is unable to come to terms with a crisis, or needs help resolving their issues, they should seek assistance. Family therapy can help a family understand each other better, prioritize communication, manage expectations, and address individual issues. There’s no shame in getting help. When all is said and done, you’ll be thankful you took action to rebuild your family.

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.

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Teen Anxiety Group

A group therapy program for learning about anxiety and discovering how to manage it, for ages 12-17
Begins: September 10, 2019
              5PM – 6PM
              Five Weekly Sessions (ends October 15th) 
Lead Facilitator: Mrs. Ashton Crawford, LMHC
Location: Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Office
            3015 Parental Home Rd.
            Jacksonville, FL 32216

Must register by September 9th to participate. Contact Ashton today if you have questions and to schedule an appointment to register, 904-720-0387.

Payment options include sliding scale, insurance and self-pay.

In choosing this program, teens show their commitment to support other participants in the group as they learn the ins and outs of anxiety and HOW TO CONQUER IT!

Participants in this group will go through a process of:

  1. Understanding more about their experiences with anxiety and its signs and symptoms
  2. Exploring how anxiety may have affected their lives (i.e. relationships/friendships, in school, with family, etc.)
  3. Learning skills and coping mechanisms to help them, both now and in the future, better handle and decrease their anxiety
  4. Feeling safe and learning that this is a safe place to share their stories

Sign Up Today

National Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

Teens across the country are worried about depression and anxiety. Even if they aren’t suffering themselves, they say they are concerned about their friends who are struggling. According to the Pew Research Center, 7 in 10 teens see depression as a major problem among their peers. Concerns about mental health issues among the young are cutting across gender, racial and socio-economic lines, resulting in roughly equal shares of teens admitting it is a growing problem among their peer groups.

Identifying Depression in Children

Timely recognition and treatment for children can change, or even save, their lives. Depression consists of persistent feelings of sadness, irritability and hopelessness. This can drastically affect the way one feels, thinks and acts. Quite often, depression is not diagnosed or treated in children because the symptoms are passed off as normal emotional and psychological changes that occur during development. Research shows that about 60 percent of children living with depression are not receiving any form of treatment.

Depression in children presents itself differently than it does in adults, often causing it to be easily missed. Children may not have the emotional maturity or ability to talk about their feelings as an adult might. Symptoms will vary from child to child, but most children with depression will display a noticeable change in their academics, social life and/or self-esteem.

Common Symptoms of Depression in Children Include:

  • Bodily symptoms (restlessness, stomachaches, headaches or digestive issues)
  • Increased irritability
  • Persistent feelings of sadness
  • Withdrawal from family, friends or activities they once enjoyed
  • Drastic changes in sleep or appetite
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Increased fatigue and low energy
  • Frequent outbursts or temper tantrums

What Causes Depression in Children?

Genetics and the environment both play a huge role in causing depression in children. With a child who has depression, they will have persistent feelings of sadness, irritability, hopelessness and worthlessness that can be caused by different factors in their life. Children with a family history of violence, substance abuse, physical abuse or sexual abuse are at a greater risk of depression than those without.

Other Common Causes of Depression in Children Include:

  • Physical illness (such as diabetes, epilepsy or cancer)
  • Harmful environment (community or home)
  • Family history of depression
  • Substance abuse
  • Stressful life events
  • The loss of a loved one

Statistics of Depression in Children

Research shows that 3.2 % of children ages 3-17 in the United States have been diagnosed with depression – that’s 1.9 million children. When a child has depression, it’s very common for them to have another type of disorder as well. About 3 in 4 children with depression also have anxiety, whereas roughly half of children with depression exhibit behavior problems. As age increases, the likelihood of being diagnosed with depression, anxiety or behavior problems increases, too.

Get Your Child the Help They Need at the Youth Crisis Center

When a child’s everyday routine is disturbed by their depressive symptoms, it’s time to get them help. YCC’s Family Link program provides professional and compassionate short-term outpatient counseling services for families with children ages 6-17 who are experiencing any concerns that disrupts 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. Our therapists have master’s degrees and extensive experience in a wide range of family and youth concerns that include depression, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, chronic behavior problems, homelessness, running away, poor academic performance, and truancy.

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.

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Is Your Child Stressed?

Everyone has felt stressed out at one time or another. Whether it’s feeling overwhelmed at work, financial pressures, family drama or schoolwork overload, we’ve all been faced with that sense of “It’s just too much to handle.” Most of us have learned to take a breath, have a good cry, take it out at the gym, or blow off steam with friends. We learn these self-soothing techniques through time and experience. It’s important to know how to handle the impact of stress. Its effects can be unhealthy and dangerous. Studies show that girls are feeling the dangerous effects of stress at a younger age than ever before.

Shifting the Focus

Psychologist and CBS News contributor Lisa Damour addresses the pressures that young girls are facing from today’s society today in her book, “Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls.” Damour explains the unrealistic picture the media paints of what girls should aspire to be. This often causes stress and anxiety because the girls don’t feel like they will ever live up to those standards. Damour believes the battle against the messages of beauty the media is sending to young girls starts with their parents. If parents make a point to shift the focus to the girls’ creativity, cleverness, or how interesting they are, it’ll send a different message to their daughter.

“There are unique pressures that girls face,” said Damour. “They are achieving unbelievable things these days, and yet, they know they are still judged heavily on how they look.” By focusing on the non-superficial aspects, parents can build up confidence in their daughters based on her abilities and intelligence, not on how she looks. This can help diminish the stress and anxiety that society has fostered in young girls.

It’s Part of the Growing Process

Damour makes a call to action for young girls experiencing stress and anxiety, asking them to make it a part of their growing process. The feelings they experience aren’t setbacks, but simply opportunities to gain insight and knowledge about themselves. She encourages parents to explain to their children that stress and anxiety is a healthy way of showing that they need to pay attention to challenges in their life, rather than a problem that needs to be eliminated. 

Signs & Potential Causes Your Child Is Anxious or Stressed

Anxiety and stress levels have risen among young people overall, but studies show that it has skyrocketed in young girls. Teens’ stress levels far exceed what doctors consider healthy, and they top the average reported stress levels in adults. Jessica Beal, Youth Crisis Center Family Link Therapist, says that most of the children she works with have these common stressors:

  • Pressure to perform well in school
  • Feeling different from their peers
  • Uncertainty about the future
  • Chaotic home life

Developing a personal awareness of what triggers stress and anxiety is key for youth to learn how to cope with those triggers. But, how do you know if your child is experiencing stress? With hectic schedules and long work hours, the warning signs of stress or anxiety in your child can often go unnoticed. Here are a few common indicators of stress in children that Beal observes:

  • Stomach aches and headaches
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Agitation or “shutting down”
  • Non-stop fidgeting
  • Racing thoughts or an inability to focus

Developing a Support Network Is Key

“No matter what age, a good support network can make a big difference in how secure someone feels in their ability to cope with stress and anxiety,” says Beal. “Children in particular are a lot more confident in themselves, and their decision making, when they know they have people in their corner to root them on.”

The first step to dealing with anxiety is acknowledging that you are not alone. You don’t have to struggle in silence. While working with families in the Family Link program, Beal helps each family member develop a support network. Whether it’s school staff members, extended family members or friends, having someone to reach out to when help is needed can make all the difference.

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.

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“ 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family”

True Gamerz Expo

Event Date: July 19-20th
Event Location: The Schultz Center
Event Website:
Venue Website:

True Gamerz Expo will be conveniently located close to Downtown Jacksonville and historic San Marco. With easy access from the Hart Expressway and just 2 short miles from Interstate 95, True Gamerz is central to all parts of Jacksonville. Come Experience Shultz’s full digital HD projection system with digital audio.

The Schultz center prides itself on providing a great environment for to foster a culture of learning and leadership at all levels. The True Gamerz organization is proud to offer an educational experience to the community, while having a great time playing and learning more about Video Games and Video Game culture.