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.

 

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House of Hope Residential Specialist (full-time & part-time)

Job Title:         House of Hope Residential Specialist

Department:    House of Hope

Exempt:           No

Employee Signature:                                                                           Date:                                    

Supervisor Signature:                                                                         Date:                                    

Prepared by:   Human Resources Department                        Rev. Date:  06/2020

Position Overview

The Youth Crisis Center is seeking a Residential Specialist to supervise and mentor the residents of House of Hope, a nine-bed emergency shelter for homeless young adults 18-24 years of age. The Residential Specialist will provide independent living skills through demonstration, observation, and instruction to young adults in House of Hope via individual and/or in group settings. The Residential Specialist will also provide transitional care and referrals to services as necessary. The Residential Specialist will provide constant supervision to residents and complete required documentation as needed.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

Knowledge:

  • Knowledge of clients’ behavior and performance, personality, and interest. Learning and motivation and the assessment and treatment of behavioral issues.
  • Knowledge of principles and processes for providing young adults with personal services. This includes needs assessment and meeting quality standards for services.
  • How to evaluate information that will result in choosing the best solution in solving
  • How to provide personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support or other personal care to coworkers and clients.
  • Knowledge of Independent Living Skills training curriculum and resources.
  • Knowledge of effective behavior management techniques for residents.
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word and data processing
  • Knowledge of principles of agency policies and procedures.

Skills:

  • Excellent interpersonal skills.
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Excellent attention to detail.
  • Effective group management techniques.
  • Culturally effective capabilities demonstrating a sensitivity and responsiveness to varying cultural characteristics.
  • Essential advocacy, communication, education, resource research skills.

Abilities:

  • The ability to communicate effectively in simple and precise terms with clients and co-workers.
  • The ability to interact with persons of diverse backgrounds with tact, courtesy, and poise.
  • Clearly communicate program expectations of residents.
  • Ability to set appropriate limits and boundaries in order to assure the safety and protection of the residents/clients.
  • Ability to be organized and meet deadlines.
  • Coach residents in decision making and role-model responsible behavior.
  • Ability to adapt quickly to changes in procedures, conditions and to interruptions which disrupt the workflow.
  • Ability to maintain confidential information relevant to clients.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

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

  • Supervise and monitor the behavior of residents; recognize and report behavioral concerns.
  • Assist and coordinate services (academic, medical/dental, psychiatric, career development, social, etc.) with the residents.
  • Complete documentation in the residents’ files. Ensure the accuracy and timeliness of the completion of documentation for admissions, incident reports, referrals, and all other required forms and logs.
  • Provide independent living skills via demonstration, observation, and instruction in a group and individual setting with House of Hope residents while utilizing curriculum approved by the agency.
  • Maintain acceptable attendance and punctuality of no more than three (3) unscheduled occurrences within a 90 day period.
  • Ensure that all required training classes and training hours are completed in accordance with YCC standards.
  • Monitor and ensure that Medical, Medication and Mental Health processes are followed with minimal errors.
  • All other duties as assigned.

Education and Experience

High School Diploma and a minimum of (2) years working with at-risk youth or young adults. Prior experience conducting independent life-skill trainings preferred. Intermediate computational skills may be necessary. A valid Florida driver’s license and safe driving record is required.

Physical Demands

This is a position which requires walking, interacting, monitoring and engaging youth in various positive activities and diffusing challenging situations that will occur.  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.

You can now apply online.
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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.

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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. 

 

Exercise: 

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.

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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.

Maintenance Technician

Job Title:          Janitorial/Maintenance Technician

Reports to:       Facilities Supervisor

Department:     Facilities

Exempt:           No


Position Overview   Provide custodial services to both internal and external structures. Keep premises of office buildings and grounds in clean and orderly condition. Assist in performing and coordinating repairs and maintenance of physical structures, equipment, machinery, plumbing and electrical systems. Assist with client/tenant transportation as needed.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities

The most important knowledge, skills, and abilities are listed for Janitorial/Maintenance Technician:

Knowledge:

·         Primary knowledge of janitorial sanitation and supply

·         Proper use, storage, and inventory of chemicals

·         Material Safety Data Sheets

·         Health/safety standards

·         Basic maintenance and repairs to buildings, grounds and vehicles

·         The use and identification of various tools used in janitorial/maintenance and repair

·         Familiar with local area for transportation

Skills:

·         Excellent communication and interpersonal skills

·         Attention to detail

Abilities:

·         Understand and carry out instructions furnished in written, oral, or diagram form.

·         Ability to perform tasks with or without supervision in an organized manner

·         Able to work with other departments when necessary.

Position Duties and Responsibilities

·         Ensure cleanliness of entire facility including: clean/polish glass, mirrors; chrome, dust horizontal surfaces; mop or vacuum floors; wax VCT quarterly; empty/clean wastebaskets; sanitize and supply common areas, offices, restrooms and entrances; keep all areas free of debris

·         Help ensure that agency vehicles are kept clean and in good running/physical condition

·         Assist with day‑to‑day maintenance of the facilities, setup for meetings, conferences and events

·         Assist with general upkeep of grounds and property

·         Purchase supplies following procedures for requisition, and obtain receipts

·         Complete all required paperwork

·         Maintain courteous and tactful interactions with managers, co-workers, customers, tenants and/or vendors so productivity and morale do not suffer

·         Work independently and within a team on special, nonrecurring, and ongoing projects.

·         Transport clients/tenants to and from destination

·         Responsible for personal training objectives and attendance of meetings

·         All other duties as assigned

Education and Experience

Education and Experience:

High school diploma or (GED); and two (2) or more years related experience and/or training

Mathematical Skills and Reasoning Ability

Ability to add, subtract, multiply, divide, and use basic measurements

Physical Demands

Incumbent will be required to regularly lift and/or move up to 50 pounds and occasionally lift and/ or move up to 100 pounds.

Work Environment

Moderate exposure to chemicals used in the cleaning process

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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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.

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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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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5 Ways to Strengthen Your Family