Easing your child back into a routine after a break or transition

After a few weeks off from anything you do consistently, it could be difficult to get back into a routine. This could apply to taking a few weeks off from working out, returning to work after some time off, and even your kids going back to school after their winter break. When one thinks of a school – bells often come to mind. Students are put on a routine throughout the year and with extended breaks or long weekends, sometimes it can be hard for your child to get back into the groove of things. This also applies to families going through a transition such as having to move and switch schools in the middle of the school year.

 

Amanda Marker is the Lead Outpatient Therapist for the Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program. She says there are multiple ways to help your child ease back into a routine after an extended break or transition.

 

Sleep

 

Marker suggests starting off with ensuring your child is getting enough sleep. She says making sure kids are well-rested could help them be better prepared to learn in the morning. You can help your child find their sleep routine by doing several things.

 

“Laying clothes the night before could really cut down on some of the chaos in the morning.”

 

Marker also recommends cutting down on electronics before bed. She doesn’t give a direct suggestion but says it should be up to the family to decide how long before bed to take away electronics from kids.

 

At-Home Life

 

Setting up a homework station is also something Marker suggests. Having an area dedicated to homework and backpacks can help ensure things do not become lost in the mix. If a child is working on a long-term project – it can stay there in the homework station rather than getting moved from room to room.

 

This also goes along with having an after-school plan, according to Marker. For example, if part of the after-school plan means spending 1 hour at the homework station, that helps promotes the child sticking to a routine and doing their schoolwork. Marker says this also helps with setting expectations.

 

Validation

 

A tip Marker really wants to make gets across is validation for your child. She says interruptions in their routine, environment, and expectations whether planned or random can cause anxiety and uncertainty. She says it’s important to check in with your kids and talk about school to just get a feel about what going. Marker also wants you to make sure your kids know that you do not expect perfection from them – just that they do their best.

 

 

 

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health 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 of the several programs, YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

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Moving Away from Negative Thoughts

Negative thoughts are not helpful thoughts. Negative thinking rarely gets us to the things we desire the most. These thoughts can be anything negative in your mind that gives you a feeling you do not value from. Once you have these thoughts, it could be hard to move away from.

 

Ashton Crawford is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and the CINS FINS Program Manager at the Youth Crisis Center. She says there are a handful of ways people can move away from negative thoughts as you take the journey to feel better about yourself.

 

Recognition

 

According to Crawford, her first step to moving away from negative thoughts is recognizing you are having those kinds of thoughts. 

 

“A lot of times, people aren’t even aware of it.”

 

She says these negative thoughts can stem from worrying about a situation, an event in the past, or something that hasn’t happened yet. Crawford believes once someone acknowledges they have a negative thought, that move can help build the foundation for finding the strength to move away from it. Crawford explains this step is important because it allows someone to come to terms with that thought. She says that helps you realize you have control over these thoughts at the end of the day.

 

Making a Choice

 

After recognizing your negative thought, Crawford recommends the next step you take is to make a choice.

 

“You can replace them with a positive thought or you can ignore it and let it fester. But, it’s going to come out one way or another.”

 

She says it all goes back to choosing what you want to do with those negative thoughts. If you wish to replace it, she also recommends trying to get out of whatever situation that is allowing you to have these kinds of thoughts. You can do this by changing your environment or the people you surround yourself with.

 

Think About It

 

It’s also suggested to think about how you’re feeling and how the negative thought impacts you.

 

“How it impacts your life, how it impacts your behavior and your emotions. All of that comes into play”

 

Crawford says once you’re able to acknowledge the negative thought, evaluate how it impacts your life, you are then able to make that choice to decide whether you want to change it.  

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health 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 of the several programs, YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

The Importance of Setting Boundaries During the Holidays

Many expectations come with the holiday season. It can be the potlucks at your work, coworkers setting up a gift exchange, close friends planning get-togethers, and spending time with family both near and far. During this time of the year, it can be easy to overschedule or get overwhelmed. There could be times when a person will have to learn to say “no,” to participate in such events. 

Desiree Patrick is the Lead Residential Therapist with the Youth Crisis Center, and she says setting boundaries can be beneficial. According to Patrick, setting boundaries can help those who may find certain topics triggering. It can also help if they had family members who were involved or has contributed to a sort of trauma in their lives. Patrick says this also applies to kids in regards to sexual abuse by family members.

“It may be very important to set boundaries due to that trauma. Especially when that stems from family members not believing them or being upset with them for revealing that information.”

When it comes to setting boundaries for children, Desiree Patrick says it’s just as important to set boundaries for them as well. Patrick touched on the yearly reminder from the Girl Scouts when it comes to forcing physical contact. 

“You never want to put your child or any child in a position where they are uncomfortable. I believe that can be damaging especially if something has happened.”

Patrick recognizes that it can be viewed as disrespectful if a child does not want to be around certain people. She says we need to realize kids are people too. Patrick says sometimes parents forget kids have feelings and sometimes they do not want to be included in situations. Patrick recommends talking with your child and asking them why they are uncomfortable. It could be a handful of things such a child being shy or something that has happened and the parent is not aware of.

The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program

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

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Staying on top of your mental health this holiday season

The year is coming to a close and the holiday season is upon us. Some people look forward to spending quality time with family and friends through a handful of social events while others may dread this time of the year. Those feelings could be due to stress, anxiety, depression, or several other factors in their lives. Someone could be stressing over money to make sure their family has something to open up this year. Another person could be stressing out as they try to fit in every single social event they were invited to. Whether someone falls into one of those categories or something completely different, there are several ways to stay on top of your mental health this holiday season.

 

Danielle Masters, a Licensed Intake Clinician and Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center says mindfulness, boundaries, budgeting, and self-care are good places to start when it comes to your mental health.

 

Mindfulness

 

“Remember to breathe,” Masters wants to remind everyone as the holidays get closer. She says it is easy to “get lost” around this time of the year. Masters suggests remembering to be present. She says the key is to focus on one thing at a time rather than channeling all of your energy into worrying about upcoming events, future preparations or memories from the past. She recommends trying to enjoy the time you have with your kids, family, friends and the present experience of togetherness.

 

Boundaries

 

This time of year can sometimes be associated with a long list of family members to visit, work functions, or events with your friends. Masters says holidays often bring a lot of “obligations” that can add more stress for both the parent and the child. She says this is the time to make that you are not overbooking or overscheduling. Especially during the holidays, Masters wants to assure people that it is okay to say no. She says learning to manage your stress as well as practicing assertive and respectable communication can also influence your kids to learn how to do the same.

 

Budgeting 

 

With stores constantly announcing various holiday deals the pressure to get everything on a wish-list can be stressful for some. Whether the item you want is on sale or not, Masters says it’s okay not to overspend on gifts. “The holidays are a perfect time to spend quality time with your children and enjoy togetherness,” as she suggests playing games instead, or starting a new holiday tradition. Masters suggests that parents set expectations upfront about gifts or holiday activities depending on the age of their kids. She adds this can be used as a method to explain to them the value of responsible spending as well as showing them that some of the most treasured gifts are those that do not require a lot of money.

 

Self-Care

 

Parents and Caregivers may have their own needs and mental health problems they are dealing with or may experience more stress around the holidays. Masters says this can be due to any losses, demands of regular work, kids and home life. According to Masters, parents need to take care of their physical, spiritual and emotional needs as kids are often affected by the well-being of their parents or caregivers.” Remember, it is okay to ask for help.”

 

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health 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 of the several programs, YCC offers is Outpatient Behavioral Health. This program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as three and their families. Parents may also receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at YCC.

 

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Dealing with Holiday Stress in the Workplace

The holiday season is now in full swing, and some people are probably counting down until their long weekend or the vacation they have been waiting all year for. The end of the year can also signal a race to the finish line, as employees work to meet their deadlines to get everything done before the New Year. During this time, employees might try to juggle different projects at once or work overtime to make sure their deadlines are met. Workers could find themselves dealing with stress and burnout in the workplace if they try to add more tasks than they can handle. 

There are several ways to keep your holiday stress in check at the workplace, as you try to avoid burnout. 

Kristen Wendle, the Director of Human Resources at the Youth Crisis Center has three tips for workers on how to avoid burn out during this time. 

Prioritize

Wendle says she wants employees to prioritize and organize their work. She says this is important because the end of the year does typically bring projects and deadlines.

“With the holiday season already being a stressful time for many, let’s encourage a more de-stress work approach and ask that employees prioritize and communicate realistic and unrealistic deadlines.”

She explains not all projects and positional responsibilities require things to be finished before the clock strikes midnight on January 1st. Wendle also encourages staff to talk with their supervisor and set a realistic deadline to get projects done by. For tasks that need to be completed during this time of the year, Kristen Wendle recommends taking a morning or afternoon to map out the next five weeks. This time can also be used to set goal dates for each week. This is a habit that can also benefit work-life but also someone’s personal life.

Personal Time

Director of Human Resources at YCC, Kristen Wendle strongly encourages employees to take some personal time. Holidays not only bring stress but can impact anxiety and depression levels. Wendle says it’s very important for employees and staff to slow down and take time to focus on themselves.

“If everyone is always going 100 mph, people aren’t putting enough focus on themselves to take a break, relax, and address anything that is going on internally.”

 

It’s a suggestion Outpatient Therapist Ronville Bertie also agrees with. If taking time off is not possible, he recommends making the most out of a lunch break. 

“It is essential to leave the office environment at lunch to rejuvenate.” 

Going back to Kristen Wendle’s first point about prioritizing, Bertie says keeping up with tasks is necessary, especially if someone is taking time off for the holidays. He explains it is best to keep up with your work, so you’re not swamped when you return. By prioritizing, employees are also able to get the most out of their time off; without worrying about work and can use that time to create memories with family and reconnect.

Say the Word ‘No’

One of the last things Wendle wants employees to take to heart is to not over-commit during this time of the year. She says this goes along with her first point, about prioritizing and organizing the coming weeks. 

“Saying ‘no’ is sometimes healthy.”

This doesn’t just apply to the workplace, it is important to not overcommit financially to holiday spending. This can also be applied to overcommitting socially, such as going to parties and taking trips. Human Resource Director Kristen Wendle, says employees can limit their chaos by saying “no” when they want to. 

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program 

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

The Outpatient program at the Youth Crisis Center provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to kids as young as 3-years-old and their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling regardless if their child is a client at the Youth Crisis Center. 

 

 

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Hayden Hurst Family Foundation and Youth Crisis Center Hosting First Golf Tournament

Jacksonville-native and Baltimore Ravens’ tight-end Hayden Hurst is planning a return to Jacksonville in February for a golf tournament.

The very first Hayden Hurst Family Foundation Golf Tournament will take place on Deercreek Country Club on February 24, 2020. Hayden established the Hayden Hurst Family Foundation in 2018 as a way to provide funding to programs that address mental health issues and provide mental health services to teens.

READ MORE: Hayden Hurst Family Foundation 2020 Golf Tournament

Hayden recently opened up about his own struggles with mental health during the NBC Sports documentary, “Headstrong: Mental Health and Sports.” The Jacksonville-native and Bolles explained his struggles with mental health while playing football in college. He explained that based on where he is right now, he thinks reaching out for help is more “manly” than sitting in silence and suffering.

“I didn’t get the help that I needed and it just really started affecting who I was,” Hayden told the camera.

WATCH: Hayden Hurst on NBC Sports’ “Headstrong: Mental Health and Sports.”

The Youth Crisis Center

Hayden adopted the Youth Crisis Center as one of his organizations to help benefit those who are seeking help with their mental health in Northeast Florida. YCC was founded in 1974, as Florida’s first runaway program. It has grown to one of the largest and best-known nationally accredited providers of services for youth and families. The Youth Crisis Center’s emphasis on care is for those have been exposed to traumatic situations such as divorce, homelessness, relocation, loss of life, bullying and abuse.

The Youth Crisis Center offers several programs such as SNAP®, Family Link, Outpatient Behavioral Health, Transitional Living Programs, and a Residential Program. The House of Hope program is currently in the works at YCC. The Youth Crisis Center is partnering with Changing Homelessness and JASMYN to create a residential facility that would provide early intervention services to members of the LGBTQ community. The House of Hope will also include a safe place to stay where clients will have their physical, emotional and mental well-being needs to be met

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

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Month

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

Homelessness and Hunger Go Hand in Hand

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

Expanding SAFE PLACES

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

House of Hope

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

Transformational Partnerships

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

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

 

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

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National Runaway Prevention Month

A Teenager Acting Out

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

The Real Dangers for Runaways

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

YCC Provided a Time Out to Cool Off

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

Civil Citation Program

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

Keeping the Lines of Communication Open

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

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

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Navigating Relationships After a Cancer Diagnosis

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*Name has been changed to protect privacy.

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

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Bullying

Could That Bully Actually Be a Victim of Domestic Violence?

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

Domestic Violence Can Influence Child Bullies

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

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

Civil Citation Program

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

Adolescent Domestic Batterers Typology Tool

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

Trauma Continues to Grow                                                                                                

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

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

Outpatient Behavioral Health 

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

Warning signs of teenagers living with domestic abuse:

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

Warning signs of bullying:

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

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

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

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5 Ways to Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships