Most of us can deal with a loved one or ourselves being physically ill much better than we can with deal with mental illness. Perhaps it is the stigma that some would attach to mental illness. Perhaps because it is much more difficult to define or to understand for most of us. And one out of every six Americans will suffer from some form of mental illness in a given year. The challenge for all ages is real.
Mental illness touches all ages and all groups of people. If we are honest most families are not prepared to cope with mental illness. We often ignore the warning signs and when we can no longer fool ourselves with what we are facing, we do not know where to turn for help. But it is important to know there is hope and that treatment in most cases can be very effective.
Mental illness is hard to deal with at any stage of life. But it is particularly frightening for children and youth. And to compound the situation, parents, grandparents and other family members do not know where to turn for help.
Helping our community is View Point Health. It is one of 27 agencies created by the state of Georgia to provide a safety net of care for behavioral health and developmental disabilities. It was formed in 1975 to serve a three county area -- Gwinnett, Rockdale and Newton Counties. It is governed by a board with members from all three counties appointed by the three Boards of County Commissioners. They are appointed with the goal being for the board to reflect the social and demographic characteristics of the three counties. Of course the goal is for the board to represent the best interest of those served by Viewpoint.
One service offered for youth and families in crises is the Crises Stabilization Unit. This is for youth between ages of 14 to 17. It is a short term setting for youth in psychiatric crises. It offers intensive counseling, medication monitoring, academic classes, athletics and much more. If your family is not currently a client of View Point you can go to any emergency room or call any time for access to care at 678-209-2411.
The STRIVE Clubhouse provides services for youth and their families coping with mental health challenges. The goal for each young client is to improve their ability to manage the mental health symptoms. At times this means opening up communications between the youth and their families. Another sought outcome is to decrease the isolation that often comes with mental illness and to increase peer support.
The STRIVE Clubhouse is one way you can get involved. Volunteers are needed during afternoon hours, Monday to Friday, between 2 and 8 p.m. On Saturdays the hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. The staff will assign volunteers to duties that may include assisting with activities at the Clubhouse or working on such special activities are Parent Days, Health Fair and Mental Health Awareness Programs. If you are interested in being involved you can get more information by calling 678-209-2390 or by going on line at myviewointhelath.org.
Not to be confused with The STRIVE Clubhouse is the Club House nearby in Lilburn. It is for youth 13 through 17 dealing with drugs and alcohol issues. This can be of great help to those in need of intensive substance abuse recovery support.
The Clubhouse makes use of the “Seen Challenges Programs.” This is help participant to make wise and informed decisions about their lives and the use of alcohol and drugs. It is to promote satisfying and sober living. Through the Clubhouse you will find individual and family support. Outpatient help is available daily. Week end and evening hours are also available. Call 678-209-2550 for more information.
Youth and their families need help when dealing with many emotional issues. View Point is the place in our community to turn. What we cannot do alone we may be able to do together as a community. The Newton Center is located at 8201 Hazelbrand Road in Covington. This is behind the Library and Health Department.
To find out how your family can be helped don’t let the lack of insurance keep you from reaching out. Call today for more information at 678-209-2600.