In recognition of Children's Mental Health Awareness Day (May 3, 2011) and National Mental Health Awareness Month (May), officials at Dickinson Center recently outlined a variety of programs geared toward alleviating symptoms of mental illness within families.
"There are numerous programs within Dickinson that we provide to children and to families," said Sara Stauffer, program director for family-based services. "We go in and work with all the family members and all the children to help improve their mental health symptoms and functions within the family.
"This month just reminds use to be aware that there are services out there to help alleviate the symptoms of mental illness within the family."
She noted the program is an intensive, non-traditional therapeutic program that meets the needs of the family system.
"We go in as an in-home service and we're there to help the family members on an 8-month basis," Stauffer said. "We focus on the mental health issues of everyone in the home and when children are having increased depression and anxiety, sometimes that filters out to the rest of the family members and we help with that, parenting, individual sessions for the children, sibling sessions, and we also do case management for the families and anything that the family needs, we go in and try to help them."
The treatment period can be lengthened or shortened depending on the needs of the family. The main goals of family-based services is to enable parents to care for their children at home, to strengthen and maintain the family, improve coping skills, teach positive parenting, provide the family with case management, and to act as an advocate for the child.