EMQ FamiliesFirst does whatever it takes to help children in crisis and their families. We are recognized for innovative mental health treatment, foster care and social services that help families recover from trauma, abuse and addiction, and rebuild their lives. We fight for sustainable change and advocate for improvements in the local, state and federal systems that serve children in need.
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Demi Lovato and SAMHSA Speak Out for Mental Health in Teens, Young Adults
Last week in honor of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, young celebrity Demi Lovato received a special recognition award from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The award was presented by U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius. SAMHSA is focusing awareness this year on substance use and mental health challenges for older teens and young adults ages 16 to 24 years of age.
“Demi could have easily chosen to deal with her mental health and substance abuse challenges in private,” said Ms. Sebelius as she presented the award. “Instead she decided to make it her personal mission to use her experience to help other young people who were struggling with the same challenges.”
She added, “For millions of young Americans, Demi is not only an encouraging voice and a powerful advocate, she’s living proof of what we know to be true – that treatment works, that recovery is real, and that people with mental challenges can make incredible contributions to their communities and country, if they get the care they need.”
Ms. Lovato said that after hearing from “thousands and thousands” of people who have been grateful to hear her story, she knows that “there are a lot of young people out there who need to connect with someone, anyone, willing to listen.”
She also tweeted that day, “Honored to receive an award from @Sebelius + appear w/5 brave ppl sharing their resilience stories.”
A letter and request from Darrell Evora, President & CEO
Today is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. By raising awareness, we hope to engage others in the conversation about children with severe depression, anxiety or an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Help us stress the need to expand programs and resources to make outcomes-driven treatment a reality.
Help fight the silent epidemic of mental illness that affects 1 in 5 kids in the U.S.
The onset of major mental illness can occur as young as 7-11 years old. But nearly 80 percent of kids ages 7-18 who live with mental illness don’t get the help they need.
The cost to our communities and to children increases the longer they go untreated. For example, suicide is the third-leading cause of death among youth and young adults aged 15-24 and is almost always the result of untreated or undertreated mental illness. Many who struggle with mental illness drop out of high school or end up in prison.
Children’s Mental Health Matters Children don’t have a voice in the policy debate occurring at the federal, state or local level. You can be their voice and save a life. We’ll keep you updated on ways you can help kids who struggle.
Today what you can do is forward this post to a friend, check out additional resources on our website, and share the message through social media – any of which will help others learn the facts about mental illness.
Almost 80 percent of children and teenagers ages 7-18 who live with mental illness won’t get the help they need. You can advocate for them during Mental Health Awareness Month.
Our communities need people like you who are able and willing to talk with friends and family in open, accepting and honest ways about the mental health disorders they struggle with every day, often silently.
Read this Huffington Post article with an interview of the Child Mind Institute on exactly this topic of bringing acceptance and openness into our daily interactions..
On her first day of high school, Estella’s hair was peacock blue. On the second day it was fuchsia. She wore vampire shoes and all-black Goth clothes that smelled. Some teens thrive on eccentricities, but Estella’s history of depression, severe mood swings and 20 suicide attempts since fourth grade made her a fragile target for bullying.
After Estella’s release from a second hospitalization for psychiatric evaluation, she and her family were referred to the EMQ FamiliesFirst Wraparound program. A three-person team worked closely with them for two years to stabilize Estella. And they helped her loving but mystified parents understand that mental illness, like diabetes, is a disease that can be treated.
Estella learned to communicate her feelings, fears and frustrations through writing, music and drawing. She became more comfortable with herself and that confidence led to better grades and new friendships.
There were backslides, but today Estella is significantly different from the girl who cut herself, threatened her family and raged at everyone around her. Now a freshman in college, she is excited about her future and grateful for the help of her EMQ FamiliesFirst team.
“I am moving into adulthood and I couldn’t have done it without you,” she said, adding that EMQ FamiliesFirst “is doing great things. I hope as I grow, I will too.”
The Capital City Caper was a success thanks to our amazing volunteers! We couldn’t have done it without you, thanks for your dedication to helping the children and families served by EMQ FamiliesFirst. #NationalVolunteerWeek #Volunteer
April is Autism Awareness Month, a time to share our knowledge, raise awareness and improve our understanding about this disorder that affects one in every 50 children in the United States and manifests to varying degrees.
Autism cannot be cured but can be effectively treated if begun early in life. Some early indications of autism are lack of interest in relationships and imaginative play, lack of eye contact, delay in speech development and repeating motions or words.
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a science in which procedures are systematically applied to improve socially significant behavior to a meaningful degree. An ABA program is a systematic teaching approach that involves breaking skills down into small, easy-to-learn steps. Praise or other rewards are used to motivate the child, and progress is continuously measured so the teaching program can be adjusted as needed. ABA is widely recognized as the single most effective treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder and the only treatment shown to lead to substantial, lasting improvements in the lives of individuals with autism.
Read more about Applied Behavioral Analysis, the most effective method to teach children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
As we recognize National Child Abuse Prevention Month let’s look at some less obvious reasons why it’s important to help children and families early before matters escalate, that is, the consequences as they become adults. Many children who have been abused or severely neglected end up in the child welfare system, some for extended periods, often for years. Too many remain there without permanent family solutions and “age out” – or transition out – of foster care at 18.
The data paints a dismal picture. In California in 2012 alone*, over 2,800 teens aged out of foster care. Of those, 11.2 percent had dropped out of high school and 7.5 percent were already parenting their own children.
Less than a quarter, 19.5 percent, enrolled in college. Over 80 percent were unemployed and 21 percent applied for food stamps.
Imagine being on your own at 18 in our complex and costly society without any support or safety net and these numbers are not all that surprising. So what can be done to turn the numbers around – and provide a promising future for abused children who end up in the foster system?