Children’s Guild Family Help Center Flourishing
Nearly two-thirds of all people with a diagnosed mental disorder do not seek treatment because of the stigma surrounding mental illness, according to The National Mental Health Awareness Campaign. Trapped by fear, shame, pain and confusion, children and teens with untreated mental illness may lash out: failing in school, abusing drugs, being violent and even attempting suicide.
To help remove the stigma and ensure children throughout Maryland receive the mental health services they need, The Children’s Guild encouraged students at all three campuses to participate in the Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health’s annual mental health poster contest as part of Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week. Involvement in this campaign illustrates how The Guild is reaching out to the community to encourage people in need to receive mental health services.
Working in the Schools
Through a partnership with Anne Arundel and Baltimore County schools, The Guild offers mental health services to children, ages 4 to 18, dealing with depression, abuse, neglect, anger, suicidal thoughts or actions, withdrawal, and a host of other potentially destructive behaviors or problems.
The keys to the program’s success are the convenience and accessibility of services. Rather than traveling to the McClean campus, the program’s headquarters, these students can meet with the psychiatrist, social worker or licensed counselor in their school building during the school day. This removes the stigma and normalizes the process.
Being in the schools is another important facet for The Guild clinicians. They have access to the teachers and staff who work with these children every day. Our full-time psychiatrist, who comes to the schools once a month to prescribe and monitor medication, can observe the students in their classes and get a true sense of what the child is going through. It’s holistic care.
Providing an Outlet
In terms of the students,benefits of these children having an outlet are that the students can share their feelings and experiences with a neutral party. This allows them to deal with their emotions or situations appropriately, which in turn helps them to succeed in class. With only half of the children we serve coming through our in-school partnerships, the other half – comprised of children living in the surrounding community – have access to the myriad of Guild services and programs. Some of these children may need an alternative school or a different living environment; The Guild can provide them with more than just the mental health services they need. It’s all about giving these children and their families what they need.