Mental Health Awareness Month – Mental Health is as Important as Physical Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health issues can arise because of traumatic events experienced as a child. ChildSavers is dedicated to serving children who have experienced trauma or have an organic mental health issue. We do this by providing trauma-informed, evidenced-based therapies for children ages 2 to 17. Through our service to Greater Richmond’s children, we know the importance of talking about mental health. Together, with your help, we can ensure everyone understands that mental health is as important as physical health.

Unsung Heroes of Children’s Mental Health

We could not provide the services we do without dedicated clinicians who put their all into their work. These Master’s Level Social Workers, Licensed Professional Counselors, and Licensed Clinical Social Workers are some of the most compassionate and kind people you will meet. Our clinicians go above and beyond the call of duty. They interact and advocate for the community on their days off. They volunteer and come up with creative ways to help children learn to cope and be resilient. These clinicians are active and full of heart! During the Richmond Police Department’s Rapid Engagement of Support in the Event of Trauma (RESET), they go door-to-door in the aftermath of a violent event in the community just to check-in to make sure families are safe.

These unsung heroes are in Richmond’s neighborhoods, in children’s homes, at our schools, and at scenes of shootings to provide on-site 24-hour Immediate Response. They even stay with children and families during intake at the ER so they feel safe. They pour hours of their time into helping children and families feel that they have somewhere to turn in crisis. Immediate Response is just one way they serve. So, when the Immediate Response team is

24/7 Mental Health Support in Times of Crisis and Traumatic Events

When Immediate Response’s 24-hour number (804-305-2420) is called, ChildSavers assesses the situation and sends an on-call therapist. Often the call comes from Richmond Police department. Other times it is from the Pediatric Emergency Room, Richmond Ambulance Authority, teachers, or even parents.

When you call us, we come. We are here for you, and we are here for the children of our community. If you recall recent shootings in our community involving young people or children, you understand what types of situations we are called to help with.

The clinician arrives at the scene of crisis or trauma and provides psychiatric first aid. When a child has experienced a trauma such as homicide, house fire, suicide, drug overdose, domestic abuse, or sexual abuse something has been lost. This could be the child’s sense of self, trust, or safety. From the moment a child experiences trauma, a therapeutic response is necessary to help them heal. We provide that response. We help children cope and build resiliency.

This involves helping the child to calm and regulate her emotions. Most importantly, the therapist helps the child feel safe and acts as a support. Using seemingly innocent tools, such as fidgets, bubbles, and pinwheels, the child learns to regulate her emotions. Yet, the help does not end there. To ensure that the child does not go to a higher level of care, such as hospitalization, we provide ongoing support and, if needed, outpatient mental health therapy. Should a family be in need of resources such as help with housing, we connect them so they have a safe place to sleep at night.

Services like Immediate Response are essential to addressing mental health issues. Why? Because when left untreated, trauma can turn into a lifetime of physical and mental illness as well as suffering.

How You Can Help

Raising awareness about the effects of trauma on mental health helps end stigma. This is why we are calling on you to share your story. If you are an adult who received services from ChildSavers in your youth and you’d like to share your story, email info@childsavers.org with the subject line of “I want to share my story” and let us know. Your story can help empower those that are afraid and think that they are alone. By talking about your journey, you will help children not feel alone. Your story can help others feel empowered and bring greater understanding to mental health and trauma.

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