At first, mental illness may strike someone as an adult-oriented issue. It may be rare to hear about a child with depression or suicidal ideations, but the reality is that adolescent mental illness is just as prevalent as adult mental illness. Symptoms can occur early, and when left untreated, the effects of mental illness can be devastating.
Each day, we serve children as young as four at our current facility. The Young Minds Project seeks to admit more children so that no child in our community will have to suffer from untreated mental illness. The sooner a child receives treatment, the sooner they can live a fulfilled life.
The following stories are representative and are not biographical accounts of any patients past or present.
Janae - Age 16
Janae was one of six in a home where she frequently received less attention than her five siblings. When she began showing signs of depression, it went unnoticed. Dismissed as 'moody,' Janae felt hopeless and alone despite her large family. Previously at the top of her class, her grades began to drop drastically, and what had once been meaningful to Janae brought her little joy and held no value. Capable and smart, Janae deserves a life worthy of her talents, but she has lost the will to exist.
With the right help, Janae could thrive.
Sophie - Age 13
Sophie began showing symptoms at age 9. Previously, Sophie was known for her cheerful disposition and upbeat attitude. She managed to bring a smile to everyone's face. However, a shift in personality had Sophie acting out at school. Sophie's mother was concerned but was unfamiliar with childhood mental illness. Sophie's anger and aggression grew until she lashed out physically. Her mother knows that who she sees is not "the real Sophie," but she feels helpless and without options.
Our center will act as a beacon, and our community will know what resources we have so that every parent will feel empowered coming to us.
Michael - Age 8
Michael loved school. He was fond of science and was always the first to help other students during hands-on science activities. However, Michael struggled to communicate and relate to fellow students during non-academic tasks. Michael would watch others play while he sat back due to a lack of social understanding. He became isolated and wary of other children.
Our first-of-its-kind facility will have a dedicated unit for children and adolescents with ASD or Asperger's syndrome so that students like Michael can understand the world around them and fulfill their potential.
With the proper intervention, these stories could have had different endings.