Innovation in a Crisis

When most people think about science, they think about how our physical bodies work, how all the systems operate together, the biology, physics, and chemistry of life…but science is a big part of mental health, too. At the Center for Child Counseling we use the latest scientific breakthroughs on the child’s developing brain to help children, teens, and their caregivers address trauma and adversity while building resilience. We are Palm Beach County’s preeminent agency in child mental health, from birth to aged 18.

We’ve always used best practices, neurobiology, and even epigenetics (how genes are coded and expressed) in our fight against ACEs (Adverse Childhood Experiences). We operate 8 programs throughout Palm Beach County, serving over 4,000 children and their families each year. We go to where the children are. That means operating in co-located sites in schools, community and childcare centers as well as our own Play Therapy rooms and our clients’ homes. Due to the Coronavirus outbreak, all those avenues of reaching children are closed to us, but we’re resilient, too!

We’ve quickly pivoted to a telehealth model. Our therapists are all still working with our clients using HIPAA compliant apps. We’re using online training and videos more and more, creating fresh content every day. While we focus on the mental health of children, that often means working with the whole family. Right now, families are going to need the support of mental health professionals more than ever. Research shows that periods of high stress exacerbate issues like family dysfunction, substance abuse, domestic violence, and child abuse, so right now we need to protect Palm Beach County’s children in every way possible.

We’ve quickly responded to requests for resources by adding pages full of practical hints and tips to our website (general help and crisis-specific material). These links include home schooling help, resources that encourage parents and caregivers to practice self-care and manage their own anxiety, book suggestions and fun, educational videos for kids like what the Coronavirus is all about and why we need to practice healthy habits like hand washing. Many think tweens and teens stay connected via digital devices so may not feel they’re struggling with “social distancing” but they are. In fact, helping ‘quaranteens’ may be some parents’ biggest challenge. We have online resources just for them, too!

As a science-based nonprofit, we know that science is going to be the solution to this pandemic and the science of resilience is at the heart of what we all can do to stay mentally strong and healthy in the meantime.

Renée Layman, CEO
Center for Child Counseling

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