A suburban community space focuses on teen mental health – NBC Chicago

Since opening in March 2023, The Loft at Eight Corners has served dozens of teens and their families, but organizers say there are many more in need of assistance. We would like to reach out to high school students.

“There’s no cost to stop by, receive service, hang out, or join a group. There’s no insurance and there are no fees associated with one-on-one or group support. ” said Caitlin Joycesmith, Director of Advancement for NAMI Metro Suburban.

NAMI Metro Suburban partners with Pillars Community Health to open The Loft at Eight Corners, the first space of its kind designed by teens for teens in need of mental health services. did.

The Loft’s monthly calendar is packed with activities, and coordinator Adrian Cardenas says three activities in particular are the most popular.

“It’s an expressive arts group that dives into your many emotions and feelings through yoga, all types of art, and a queer and allies group that includes our LGBTQ people,” Cardenas said.

All high school students are welcome, and so far 110 teens have registered online with parental consent.

“We encourage parental consent. So even if they can consent on their own at 17 and 18 years old, we still encourage parental consent,” Cárdenas said. .

There will also be sessions for parents, including a workshop scheduled for Tuesday, October 24, 2023 titled “How to Talk to a Teen Who Resists Support.”

“How do we treat them with compassion and empathy and say this is why they’re doing this?” Cárdenas said.

The Loft just launched a Teenage Advisory Board, which includes 15 area students who will serve as student ambassadors to spread the word about the program.

“They asked us about things like what they want to continue to see in this space, what types of groups, how can we do a little bit more marketing to bring in more teens? “It will help us,” Cárdenas said.

An innovative space with a yoga studio, multiple counseling rooms, and space for group activities. It was established in response to a surge in demand for teen mental health services that has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite the return to normalcy, the need for support still exists.

“As you know, our research shows that there continues to be an incredible need for access to care for young people,” Joyce-Smith said.

Organizers also communicate their mission directly to students.

“We’re going to bring what’s called ‘Loft on the Go’ into local schools and basically do a lot of satellite programming within the schools,” Joyce-Smith said.

What Cardenas wants teens to know is that you don’t have to be in crisis to get into the loft.

“You may be living perfectly well, with good daily life and good mental health, but come and learn more about your symptoms and develop more skills in your toolbox. , you’ll know what to do if something happens to you.’ Deal with it yourself,” Cárdenas said.

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