DERBY - The Mental Health Clinic at Community Concern saw a 184 percent jump in teens seeking behavioral healthcare. Jerry Bartone, executive director, reports that 92 adolescents age 14-18, and their families, have requested counseling and psychiatric care this year.
"There are so many factors affecting teens," Bartone said. "With the struggling economy making it difficult for families these days, many teens feel alone and often have a difficult time resisting negative peer pressure and avoiding dangerous situations. At the same time, the abuse of prescription pain medications has been growing among teens at an alarming rate. With only a third of teens saying they feel they have adequate family support, readily available teen oriented counseling services are more critical than ever."
There is good news. "More adolescents are seeking professional help, and they are involving their parents," reported Bartone. "The biggest barrier to accessing mental health services has always been the cost. Thanks to funds from grants provided by Evans Bank Foundation and New Era Cap, Community Concern of WNY has been able to make available group and individual counseling at no cost to Lake Shore High School students referred to our Agency. Although these grant funds are limited, they make services available to underinsured families ." says Bartone.
"These grants have saved lives." said Jennifer Burt, a licensed clinical social worker who provides counseling in the high school. "They say that the opportunity to be in counseling allows them to say what they feel without fear of punishment or judgment. Teens more readily use advice from someone other than their teachers or parents. They tell me counseling allows them to concentrate better on academics," Burt said.
For additional information, call Community Concern of Western New Work at 947-5025 or visit their office at 6722 Erie Road (Route 5), Derby 14047. Community Concern is a non-profit agency that depends upon financial donations and volunteer efforts to provide these critical services.