Holiday Fund: CHAC helps children and adults deal with mental health problems | News

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  Holiday Fund: CHAC helps children and adults deal with mental health problems |  News

The untold story of the pandemic is the ripple effect that it has had on so many, particularly those in underserved communities without the financial resources to help. Maria came to Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) for culturally competent help to restore the feeling of “family” and loving relationships to help her navigate through her loss

In the classroom, Chris’ teacher saw he was easily distracted, unable to stay focused and when he did attend school, he was very disruptive with his classmates. Chris’ mom attempted to help, but as a single mother juggling two jobs, she had nowhere to turn to for help. Chris’ teacher referred him to CHAC. A turning point occurred when he connected with his therapist and felt that he had found a friend. Through the patience and guidance of the therapist, Chris began to engage with his peers in a healthy way and today, he is seen on the playground with friends instead of by the sidelines. It’s a small, but profoundly life-altering change in the life of a child.

CHAC is one of the beneficiaries of this year’s Mountain View Voice Holiday Fund. Because the Voice and its partner the Silicon Valley Community Foundation cover all the administrative costs, every dollar raised goes directly to this year’s 10 nonprofit organizations. Donations to the Holiday Fund can be made at mv-voice.com/holiday_fund.

Relationships outside the family unit is a key developmental milestone for our youth, thus schools need to be committed to ensuring safe and supportive learning environments for our youth. For most of our kids, without CHAC they would have no other access to mental health services. This is such an important time for students to have access to connections with caring people who can help them learn tools such as self-care and coping strategies. Peer support at this developmental stage is crucial and as such social isolation is associated with an increased risk for depression and anxiety, suicidal ideation, and self-harm.

Story Highlights

  • Maria, the mother of three, lost her beloved 42-year-old husband and the father of her kids to COVID-19. She was struggling to make ends meet, leaving no time to grieve for her loss. She turned to her extended family for help – financially and emotionally, and for a while they were there for her, but they, too, were trying to manage their own loss of jobs, health and other challenges. Maria soon felt the pressure to look elsewhere for help. She lost the emotional support she had always thought the family gave her, contributing to increased feelings of sadness, and loss of interest in physical activities and motivation.

  • Even before the pandemic and shelter-in-place, 5-year-old Chris struggled to make friends. The pandemic has truly made it worse – in a world of lockdowns and mask mandates, a virtual world decreasing peer interactions and greater social isolation, it was impossible for Chris to learn, socialize and feel a sense of belonging.

Chris and Maria are just two examples of clients who are struggling with their mental health. CHAC helps with loneliness, anxiety, depression, self-identity issues, suicidal ideation and self-harm. Sadly, this is just a short list of the mental health issues that our therapists deal with every day. A mental health epidemic is emerging and CHAC is there to help folks overcome the mental health stigma making it “cool” to seek and accept help.

CHAC’s prevention programs help kids and families learn about emotions and healthy ways to care about their mental health. Kids say, “I did CHAC today,” when they participate in CHAC’s social-emotional programs. In a ripple effect, parents also learn and feel empowered to understand and share the challenges their child may be facing. For almost 50 years, CHAC has helped thousands of youth and their families with better communication and relationships for a healthier life.

CHAC is located at 590 W. El Camino Real, Mountain View, 94040. For information call 650-965-2020 or visit chacmv.org.