May is Mental Health Awareness month, and the current crisis in children’s mental health is a priority at Elmcrest. With the opening of Heron Hall and White Pine Hall, their first respite programs are operating on the Salt Springs campus. These two six-bed residences already are fully occupied.

The CDC describes mental disorders among children as “serious changes in the way children typically learn, behave, or handle their emotions, which cause distress and problems getting through the day.” For the children coming to Elmcrest’s program, the professional staff provides individual therapy, family therapy and support, and counseling to build skills that can change lives.

However, the need continues to grow. Plans already are underway to build a third residence at Elmcrest to provide more beds for young people who are experiencing dark and difficult times. In a month where awareness of mental health issues is prominent, there are ways to help. Be aware of the challenges facing our youth, find help for those in distress, or oneself if needed, and support the efforts to create more critical services.

Elmcrest’s website is an excellent resource: