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In the News

Alexander Featured on WBTV

May 22, 2018   Experts from Alexander Youth Network speak about the need to address mental health issues early.

http://www.wbtv.com/story/38248664/local-organization-working-to-tackle-childrens-mental-health-issues-before-its-too-late

Dr. Kamilah McKissick on WCNC

May 7, 2018   Alexander Youth Network’s Vice President of Clinical Services, Dr. Kamilah McKissick, advises parents about the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why.”

https://www.wcnc.com/article/news/health/school-officials-issuing-warnings-ahead-of-2nd-season-of-13-reasons-why/275-549773853

Bark and Heal on WSOC-TV

March 9, 2018   Alexander’s Bark and Heal program was featured on WSOC-TV’s Family Focus segment. Bark and Heal helps our kids develop empathy, self-control and self-esteem.

http://www.wsoctv.com/community/family-focus/special-partnership-helps-both-children-dogs-in-need/713570879

 

Alexander Youth Network Now Offering
Multisystemic Therapy – Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB)

February 1, 2018  Alexander Youth Network provides quality, professional treatment to children and youth with serious emotional and behavioral problems. Recently, Alexander’s Multisystemic Therapy (MST) team became licensed to treat youth with problem sexual behavior using Multisystemic Therapy – Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB). We have two MST-PSB teams in Charlotte and one in Wilmington.

What is MST-PSB?
Multisystemic Therapy-Problem Sexual Behavior (MST-PSB) is an intensive treatment approach uniquely developed to address the underlying drivers responsible for problematic juvenile sexual behavior. The model ensures the safety of the client, victim and community while reducing the likelihood of future problem behaviors and criminal activity.

A clinical adaptation of standard Multisystemic Therapy, MST-PSB focuses on each domain of the youth: their home and family, schools and teachers, neighborhoods and peers. MST-PSB is evidence-based and incorporates treatment interventions that are strongly supported and informed by research.

Treatment Criteria
We treat young people who are:

  • between the ages of 10 and 17
  • engaged in problem sexual behavior, including sexual offending
  • at risk of out-of-home placement or custody
  • residing in a home environment with at least one identified caregiver or where there is a planned return to a home environment
  • not diagnosed with a psychiatric disorder, autistic spectrum disorder or serious developmental delays.

Family Involvement
MST-PSB involves the entire family system, where change is most effective. Families must be willing to participate in problem sexual behavior treatment that also treats other delinquent behaviors such as truancy, academic problems, aggressive behaviors and substance use. Typically, therapists meet families three to four times a week for a period of five to seven months.

Our MST-PSB Therapists:

  • develop sustainable safety plans to minimize the risk of the young person reoffending
  • improve family communication and strengthen relationships
  • gain clarity and consensus regarding circumstances surrounding previous offenses
  • reduce parent and youth denial about sexual offenses and increase accountability
  • identify and address aspects of the youth’s environment (belief systems/attitudes) that contribute to antisocial and problem sexual behaviors
  • assist families in enabling the youth to develop the social skills that lead to healthy peer relationships
  • educate about age-appropriate, normative sexual experiences
  • assess the offenders own victimization, the impact of abuse and related treatment needs
  • empower families to manage the young person including reunification when appropriate, enhanced parenting skills and ensuring boundaries in the home and community
  • help parents or caregivers build support networks

Our therapists are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week to provide support, advocacy and interventions to meet the individualized needs of the youth and their family.

How To Get Help
Please call our Intake Department number at 855-362-8470 to receive MST-PSB services. If your child has behavior issues that affect life at home or school, we have a service within our comprehensive array that can help. Call us today if your child has issues with any of the following:

  • Behavioral problems
  • Problems at school
  • ADHD
  • Trauma/PSTD
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual abuse
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Anger
  • Grief/loss
  • Mood issues
  • Psychological problems
  • Social problems
  • Self-destructive behavior
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Implusivity
  • Running away
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Withdrawal
  • Bullying
  • Self-esteem issues
  • Lying/stealing

 

Kamilah McKissick, Psy.D.McKissick Named Alexander Youth Network’s
Vice President of Clinical Services

June 29, 2017  Alexander Youth Network is pleased to announce that Dr. Kamilah McKissick has joined our organization as Vice President of Clinical Services.

Kamilah McKissick received her M.S. and Psy.D. in Clinical Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland. She received her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. McKissick has had a vast array of clinical and leadership experiences in multiple settings, including hospitals, schools, psychiatric facilities, day treatment programs, outpatient programs, community mental health centers and departments of juvenile justice. Prior to Alexander, she was Clinical Director at Kids Central of the Carolinas in Charlotte.

Dr. McKissick has dedicated her career to giving a voice to the voiceless and helping individuals and families to overcome obstacles as they strive for success. Her passion is working with youths and families treating past histories of abuse, absence of a biological parent, foster care placement, adoption issues, grief, loss, social skills, interpersonal problems, behavioral difficulties, attention issues, anxiety, depression and other emotional concerns.

In her role as Vice President of Clinical Services, McKissick is responsible for the development and delivery of Alexander’s mental health treatment services and monitoring of the clinical needs of the clients we serve. Alexander Youth Network is the state’s leading provider of children’s behavioral healthcare, serving 8,800 children and families annually. 

Alexander Youth Network Commemorates
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day and Foster Care Month

May 4, 2017 At a press conference held at Alexander Youth Network’s Main Campus on Thermal Road, agency representatives made comments about two major topics: the importance of children’s mental health and the need for therapeutic foster parents.

Alexander CEO, Craig Bass, emphasized that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth. “The U.S. Surgeon General has said that one child in five has a mental, emotional or behavioral disorder. One in ten has a disorder so severe it interferes with their ability to function in daily life,” said Bass. In North Carolina, there are 250,000 children who need, but do not receive, the kinds of services Alexander Youth Network provides—enough children to fill the Bank of America stadium two and a half times!”

Bass added that despite these overwhelming numbers, the symptoms of serious emotional disturbance are essentially invisible to us. “The children we care for at Alexander don’t look any different from other kids. Most don’t wear orthopedic braces or travel in wheelchairs. If we look closely, we may find them sitting in a corner away from the other children—perhaps not picked to play on either team or isolated because of their behavior. We might think of them as bad kids, or maybe we just don’t know how to reach them.”

“They might hit, scream, or curse. Or they may be so depressed that they don’t do much of anything,” continued Bass. “They may be mad at the world for what they’ve been through, or they may just blame themselves. They don’t often realize that in many cases, their out-of-control behavior is due to a chemical imbalance in the brain or a ‘hard-wired’ response to early trauma. These are the kids we care for.”

At Alexander, all of the kids we serve have a diagnosed mental health problem. They range in age from five to 18 and last year, we helped 8,878 children in 64 counties.”

Funding for Children’s Mental Healthcare
Citing the release of a recent amendment to the American Health Care Act, Bass sees this as a sign that Congress is again working on legislation that would gut federal investment in Medicaid and devastate Americans’ mental health coverage and care. He encouraged constituents to tell their representatives and senators not to support legislation that cuts funding for children’s mental healthcare.

“In addition to restructuring Medicaid and shifting over $800 billion in costs to states, the revised version of the American Health Care Act directly targets provisions that are important to mental health advocates, including: rolling back essential health benefits, eliminating protections for individuals with pre-existing conditions and widening the gap in primary and behavioral health parity, said Bass. “For millions of individuals, these provisions would mean restricted access to Medicaid, restricted access to affordable coverage and restricted access to mental health treatment.”

“On this day, as the state’s leader in children’s behavioral health care, we at Alexander vigorously advocate that all children should have the opportunity to thrive physically, mentally and emotionally,” concluded Bass.

Removing Stigma
Dr. Rebecca Tomsyck, a psychiatrist at Alexander Youth Network, spoke about the need to remove the stigma associated with mental health problems. “While one in 10 children has emotional difficulties serious enough to require treatment, two-thirds never get help,” said Tomsyck. “Maybe their families can’t afford treatment or they don’t know how to find services. Or maybe the family is unable – or unwilling – to recognize the child’s struggle as a legitimate need for professional help.”

“Most disturbing is the fact that many people do not seek services because of the stigma that remains so prevalent in our society against those with a mental illness. We live in a society where a mental illness is more stigmatizing than having an arrest record. We need to shatter the stigma that prevents people from seeking treatment by continuously raising awareness and educating the public,” she explained.

If something doesn’t seem right or is off with your child, don’t wait to have him/her evaluated. Early identification is important and can make a difference in your child’s life as well as yours,” she added.

How to get help
If your child does need help, how do you start the process? Children are referred to Alexander from hospitals, physicians, parents, schools, and from state and county organizations such as departments of social services and the juvenile justice system.

“Alexander has a full array of services that makes transitions between treatment programs smoother. Valuable relationships have a chance to grow, said Tomsyck. “Positive changes take root and children learn new patterns and behaviors. They improve faster and results last longer. Without a service array like Alexander’s, children are moved repeatedly to get treatment they need. Relationships fragment and treatment becomes difficult.”

“Alexander’s goal is treating, healing and realizing potential. The nearly 9,000 children we care for every year get the help they need to overcome trauma. They go from the kids who are always in trouble to well-adjusted kids who become contributing adults in our society.”

Therapeutic Foster Care
In addition to Children’s Mental Health Awareness Month, May is also National Foster Care Month. At Alexander, we provide Therapeutic Foster Care which differs from traditional foster care. Children who need Therapeutic Foster Care are victims of abuse, neglect and traumatic experiences. They lack the basic human needs of safety, security, trusting relationships and love. Alexander helps children by providing nurturing and structured treatment homes.

Gina Tipton, Executive Director of Therapeutic Homes at Alexander, said, “I’ve been Managing Therapeutic Foster Care for 25 years. Hands down the biggest problem we face is that we don’t have enough treatment parents. We turn down referrals every day! We miss the opportunity to help another child every time we have to turn down a referral. This breaks my heart.”

“We need treatment homes for children who have emotional and behavioral problems,” she continued. “You can be single, married or widowed. You can own your home or rent. We are looking for people of every ethnicity. We need parents who can pass a background check, are emotionally stable and can provide a healing environment.”

What does it take to be a successful treatment parent?

  • Patience
  • Empathy
  • Responsibility
  • Communication
  • Commitment to the belief that hope heals
  • Ability to form positive relationships with others

In Tipton’s opinion, Sandra Bullock’s character said it best in the movie, The Blind Side: “I thought I was changing his life, but when I look back, he changed mine!’’ Those sentiments echo something a long-time Alexander Youth Network treatment parent once told Tipton, “We were able to plant a seed of hope.”

As she reiterated the need for therapeutic foster parents, Tipton concluded that, “Futures can be changed, one child at a time.”

 

Featured Stories

Collaborative Tech Problem Solving – The Power of Numbers – July 2016

Mental Health, Youth and Mass Shootings – October 2015

 

eNews Archive

February 2017

  • Volunteer Spotlight: Carole and Larry Nicholson
  • Speedway Children’s Charities Grant
  • Charlotte Checkers Corporate Cup Charity Game

Previous Issues

 

Financial Publications

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