As we celebrate May is Mental Health Month, we are helping to spread the word that mental health is essential to everyone’s overall health and well-being, and mental illnesses are common and treatable.

Oftentimes people, especially young people, struggling with mental health concerns develop habits and behaviors that increase the risk of developing or exacerbating mental illnesses, or that could be signs of mental health problems themselves.

Mental disorders are common among children in the United States, and can be particularly difficult for the children themselves and their caregivers.  In the state of Georgia alone, 182,702 children and adolescents live with a serious mental illness.  Just over 20% (or 1 in 5) of youth ages 13-18, either currently or at some point during their life, will have had a seriously mental illness.

We recently discussed children’s mental health with Janel Allen, DeKalb CSB’s Child & Adolescent System of Care Coordinator.  In her role, Janel provides direct care coordination, case management and skill building to youth (ages 3-18) and their families.

What do you enjoy most about your role with DeKalb CSB?

I enjoy making connections and working with other agencies to increase the level of service and resources for children and families in the community, states Janel.

Throughout my work I’ve seen children who didn’t receive opportunities early in life simply because families didn’t know about the services available to them.  I enjoy identifying these gaps and finding resources and solutions to fill them.

Oftentimes parents are afraid to seek help for their child who may be experiencing a mental illness.  What are your thoughts on that?

If your child has any medical issue like asthma or diabetes you would get treatment with no questions asked.   It’s the same thing for any mental health.  At the end of the day treatment reduces symptoms. 

When parents are unsure about treatment we work to educate them about how their child’s quality of life can improve if they receive treatment.  We also work to involve parents in the treatment by making sure that they fully understand the process and purpose for any services.

If a parent has concerns about their child or loved one’s mental or behavioral health what should they do?

If you would like to seek help or speak to someone about difficulties that your child or loved one may be experiencing, contact DeKalb CSB Central Access at 404-892-4646 to speak with an Intake Counselor.   The intake counselor will schedule an in person assessment at our Winn Way Children & Adolescent Intake Office.   From there, the counselor will work with you to identify a location for continued services from one of our three Child & Adolescent Centers:

Clifton Springs
3110 Clifton Springs Road
Decatur, GA 30034

Winn Way
445 Winn Way
Decatur, GA  30030

North DeKalb
3807 Clairmont Road, NE
Chamblee, GA  30341

Learn more about DeKalb CSB’s Children and Adolescent Services here or contact us at 404-892-4646.