YES Shares Advice on What Parents Could do to Help Struggling Youth
How adults can help kids avoid stress
The Valentine’s Day shooting massacre at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, stunned millions and has the country on edge.
“I have a fear that we have become immune to these shootings. That this is the way it is. And it doesn’t need to be,” says longtime Youth Eastside Services Executive Director Patti Skelton-McGougan.
The mental health services nonprofit has served youth and families for 50 years. It has staff at 70 Eastside locations, including offices in Bellevue, Redmond and Kirkland; teen and community centers; and at schools in Lake Washington and Bellevue school districts.
In 2017, YES conducted intensive ongoing mental health and/or drug abuse therapy with 6,778 young people, from toddlers to 22-year-olds; and from extreme poverty to the most affluent Eastside ZIP codes.
“I can’t tell you,” she says, “how many major donors, friends or leaders in the community have called me to say, ‘My kid is doing this,’ or, ‘My kid wants to die,’ or ‘My kid just got admitted to the emergency room.’ Many are parents who never dreamed they would call me, are panicked and don’t know what to do.”
On top of that, YES reached a total of 79,768 people with its education and prevention services.
In recent years, Skelton-McGougan has felt a shift – more kids need more help.
“There is something that feels a little different in this day and age. I cannot put my finger on it but it is concerning,” she says. “I truly believe that we shouldn’t just watch TV news and then turn away.”