Grief is often pushed aside quickly in American culture.  You lose a loved one, you have a funeral or memorial service within a week and people go back to their regular schedules. I’m sure most people reading this have lost one or many loved ones in their lifetime. Do you remember the “fog” you were in? Do you remember the disbelief you felt that the person died? Some people go into shock which is a way for the body to protect itself. These experiences are normal when a death occurs. Then comes...

Often when the term Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is used, it is associated with members of the military, especially war veterans. As times change and people become more familiar with trauma and its impact on each of our lives, we are starting to recognize just how the stress connected to past and present events impacts our daily lives. How does PTSD affect the brain? PTSD is often accompanied by a significant psychological shock. First, it is essential to understand that considerable stress and trauma, when experienced or witnessed, puts the brain in...

Michelle’s Story When Michelle lost her housing, a friend told her about CHRIS 180 and our Drop-In Center. The Drop-In Center provides a range of free services for youth ages 16-24 who are experiencing homelessness. These services include meals, life coaching, job and housing assistance and walk-in therapy sessions. But Michelle was hesitant. She had just come out as a trans woman and worried about reaching out for help and being met with judgment. However, when Michelle arrived at the Drop-In Center for the first time, she was surrounded by a welcoming...

Children are small people with very big emotions. Although they can show you what they are feeling, most children have yet to attach a name to their feelings and have not learned healthy ways of dealing with their emotions. As children grow, they face many challenges and obstacles. Therefore, it is important to promote healthy social and emotional development by helping children identify and name their feelings, and sharing methods to help them cope effectively.   Why should I promote emotional awareness in my child early?  Promoting early emotional awareness helps your child...

Valancia Abdullah considers it her calling to care for youth who some may think of as “challenged.” After working with special needs students at Atlanta Public Schools, in 2000, she joined CHRIS 180’s foster care program. She serves as a Resident Assistant. The kids affectionately refer to her as Ms. Val. “The RA to me is just like being a mom in care: we have to make sure their needs are met,” Abdullah shared. “They look up to us. They’re learning from us. Kids who are grown now have come back...

Over and over I’ve heard people remark that they were so ready for 2020 to be over. And with the start of the new year, we are all looking forward to a better 2021 -  a new beginning, a path to recovery. At the same time, there just might be some things that we learned in 2020 and that are gifts. So, I am curious and reflecting on these questions over the next few weeks: What did I learn?  What do I want to keep?  In what ways was I...

‘Tis the season to pause and reflect on the past year as a new one approaches, and oh what a year it has been! 2020 started off as a promising new decade, with exciting goals, dreams and resolutions. But as we all know, a few months into it, all our hopes and plans came to a screeching halt as we entered a time of unfamiliarity and fear. The COVID-19 pandemic forced us to face life with a new mindset. This disruption affected each of us differently. To many, it meant...

If this year has taught me anything, it is that there is a lot of stuff I cannot change. That realization has brought on frequent feelings of powerlessness, helplessness and frustration. It has also sometimes brought about anger, sadness and a downright desire to just throw my hands up in the air and say, “forget it all!” 2020: The Year of Uncertainty For most of us, this year has brought with it an onslaught of new stressors that could be enough to take the most positive, happy, successful, highly functioning person and...

Many women can often feel like we have the world on our shoulders. We often carry not only our stress but the stress of our loved ones and those closest to us. Often, women can feel isolated, unsupported, and even depressed because of various challenges. Over time, women often become desensitized to these feelings as we accept this as the norm as opposed to true clinical depression or anxiety. Below are some common symptoms of depression and anxiety. Feelings of emptiness, hopelessness, sadness, or suicidal thoughts or attempts Irritability, anxiousness,...

If summer is your favorite time of year and you dread the upcoming winter – you may want to stop reading here -- or you might want to read on for hope.  Slowly, gradually, the sunny days of summer (despite the COVID-19 pandemic) are fading into the vicissitudes of autumn. Gradually, the shades of lime green, forest green, spring green and emerald green, fern and shamrock green in the canopy of leaves above are transforming.  The leaves look increasingly yellow and golden in the sunlight, with splotches of red and orange. ...