I have spent the majority of my career in mental health, working with youth and young adults, so I know that what happens to you as a child plays a significant role in the person you become. When we’re young, our brain is elastic and ready to adapt to our circumstances. Our surroundings teach us answers to many questions: Do I feel safe? Are my needs being met? Can I trust the people in my world? Who are healthy and safe people? Therapeutic interventions help us unpack the lessons we learned as...

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic there has been an increase in mental health issues like anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder found in women. According to a study at the University of Chicago Medicine, “29% of women reported symptoms of depression and anxiety — nearly twice the estimated pre-pandemic rates. One in six women screened positive for symptoms of post-traumatic stress.” A panel of CHRIS 180 mental health experts including Markie Nickens, LMSW, Shanessa Crook, M.S., CMHC, Cindy Song, LMSW and Chief People Officer Queie Barnett, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, discussed...

CHRIS 180 celebrates women’s role in creating brighter futures for every child, adult, family and community we serve and is proud to have an Executive Leadership Team that is 76% women. In honor of Women’s History Month, three of our leaders shared their reflections on working for and with women­­­­­—and how being women impacts their work. Chantel Kufeji, LMSW, is the Program Director for CHRIS 180’s Migrant Wellness program, which works to reunite unaccompanied minors with their families. Sharing about the strengths of the women and girls she works with, she...

By:  Jessica Travis, M.S. and Brittney Walters, LCSW No matter how hard adults try to shield children from having to encounter distressing news and tragedies, young people will still have access to what is occurring in the world, which can be terrifying for parents. In recent weeks we have seen political and social unrest unfold before our eyes between Russia and Ukraine.  You may have children of your own, nieces and nephews or young people in your life who are  struggling to understand what they are hearing on the news or watching...

The beginning of the year is full of traditions, even during a pandemic. From New Year’s Day, the MLK Holiday Weekend, and just a few weeks later, February kicks off a month-long celebration honoring Black History. The commemoration allows us to pause, acknowledge and revisit the achievements of African Americans throughout history. Many of these achievements still go unspoken in the classroom and in the home. The movement to celebrate Black History was designed to acknowledge the contributions of Black Americans, reverse negative stereotypes, and the systemic exclusion of people of...

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...

Working as a mental health professional can be described as rewarding, exuberating, encouraging and self-satisfying. It can be described as mind-blowing as the picture above illustrates, but also tedious, exhausting and overwhelming. I wanted to write this blog post to share tips with my colleagues and those in our industry so that we can take care of ourselves, while helping others. As a mental health professional, it is important to remember that you are working on the frontlines during the COVID-19 pandemic. You are continuously providing encouragement to the clients and...

Stress is a part of life. However, with COVID-19 being our new normal, along with the recent ongoing struggles for racial justice in the Black community, we have more to be stressed about than ever. Recognizing that you are feeling stressed or may potentially experience stress is important to finding relief. There are no stages to moving through stress. Stress follows no rules. At times you may not realize that the reasons you feel or act as you do are stress-related. When something stresses us out we react emotionally and physically....