VYH Prevention & Intervention featured in Lehigh Valley Magazine

Article originally published in Lehigh Valley Magazine (MAR/APR 2015):

“Another Lehigh Valley organization bringing support to floundering families is Valley Youth House (VYH).  The organization provides 17 office sites throughout Pennsylvania’s northeast region and a worthwhile mission to “provide prevention and intervention services, counseling, life skills, and behavioral health services” to families of all backgrounds.

VYH offers several programs, including: Project Child, which provides parenting education and support (among other services) including a weekly parenting advice column called “Help for Families” and Youth Help Cards (wallet-sized cards containing contact information of social services commonly needed by young adults); a student assistance program, which supplies school-based mental health counseling; a family intervention program, which offers in-home services to families dealing with substance abuse issues; and a youth education program, which delivers a research-based drug prevention program.

Additionally offered through VYH are parent support classes (with free child care), family counseling programs and educational forums with pertinent lectures on identifying “normal” teen angst, managing depression, understanding eating disorders in adolescents and responding to cyber-bullying.

Anne Adams, senior Vice President of Prevention and Intervention Services with VYH, agrees with Goff that teens should seek the help of an adult they trust.  This help may not always come from within the home, as some teens deal with the additional burden of parents with their own mental health or substance abuse issues.  She urges teens “floundering without a positive role model” to speak with a school counselor or coach if they find themselves in such a seemingly hopeless situation.

To parents attempting to communicate, Adams says, “Never give up!… Stay involved, and know your child’s friends and what they are doing when they are away from home.” She advises listening without judging or criticizing and seeking advice or assistance from professionals when at a loss.  “In general, the better-functioning teens are those with a sense of family attachment, a belief in moral order and a sense of pro-social involvement” gained through participation in sports or school activities.

Goff agrees, “When we see families that are supportive, involve and active in their children’s lives, we see those teens become successful and able to handle the demands and issues that are presented to teens these days.”

Not all worries require professional help.  Treating every concern as a huge dilemma can often do more harm than good, causing children and young adults to view the world as unsafe.  But when worries continue or worsen, it could be a sign that you and your teen would benefit from professional help.”