Opportunities to Thrive
Mental Health Program: BUILD’s Mental Health Program is designed to increase access to mental health care and substance abuse treatment for young people impacted by violence and trauma and address behavioral and social determinants of health and health disparities for the high need youth we serve in five of Chicago’s most challenged communities. BUILD’s MHP now includes three full-time clinicians and a part-time LCSW, who provide behavioral health services through: 1) individual and group therapy and psychosocial skills groups; 2) frontline crisis support and consultation; and 3) establishing referral partnerships and facilitating referrals. Young people come to MHP with a range of mental and behavioral health issues, our clinicians help them address those issues, manage symptoms and develop effective coping skills, self-efficacy and resilience. While treatment plans, strategies and activities vary for individual therapy, depending on each young person’s presenting issue, the program generally focuses on three treatment areas: 1) trauma, 2) grief and loss, and 3) emotional self-regulation, including anger management and distress tolerance. MHP staff use two treatment approaches: traditional talk therapy—and now, art therapy—in both individual and group settings, and within these settings, staff utilize the following evidence-based treatment methodologies: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).
Community Violence Support Services: Launched in 2018 with federal VOCA funding, CVSS provides crisis intervention, case management, and clinical services to youth and families impacted by violence. Additional services include: grief and loss groups for young men and parents whose children have been victims of violence, safety relocations, creation of community healing spaces, and participation in the Austin Response Team, designed to anticipate and address violent situations before they occur and provide resources and support if necessary.
BUILDing Girls 2 Women: BG2W combines intervention and mental health services to dramatically change the life trajectories of highly at-risk teen girls so they avoid crime and violence, succeed in school, and advance to college and careers. Through intensive group and individual support to address trauma, prevent participation in crime and violence, and develop self-esteem, self-efficacy, and social-emotional health, BG2W addresses a critical service gap and ensures these girls receive the support they need to become successful women. Implemented by two female intervention specialists and one master’s-level social worker, BG2W serves four cohorts of 15 girls annually, in intensive 12-week sessions, 3-5 hours per week, in school at our school partners, and after-school and during out-of-school time at BUILD, and in the community. After cohort completion, girls transition to BUILD’s regular programming to continue growth and development. Key program activities include: assessment, individual and group counseling, home visits, intensive one-on-one mentoring, case management, gang detachment and conflict mediation, psychoeducational workshops, healing circles, academic support and cultural and recreational field trips.
Health Navigators: Conduct outreach, awareness, and advocacy to help residents access health benefits and services, knowledge about health issues, and connections to additional resources.
BUILDing Family Connections: Launched with private funding, BFC helps BUILD address an ongoing challenge—engaging parents and guardians of our gang- and justice-involved youth. For BFC, our Intervention and Mental Health Program teams partner to provide a series of workshops, including Know Your Teen, an overview of child development stages and critical milestones designed to help parents recognize, understand, and effectively address typical behaviors in their young person, and Know Your Rights, making parents aware of their rights around school disciplinary cases, including suspension and expulsion, as well as special education needs, and ensuring that caregivers are able to secure additional school services for their youth. A third workshop walks parents through information about the juvenile justice system and court process. Finally, BFC holds social events for families to come together, support, and share their experiences and advice with others experiencing similar issues.