The Astor Blog

Author: Carly Hertica

Honoring Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month

In commemoration of Mental Health Awareness Month and Children’s Mental Health Day on May 7, 2015, Astor wants to draw attention to reducing the stigma around mental health, especially for children. 

For too long, the stigma surrounding mental health has prevented many needing treatment from receiving it.

Astor also recognizes the importance of early intervention and diagnoses in reducing the severity of mental illness.

Did You Know?

1 in 5 children, either currently or at some point during their life, have had a seriously debilitating mental disorder. -National Institute of Mental Health

Suicide is a serious public health problem that affects even young people. For youth between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is the third leading cause of death. It results in approximately 4,600 lives lost each year. -Center for Disease Control and Prevention

40% of child abuse and neglect victims, receive no post-investigation services …

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Early Childhood Programs Help Families Blossom

Jeniffer Rivera playing in the sandbox early last summer after attending school. Photo by Joel Weisbrod.

Jeniffer Rivera is just one child who has had a positive experience with Astor’s Early Childhood Programs. A year and a half ago, Jeniffer was introduced to Astor’s programs through the home-based component of our Early Head Start Program. The home-based program consists of a weekly, 90-minute home visit by a Parent Infant Educator (PIE) who supports the parents and child with information and activities on child development, parenting skills, nutrition, and health.

After a year of home visits, Jeniffer began school at our Wingdale location, where center-based nurturing rooms offer small groups of children ranging in age from six weeks through three years opportunities for individualized development through primary care giving, one-on-one routines, and exploration of interesting, safe materials in a child-focused environment.

“School has made Jeniffer blossom. …

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Mugs for Sale

Ceramic mugs made by the children in the Residential Programs were featured during the St. Nick’s Holiday Craft Fair. At the end of eight weeks, over 40 mugs were handcrafted.

“The children imagine someone they don’t even know enjoying their coffee or cocoa in it later on, so they put a lot of heart into each one.”…

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Pet Therapy Incorporated at Astor

For eight years now, volunteer, Pat Cortese, and her Labrador retriever, Angelina, mostly known as Lina, have worked with the children at the Residence in Rhinebeck. Lina is a therapy dog who provides comfort and a sense of safety, and helps keep the children keep calm.

“It is such a rewarding experience. This is such a tiny thing that Lina and I do to help make the children feel good,” Cortese said.

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Family Counseling When You Need It

In 2013, over 1,400 families came in to our Mid-Hudson Valley Counseling Centers to receive assistance. They arrived with an array of challenges which afflict families during difficult times.

Astor’s team faces a tremendous challenge that they hope to overcome: opening the eyes of parents to the role stress plays in their lives and the lives of their children.

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Family Advocates Give Back to Astor

Lisa Flynn, a Family Advocate at Astor Services for Children & Families, recounts her experiences as both the caregiver of a child helped by Astor and her subsequent employment at Astor as a Family Advocate, where she can now help others as she and her family were helped before.

Now I get to work with struggling families and help them, the way I had been helped.  My experiences at Astor as both a client and an employee have been life changing.

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