As I look back on the year 2019, I see a year filled with hope. Hope in our clinicians who showed our clients they are not alone and together they overcame many hardships. Hope in our donors who selflessly supported our mission because they have seen firsthand the effects of mental illness. Hope in our community members who offered compassion and care to our children and families. What a wonderful year it has been.
As an agency we…
• created a strategic plan for the years 2019-2023. This strategic plan proposes our core investments in programs and services to advance our mission. In the next four years, we seek to improve the quality of life and other outcomes for highly acute clients, advance population level behavioral health and wellness, take an active role in shaping the systems of care and become the leading trauma-informed agency in the county.
• expanded our It’s About T.I.M.E. (Trauma Informed Movement in Education) program to include a second full-time therapist. Stevie McBride, LMFT, was a clinician in The Guidance Center’s Long Beach Outpatient program for six and a half years. Now, as a trauma-informed consultant, Stevie supports educators and administrators as they help students regulate their emotions and behaviors and cope after experiencing trauma. We also began a partnership with another elementary school, Barton Elementary, located in North Long Beach. And, our pre-doctoral interns now spend one day each week in the classroom supporting the It’s About T.I.M.E. program, working closely teachers and staff.
• implemented two sophisticated treatment models that target the entire system: Attachment, Self-Regulation, and Competency (ARC) for youth with complex trauma and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) for youth who use self-harm to manage intense emotions. Staff training in these specific treatment models will be able to support clients dealing with multiple traumas like not having enough food, being afraid to play outside due to community violence and worrying if their parents can pay the rent. In these treatment models, ARC and DBT, youth are able to ask for help from their therapists before they decide to engage in self-harm and therapists find support from one another when they are discouraged.
• increased the number of Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings we are providing each year. Thanks to a generous grant we received from Blue Shield of California, we can now offer five trainings throughout the year. Youth Mental Health First Aid is a public education program that teaches a 5-step action plan to introduce participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents. The 8-hour training also builds understanding of the importance of early intervention and teaches individuals how to help a youth in crisis.
• provided therapeutic services to more than 1,000 clients through our Clinician in Jail program. This program is a partnership with the Justice Lab by the City of Long Beach’s Innovation team. A first-of-its-kind program that aims to help break the cycle of incarceration by providing tools to first responders who can divert individuals to resources and services. As a part of the program, a mental health professional from The Guidance Center provides therapeutic services in a jail setting that assess, connect and divert individuals to care.
• continue to be grateful for our close collaborative partnership with the pediatric care teams at MemorialCare Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital and pediatric physicians in the community. Because of these special partnerships, our Whole Child Program psychologists have been able to provide evidence-based mental health treatment for vulnerable families with complex healthcare needs in the community setting (i.e. at the hospital, at home, at medical appointments, at school). The Guidance Center is unique in its provision of these specialized services, and in its transformative collaboration with MemorialCare.
The achievements we made this year would not have been possible without each person who played an integral role in our mission. When a therapist makes a child feel safe enough to share their feelings or when a donor buys presents for a family so they have new toys to play with over the holidays, I am encouraged and reminded that the work we do matters. I ask that you continue supporting us in the New Year and help us keep providing hope to those who need it most.
Patricia Costales, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer