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This list is adapted from Partners in Healing, a booklet developed by the Partnership for After School Education and Youth Communication. We are grateful to PASE for allowing us to use material from the booklet. We are also grateful to the Stella and Charles Guttman Foundation which funded the booklet, and to the Robin Hood Foundation and the Tiger Foundation, which also supported the Partners in Healing Project.
At the end of this section we provide a list of clinics all across the city. If you want to get help in your neighborhood, you may find a good clinic listed. There is also a program called LifeNet (see below) that can help you find the right services.
If you've been in foster care, you've probably encountered a lot of pain and trauma that can leave you feeling depressed or anxious or angry. It can also lead you to substance abuse, or other unhealthy ways of trying to deaden the pain. Mental health services can help you deal, become happier, and feel more in control in ways that are healthier. Take advantage of the resources that are out there.
The Fostering Connection is a nonprofit organization that provides FREE mental health services to young adults affected by foster care. The Fostering Connection has many private practice therapists who volunteer their services. They are carefully screened and The Fostering Connection will match a therapist with any young person who is or has been in foster care at any time. This therapist will work with the young person for as long as the relationship is needed or wanted—all at no charge. If you are currently in foster care (or have aged out), and would like to find a therapist through The Fostering Connections, contact the Clinical Director at 212-255-8895. [Note: Therapists who would like to become volunteers at The Fostering Connection may also call this number.]
The Youth Counseling League is a clinic for youth up to age 18. They offer help for a wide range of emotional problems and diagnoses. They have individual and group therapy for young people, plus individual, group, or family treatment for adult family members of those in treatment. (They also have satellite clinics in eight Manhattan public high schools.) Call 212-481-2500. Address: 386 Park Avenue South, Suite 401 (near 27th St).
What Is Mental Health?
Being in good mental health means being able to cope effectively with day-to-day problems in life. And it means being basically happy. When a person is mentally healthy, he or she is able to make good decisions about relationships with others and caring for himself or herself, and to feel reasonably good about those decisions. Each person has certain strengths and stressors in his or her life. When you can handle the stress and problems that life presents without major disruption, you’re in basically good mental health.
When people have a fever or a cold, they have a physical health problem. Similarly, when people frequently feel sad, find it difficult to concentrate, or feel overwhelmed by life’s daily problems, they have a mental (or emotional) health problem. As with physical problems, emotional problems can be mild, such as occasional sadness, or severe, such as weeks or months of feeling low.
Mental health problems are very common and affect 1 in every 5 young people at any given time. But an estimated two-thirds of all young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need. If you feel you need help—get it!
Teen Videos, Polls and More
It can be hard to bring up your mental health struggles to another person. NYC's teen site has video stories by teens, polls, and statistics covering teen depression, suicidal thoughts, and more. This may be a good place to start privately exploring the way you feel.
Who Can Help? What Kind of Help Is Best?
Just as physical illness or injury can be addressed through physical therapy, mental health issues can be addressed through self-help, counseling, and various kinds of therapy. Mental health problems, like physical problems, can also be treated with medication. Medication can help some people feel more in control of their feelings.
Self-Help – Sometimes you can help yourself, without a counselor. If you are feeling sad or upset and you are able to do things to feel better on your own, then you may not need to seek outside help. Some people find, for example, that writing down feelings or exercising regularly can provide relief.
Help from Peers – There are two main ways to get help from peers: informal help by reaching out to people you know, or taking part in a peer self-help group. Talking to friends may be enough to help you get through a lonely or sad time. If the problem is more serious, a peer self-help group, facilitated by an adult professional, may be useful. The youth in the group share their experiences and support each other.
Help from Community Members – There are many people who may be helpful during a difficult emotional time—school counselors, teachers, clergy, coaches, mentors, caseworkers, and after school staff members. Some of these adults may have training in related areas and be able to provide the help needed. They also may be able to help evaluate the situation and, if needed, refer you to other services.
Professional Help – There are three main kinds of professionals who have been trained to help people with mental health issues: social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists. All have specific training in the field of mental health and can provide support, advice, and individual assistance in helping people cope with problems. In seeking help for a young person, it may be important to determine that the provider has had experience working with youth.
Social Workers typically have a Masters degree and provide counseling services.
Psychologists have Doctoral degrees and are able to provide counseling and testing services.
Psychiatrists are medical doctors with special training in mental health issues. Psychiatrists are able to conduct therapy sessions, as well as prescribe medication. A psychologist or social worker may refer a patient to a psychiatrist to evaluate and prescribe medication, while continuing to see the person for counseling sessions.
(Adapted from Youth Communication’s The Teen Guide to Getting Help, copyright © Youth Communication)
What Kinds of Therapy or Counseling are Available?
Counseling or therapy is a process where people explore their feelings, their behavior, and what is going on in their lives because they want to find ways to feel better and handle their problems differently. If you get into formal counseling or therapy, you’ll probably take part in individual, group, or family counseling. If problems are severe, a person may be hospitalized.
Individual Counseling – You meet one-on-one with a counselor. You usually meet regularly, at least once a week, for anywhere from a few weeks, to months or years, depending on the issues you are working on.
Group Counseling – A group of people sharing common problems, concerns, and questions who meet regularly to discuss their thoughts and feelings and to listen and support each other.
Family Counseling – Two or more family members will meet together and/or separately with a counselor to discuss conflicts, issues, and communication in the family. The counselor helps the family members deal with important issues without taking sides.
Hospitalization – If a person is experiencing severe mental health problems, such as strong feelings of hopelessness or loss of control, or an inability to quit using drugs, hospitalization may be necessary. Hospitalization gives a person the chance to get more intensive services.
What If You Feel Uncomfortable?
One goal of therapy is to help you solve some of life’s problems, and to think differently about the problems you can’t solve, so that you won’t blame yourself for them. When this happens successfully, your self-esteem usually starts to rise. It may be very uncomfortable, however, to look at and talk about problems in your life.
If you begin to feel uncomfortable in therapy, or are concerned you are not making progress, don’t quit or jump immediately to another therapist. Discuss these issues with your therapist. Therapists are willing to talk with you about whether they are meeting your needs.
It is important in therapy to gradually face hard issues about yourself or others in your life. Sometimes the best therapist is the one who is demanding and occasionally makes you feel pretty uncomfortable. The times when you feel the most uncomfortable or want “out” of therapy may be the times when you’re making the most progress. At those times, it can be hard to figure out whether you don’t like the therapist, or whether you don’t like the issues that you are being asked to think about. Therapists usually have your best interests at heart, even if they make you feel uncomfortable. It takes time to develop trust in a new relationship and to become comfortable sharing feelings, so be patient, and give your therapist and yourself some time.
However, if you’ve given it an honest try and still don’t feel you can trust your therapist, or if you don’t feel like you’re making progress over time, you may need to seek a new one.
When you talk with someone about your personal issues, you probably won’t want them sharing that information without your permission. It’s a good idea to ask the therapist in your first session about confidentiality. For example, will they share your conversations with your parents? With other people in the agency? Will they share some information but not other information?
In general, because of legal considerations, people who offer licensed psychological counseling (psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers) can offer much more confidentiality than informal counselors, like teachers and mentors. You need to ask them who they share information with and why, so that you can make your own decisions about what you share with your counselor.
How to Use this List
List of Clinics, By Borough
Bellevue Hospital Center Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Clinic
Beth Israel Medical Center/Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Outpatient Services
Catholic Charities Community Service
Children's Aid Society
Children's Aid Society-East Harlem Center
Children's Aid Society-Lord Memorial Building Clinic
Children's Aid Society-Mirabal Sisters Campus
Children's Aid Society-PS 8
Children's Aid Society-Salomé Ureña de Henriquez Campus
Dunlevy Milbank Center/Milbank Medical Group
Educational Alliance-East Village
Educational Alliance-Lower East Side
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services-
Gouverneur Healthcare Services
Gouverneur/Roberto Clemente Family Guidance Center
Graham-Windham Manhattan Mental Health Clinic
Grand Street Settlement
Harlem Children's Zone
Harlem Hospital Child & Adolescent Outpatient Clinic
Hudson Guild Outpatient Mental Health Clinic
Inwood Community Services
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Community Counseling Services
Karen Horney Clinic
Lenox Hill Hospital
Metropolitan Hospital Center
Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of New York-Presbyterian
Mount Sinai Adolescent Health Center
The Puerto Rican Family Institute
St. Luke's and Roosevelt Hospitals-Child & Family Institute
Union Settlement Mental Health Services
Emma L. Bowen Community Service Center
William F. Ryan Mental Health Department
BronxWorks - Homebase Program
Children's Aid Society-Bronx Family Center
Children's Aid Society-Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom Schools
Counseling & Psychotherapy of Throggs Neck
East Side House Settlement
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services-The Academy
Good Shepherd Services-North Bronx Family Services Center
Good Shepherd Services-Neighborhood Family Empowerment Center
Good Shepherd Services-Beacon MS 45 Counseling Prevention Program
Graham-Windham Mental Health Family Permanency Planning Services
Hunts Point Multi-Service Center
Independent Consultation Center
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Riverdale Office
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Pelham Office
Jewish Board of Family and Child Services-Co-Op City Family Services
Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center
Montefiore Medical Center-Department of Child
Montefiore Medical Center-Adolescent Depression and Suicide Clinic
The Children's Hospital at Montefiore
Riverdale Mental Health Association/ Child and Family Program
South Bronx MH Council, Inc.
Sound View Throgs Neck Community Mental Health Center
St. Barnabas/Fordham-Tremont Community Mental Health Center
University Consultation & Treatment Center for Mental Hygiene
Beverly Mack Harry Consulting Services
Brooklyn Center for Families in Crisis
Brooklyn Children's Center
Brooklyn Community Services
Brooklyn Psychiatric Center
Brooklyn Psychiatric Center-Clearway
Brooklyn Psychiatric Centers-Bushwick Mental Health Center
Brooklyn Psychiatric Centers-Canarsie Mental Health Clinic
Center for Family Life in Sunset Park
Children of the City
Community Counseling & Mediation
East New York Diagnostic & Treatment Center
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services
Good Shepherd Services-Family Reception Center
Good Shepherd Services-Red Hook Community Center Family Counseling Services (PS 15)
Good Shepherd Services-Single Stop Service Center
Heart Share Human Services of New York
Institute for Community Living-Guidance Center of Brooklyn
Institute for Community Living-Guidance Center of Brooklyn Heights
Institute for Community Living-Highland Park Clinic
Institute for Community Living-Rockaway Parkway Clinic
Interfaith Medical Center-Child and Adolescent Clinic
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Doris L. Rosenberg Counseling Center/Southern Brooklyn Office
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Boro Park Counseling Center
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Break-Free Adolescent Services
Jewish Board of Family and Child Services-Bay Ridge Counseling Center
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Neptune Family Services
Kings County Hospital Center
Lutheran Medical Center-Sunset Terrace Family Health Center
Maimonides Medical Center Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic
National Neighborhood Counseling Center
New York Methodist Hospital
Ohel Children's Home & Family Services
Ohel Children's Home & Family Services-Tikvah Center
Woodhull Medical Center
Catholic Charities-Woodside Clinic & Mobile Outreach Team
Elmhurst Hospital Child & Adolescent OPC
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services
(FEGS) Federation of Employment & Guidance Services-Project COPE
Flushing Hospital Medical Center Outpatient Mental Health Clinic
Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement House
Jewish Board of Family & Family Services-Pride of Judea Counseling Center
Joseph P. Addabbo Mental Health Clinic
Queens Child Guidance Center
Queens Child Guidance Center-Flushing Clinic
Queens Child Guidance Center-Jamaica Clinic
Queens Child Guidance Center-Kew Hills Clinic
Queens Child Guidance Center-South Jamaica Clinic
Queens Child Guidance Center-Woodside Clinic
Queens Hospital Child & Adolescent Clinic
South Asian Youth Action (SAYA!)
Steinway Child & Family Services: Martin DePorres Clinic
Steinway Children & Family Services: Howard Beach Clinic
Child Study Center of New York
Children's Aid Society-Goodhue Center
Jewish Board of Family & Child Services-Morris Black Community Counseling Center
South Beach Psychiatric Center-South Richmond Outpatient Services
Staten Island Mental Health Society
Staten Island Mental Health Society-South Shore Center
Staten Island Mental Health Society-Family Support Center
Staten Island University Hospital-Children & Adolescent Outpatient Clinic