James*, a young boy in Springfield, was having issues at school. He wasn’t listening in class, got into fights and had been suspended. He needed help dealing with his feelings, his anger and his struggles at home.
James*, a young boy in Springfield, was having issues at school. He wasn’t listening in class, got into fights and had been suspended. He needed help dealing with his feelings, his anger and his struggles at home. With help and early intervention by Erika Garlisch, a Children’s MOSAIC Project clinician, James was able to make a change for the better at school and begin to feel happier and healthier. The health and well-being of children is the heart of the Children’s MOSAIC Project – a community-wide partnership led by Mental Health Centers of Central Illinois, now known as Memorial Behavioral Health. The goal of this project is to make mental health services easier to access in Springfield. “By taking services and resources to children in their own natural environment – schools, neighborhoods and at physician offices - we are better able to support kids and families,” Garlisch said. The Children’s MOSAIC Project serves as a connecting link between schools, teachers, families and students. At several schools in Springfield, a clinician is onsite every day to screen children for any mental health issues. “James had a high score on our social and emotional screening tool and was referred for MOSAIC therapy services,” explained Garlisch. “He was such a neat kid, but he was impulsive. MOSAIC offered help and support - at the school- for both James and his family.” James’ parents lived in different households, but both of them worked together with Garlisch to learn new skills so they could help James deal with feelings and change his behavior at school and at home. “Kids don’t come with a ‘how-to’ manual. Sometimes things can get off track. The family needed some tips on ways to do things differently, consistently,” emphasized Garlisch. “Things like providing James support and rewards, but also setting rules and age-appropriate consequences that are enforced if the rules are broken.” Connecting children and MOSAIC clinicians at school helps remove barriers to getting help, such as transportation, missing classroom and time off from work for the parents. “When Mom wasn’t at an appointment, Dad came – they didn’t miss any appointments. James talked about things that were important to him,” said Garlisch. “The things that made him feel better.” Outside of school, his parents made sure that the environment in both households was supportive and consistent. “The support, communication and participation at all levels helped James graduate – I’m proud of him,” said Garlisch. “James is doing great.” *The child's name has been changed to protect confidentiality.