Alejandra: A Wraparound Success Story

Alejandra: A Wraparound Success Story

When the Care Coordinator at Lookout Mountain Community Services met 13-year-old Alejandra,* she was depressed, rarely leaving her bedroom or getting out of her pajamas, and showing her mom photos of people she’d learned had taken their own lives. She’d almost completely stopped going to school, even though her ESOL teacher had asked her to sign an attendance contract. The Care Coordinator told Alejandra how building a wraparound team of support could help her, and discovered she loved animals. The Care Coordinator also encouraged her to go to counseling, where she revealed to the counselor that a couple of other students at school had threatened to hurt her. The wraparound team applauded Alejandra in sharing this, and helped get her started with equine therapy sessions. At equine therapy, she learned to build a relationship with a horse and use her voice to motivate it to go where she wanted to ride. After a couple of months, Alejandra agreed to meet with school officials to identify who had threatened her, and school counselors remarked how Alejandra had gotten stronger in communicating her needs. Now Alejandra is thriving again in school and wants to become a flight attendant. The wraparound team believes Alejandra had what it took to succeed, and just needed support to help her. If you know someone who could benefit from this kind of support, call Tommy for northern Georgia at 423-618-6767 or email to complete a referral for free wraparound services. For southern Georgia, call Anna at 478-283-7777 or email to complete a referral. You can also click on for more information.

• Name changed

Cuando el Coordinador de atención de Lookout Mountain Community Services se reunió con Alejandra, de 13 años de edad, estaba deprimida, raramente salía de su dormitorio o salía de su pijama, y mostraba a sus madres fotos de personas que había aprendido que habían tomado sus propias vidas. Casi por completo dejó de ir a la escuela, a pesar de que su profesor de ESOL le había pedido que firmara un contrato de asistencia. La Coordinadora de cuidados le dijo a Alejandra que la construcción de un equipo de apoyo podría ayudarla, y descubrió que amaba a los animales. El Coordinador de cuidado también la animó a ir a consejería, donde ella reveló al consejero que un par de otros estudiantes en la escuela habían amenazado lastimarla. El equipo envuelto aplaudió a Alejandra al compartir esto, y ayudó a que comenzara con sesiones de terapia equina. En la terapia equina, aprendió a construir una relación con un caballo y a usar su voz para motivarla a ir adonde ella quería montar.

Después de un par de meses, Alejandra aceptó reunirse con los oficiales de la escuela para identificar quién la había amenazado, y los consejeros de la escuela comentaron cómo Alejandra se había fortalecido en la comunicación de sus necesidades. Ahora Alejandra está prosperando de nuevo en la escuela y quiere convertirse en una azafata. El equipo envolvente cree que Alejandra tuvo lo necesario para triunfar, y sólo necesitaba apoyo para ayudarla. Si conoce a alguien que pueda beneficiarse de este tipo de apoyo, llame a Faith a 423-582-8331 o envíe un correo electrónico a para completar una remisión para servicios de envolvente gratuitos.

• Cambio de nombre

Youth Art & Poetry Contest for Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

From: Sue Smith, Georgia Mental Health Consumer Network

Annual Art & Poetry Contest

Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma
Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day

The Georgia Freight Depot
65 M.L.K. Jr Dr SW, Atlanta, GA 30303

All elementary, middle and high school aged youth are encouraged to participate. It’s as Easy as 1-2-3!

  1. Enter one of two categories: Visual Art or Creative Writing
  2. Entries must illustrate the theme: Partnering for Health and Hope Following Trauma
  3. Submit entry form with art work or poem before April 20, 2018

Entry Form

Please contact Sheena Biggerstaff (404) 758-4500 ext. 107

DHS Youth Empowerment Series for High School Students – Deadline April 13

From: Deshane.Velasquez, Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS)

The Georgia Department of Human Services (DHS) Youth Empowerment Series (YES) is accepting applicants for the 2018-19 school year, and we would love to have high school students from your community be a part of our program!

YES offers students an opportunity to participate in several workshops centered on youth development and engagement, such as goal setting, public speaking, resume building and community service activities. The core values underlying the program seek to provide youth with a blueprint to implement change in their community. Students in the program will provide their input and insight on current issues, build workforce skills and develop as leaders. Through career panels, networking and participation, students in the program will also gain exposure to policy and understand how DHS serves Georgians.


During the sessions, we will introduce the services offered by DHS. Students will hear from representatives that work in our divisions of Aging Services, Child Support Services and Family and Children Services. Then, students will be given a chance to provide their input and insight on these services. For more information, the program details can be found at


The application for participation can be found at The deadline to apply is April 13th.

Please note: Accepted students must commit to attending four Saturday sessions in their region of the state throughout the 2018-19 school year. Transportation is required.


For any questions, please feel free to contact or 404-463-0745.

CARES 28 Workshops Announced

From Georgia Council on Substance Abuse:

What is CARES?

CERTIFIED ADDICTION RECOVERY EMPOWERMENT SPECIALIST (CARES) VISION We envision a recovery-oriented system of care that supports self-directed pathways to recovery by building on the strengths and resilience of individuals, families and communities. MISSION The mission of Georgia CARES is to promote long-term recovery from substance use disorders by providing experienced peer support and advocating for self-directed care. WHAT The Certified Addiction Recovery Empowerment Specialist (CARES) is a training program parallel to the mental health certified peer specialist program and began in September, 2010, through a contract with the Department of Behavioral Health & Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD). This training program is part of an ongoing effort to create a recovery-oriented system of care where peer-based recovery support is used as a fundamental part of community-based services that enhance the treatment and recovery experience. This is a 40-hour (one-week) training course, that is followed by continuing support of CARES Faculty, trained peers & supervisors. WHO People in recovery who are interested in becoming a CARES must apply through the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse and be approved by the CARES Selection Subcommittee.

CARES Academy Workshops

The cornerstone of a recovery-oriented system of care is (ROSC) is a vibrant, well-trained peer workforce. The CARES/ROSC Workshop introduces concepts of peer recovery support to members of the recovery community, and provides them with assistance in preparing for the written and interview portions of the CARES Academy application process.

February Workshops*:

  • February 2, Decatur
  • February 8, Morrow
  • February 10, Lawrenceville
  • February 15, Atlanta
  • February 17, Gainesville

Register here for a CARES Academy Workshop

*Time and location information is on the registration page.

CARES Academy 28 April 16-20, 2018

March 5th – Applications due to the Georgia Council on Substance Abuse through our online application system.

For more information about CARES, please visit the GCSA website HERE



Seize the Awkward

Talking about mental health can be really uncomfortable, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be as simple as asking a friend or someone you care about, “Hey, are you ok?”

To make it a little easier for us all to get through those awkward moments, the Ad Council, American Society for Suicide Prevention, and the JED Foundation teamed up to create an awesome new site, Seize the Awkward.

Seize the Awkward is full of tips for how to recognize if someone you love is going through a hard time and ways you can start the conversation. There are even personal stories from people like Tyler Posey (Teen Wolf) and Liza Koshy (Freakish) about how friends helped them through difficult times and how talking through those awkward moments can make all the difference.

So go ahead, seize that awkward moment, you, and your friend, will be so glad you did.


Youth CPS-Y Announcement – January 2018

From Dana McCrary, Parent & Youth Peer Specialist Coordinator, DBHDD:

The Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities (DBHDD), Office of Children, Young Adults & Families and the Office of Recovery Transformation (ORT) is pleased to announce that registration is now open for the upcoming Youth Certified Peer Specialist (CPS-Y) training. This five-day event is scheduled for the week of January 22nd- January 26th . This training is intended for enrollees who meet the lived experience expectations outlined below.

  • Be 18-26 years of age; provide a copy of this document or valid Georgia ID;
  • Have a mental health (MH) , substance use disorder (SUD), or a co-occurring diagnosis; and a strong desire to identify themselves as a person living with a mental illness or substance use diagnosis (current or former person receiving behavioral health services);
  • Be able to advocate for themselves;
  • Have a high school diploma or GED; provide a copy of these documents;
  • Be able/willing to actively seek and manage their own appropriate care; and
  • Be able to share their own personal story in a safe and appropriate way.
  • Must be well grounded in recovery wellness (At least one year between diagnosis and application to training) and/or one year continuous abstinent from substance use
  • Provide (1) letter of reference (please include contact information)

The Application below, along with documentation must be submitted by
Friday, January 5, 2018 at 5:00 p.m.

Applicants will be interviewed January 10th and January 11th

Webinar: Navigating School and Work with a Serious Mental Health Condition

Announcement from Transitions RTC:

Navigating School and Work with a Serious Mental Health Condition:
It Can Be a Bumpy Ride

Thursday, September 14, 2017
12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHC) face delays in participating or are prevented from participating in settings where career development and exploration activities typically occur. Little is still known about how young adults navigate these activities while also managing a SMHC.

In this webinar, you'll hear about experiences of young adults with SMHC as they learn how to navigate life, including their success and challenges with educational and employment activities. 

The young people with SMHC featured in this webinar provide retrospectives of a) their education, training, and employment experiences, b) how those activities developed over time, and c) how contextual life circumstances (e.g., family history, experiences with SMHC) and pivotal life events (e.g., hospitalization) may have influenced these activities.

Join Transitions RTC's Kathryn Sabella, Laura Golden, and Emma Pici D'Ottavio for this insightful and informative webinar! 

Resource: Support After Irma

Storms and natural disasters can have a profound impact on our emotional well-being, and it is natural to feel a range of emotions, from stress to anxiety or depression, after the event is over. For many, these feelings of distress are short-term and will resolve over time. However, for others, especially children and young people, these feelings could last longer and have an impact on their relationships with others, school, work, and other aspects of daily life.

Talking with someone about these feelings can often help speed the recovery process and reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness. The trained counselors at Disaster Distress Helpline provide 24/7, year-round crisis counseling and support to people experiencing emotional distress related to natural or human-caused disasters.

If you or someone you love is experiencing signs of distress,
call the Disaster Distress Helpline at 1-800-985-5990.

Webinar: “There is no place like home” Surviving the storm

EmpowerMEnt & GA RYSE-ILP Presents:

"There is no place like home!" What to do in an emergency!

September 19th, 2017 5:30pm- 6:30pm


In light of recent events, we are modifying topics this month to go over some life skills that are needed wherever you go. We will be talking about what to do in the case of an accident or natural disaster. Brothers, Sisters & adult supporters please tune into be informed.

All webinars will be the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm (unless otherwise noted).