ASK is a non-profit (501c3) organization dedicated to supporting families and improving the system of care for children’s mental health. Through collaboration with families and community partners, we hope to guide this system toward becoming more family-driven, youth-guided, and culturally competent.
We believe that the best support comes from someone who has ‘been there’, and who can personally relate to the obstacles, frustrations, joys and celebrations that go along with raising a child with mood, emotional, or behavioral challenges. As parents of children with mood, behavior, and emotional disorders themselves, our Family Support Partners draw from personal experience and perspective to empower families.
If you need assistance in navigating the mental health, education, juvenile justice or child welfare system, ASK can help.
If you need information or referrals to community resources, ASK can help.
If you want to meet other parents who are going through similar struggles, ASK can help.
If you just need someone who has been there to listen to you, ASK can help.
Remember, raising kids can be tough. If you need help, just ASK!
Our Vision, Mission & Values
Providers and communities partner equally with families and youth to optimize their care and to develop programs and policies affecting all children with mental health challenges.
We assist families and their children who have mood, emotional, and behavioral challenges to understand and navigate services, advocate effectively, and achieve their potential.
ASK is the proud local affiliate of the National Federation of Families for Children's Mental Health
This year, in conjunction with National Children's Mental Health Awareness Week, we sought to break the barriers surrounding children's mental health challenges with a billboard campaign, social media outreach, youth-led awareness projects, and a community event.
However, Children's Mental Health Awareness is important year-round. We hope you agree that together we can create a community wherein all children have the support to reach for their potential, because Children's Mental Health Matters -to them, to their families, and to all of us.
View highlights from our 2012 Community Awareness Campaign below!
YOUTH-LED AWARENESS PIECE:
Youth Advisory Committee Calling All Youth (CAY) worked with Fire Historical and Artistic Collaboritive to create a spoken word performance piece to perform during Awareness Week community events, and a song that they could share with the greater community via social media. Both pieces reflect CAY member's personal experiences and views, and were created to address the stigmas they see in the world
Did you notice something in the air? Maybe you heard buzz on the street?
Could it be you wondered, “What is Normal?”
Welcome to ASK, and thank you for taking the time to find out. The simple answer, in regards to the behaviors of kids, youth, and adolescents, is: nothing and everything.
For a child who has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), excessive energy, impulsivity, or inattention to details can be normal. For a child who has social anxieties, an unwillingness to address teachers or peers can be normal. For an adolescent who has depression, excessive sleeping or changes in eating habits or mood can be normal. For a child who is experiencing the effects of trauma, detachment and irritability unfortunately can be normal.
*images courtesy of Adams Outdoor Advertising.
These sorts of behaviors can occasionally be normal for typically developing children as well. This is why parents and caregivers need to be realistic in assessing what is normal for their children, and vigilant in finding the best supports necessary for their children’s success when they do need help. Community members need to be aware that mental health issues in children are real and are not the result of bad parenting or personality dysfunction, but are in fact neurobiological disorders, or more simply, health conditions. Together we can create a community whereing all children can reach their for their potential, because Children's Mental Health Matters - to them, to their families, and to all of us.
MELTING STIGMA 2012:
This community-wide event held on Friday, May 11th 2012 drew friends & neighbors for a day of ice-cream, awareness, and fun. We served up over 500 cones & T-Shirts with a side of education, witnessed a powerful testimonial to the effects of stigma by members of CAY, and reached individuals who might not have otherwise been hip to the fact that CHILDREN'S MENTAL HEALTH MATTERS! We had a fantastic turnout for our first time in the Arcadia Creek Festival Site in downtown Kalamazoo. It was a great day to be supporting families and we're grateful to everyone who joined us in that effort.