Mental Health Resources for Families in Westchester

Westchester Mental Health Resources
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Mental Health Resources for Families in Westchester

May is Mental Health Awareness Month in America, recognized since 1949 as a time to discuss the importance of our mental health and overall well-being. Discussions of mental health are constantly evolving and noticeably for the better. Today, in 2024, discussing mental health in society has become much more widely accepted and isn’t as stigmatized as it once was. We may often find ourselves having conversations on mental health with our friends and families, and we applaud those who speak up about mental health topics. As an example, here at Westchester Family, we recognize that the topic of mental health is not new to those who enter motherhood. Today, mothers show strength and resilience in being more open about their experiences with postpartum depression and the overall reality of motherhood. These conversations illuminate, educate, and build community with those around us and are significant discussion topics for mental health.

While being open is a win for everyone, we may feel comfortable discussing mental health but may not know where to go to continue our journey. It’s essential to know of spaces and resources close to home that will serve us in continuing our mental health journey because it is, in fact, a journey that doesn’t necessarily have an ending. It is continuous and evolving as we do. The journey of mental health and wellness is different for everyone. Still, one thing that’s for sure is that just like any part of our body, we must take care of and regularly check in with our minds, whether it be with a therapist, a group, or one of our local resources like the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) or the Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS). In Westchester, we have some excellent resources for our community and great tools for every family to keep in mind when it comes to mental health.

Be sure to check out Perinatal & Postpartum Support Groups in Westchester.

Mental Health Resources

Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health

The Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) plans, oversees, and coordinates services for individuals with behavioral health issues and their families. Behavioral health includes mental illness, developmental/intellectual disabilities, and substance use disorders.

Westchester’s DCMH has created an online resource directory in Westchester County, hoping residents and professionals will use it to locate the many and varied behavioral health resources.

Westchester’s DCMH online directory

Westchester Jewish Community Services

Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) is a pillar of support in our community, dedicated to helping individuals of all ages and backgrounds overcome challenges and lead resilient lives. With a wide range of programs and services, WJCS caters to over 20,000 individuals in Westchester. Their highly trained staff provides evidence-based mental health and trauma treatment, 24/7 care to disabled adults, supportive programming for LGBTQ+ youth and families, senior care, early childhood development education, advocacy, and supportive services for individuals with disabilities. They also offer cultural, educational, counseling, and spiritual programming for the Jewish community. WJCS is committed to ensuring dignity and respect for all and works tirelessly with various entities to strengthen the Westchester community.

Here, WJCS Board Member Julian Gomez speaks on how WJCS impacted his and his family’s life:

Family Ties of Westchester

Family Ties of Westchester provides peer support, education, and advocacy services to families impacted by behavioral health challenges. This organization’s mission is to connect families to essential community resources in order to achieve and sustain good health, emotional wellness, and family stability. With a thirty-year history, Family Ties began with a small group of parents working together to find solutions to their own families’ complex challenges and has since grown to serve over 2,000 individuals annually through their four walk-in Resource Centers located in Mount Vernon, Ossining, Peekskill, and Yonkers.

Family Services of Westchester 

Family Services of Westchester provides a wide range of mental health and social services to support the community. The organization offers innovative programs, including Mobile Crisis Response Teams and an expanded Head Start program. The organization operates seven Family Mental Health Centers in Westchester County, all licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health. These centers offer comprehensive mental and behavioral health services at various locations (Hastings-on-Hudson, Mount Vernon, Pelham, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, and Yonkers).

Each center is staffed by a highly trained team of social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists who are committed to providing confidential, customized care tailored to the needs of individuals and families. The Family Centers offer therapy in multiple languages and provide highly trained professionals who can help with conditions like depression, anxiety, aging, chronic illness, or disability. They work with individuals to set goals and develop a treatment plan tailored to their strengths. At Family Services of Westchester, families will find a caring team that leads with empathy, care, and the community’s well-being in mind. 

The Mental Health Association of Westchester

The Mental Health Association of Westchester (MHA) promotes mental health through advocacy, community education, and direct services. MHA supports recovery by offering services rooted in its core values, including respect for individual rights, self-determination, choice, shared decision-making, and collaborative work. The trained staff uses evidence-based practices in various trauma-informed and recovery-oriented services. MHA has become a staple for the community through its comprehensive services, advocacy programs, and community events. They aim to continue facilitating the community, families, and individuals alike to help all live independently in our community.

Access: Supports For Living

Since 1963, Access: Supports For Living has been dedicated to supporting the families and communities of the Hudson Valley. With over 50 years of supporting the community, they have been continuously evolving services for individuals facing the challenges of disability and mental illness.

They state that their broad range of programs are all geared toward one goal: “helping people with challenges live the fullest life possible.” Access believes that everyone is entitled to a voice in establishing their own life goals, and so since their inception, they have believed in providing services that will help those in need. At Access, families can find support with coordinated care, behavioral health, IDD children and families, IDD adults, and living and working in the community. 

They began as a group of parents who decided to create and find services themselves when they couldn’t find support for their children. Today, they continue to be committed to making a positive difference in our communities. 

The Guidance Center of Westchester

An affiliate of Access: Supports For Living, The Guidance Center of Westchester aims to provide support to those in our community who are challenged by mental illness, substance abuse, poverty, and homelessness. They offer support with education, career, mental health and addiction, pre-school and early childhood, housing, and employment and vocational services. 

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness Westchester 

NAMI Westchester, formerly known as Westchester Advocates for the Mentally Ill, was formed in 1980. Its mission is to ensure fundamental human rights for the mentally ill, improve their quality of life, and promote positive community relationships. The organization addresses stigma, housing, education, and patients’ rights. It provides support and resources to families and individuals living with mental illness in Westchester County. NAMI offers various services, including those looking for support with finding legal representation or those searching for a therapist virtually or in person. 

The NAMI Westchester chapter recently held a walkathon to raise money for the various programs it offers to the community. They have gotten significantly closer to their goal. Interested in donating? Visit namiwalks.org

Que Paso Latinx™

Que Paso Latinx™(QPL) is a mental health nonprofit organization based in Yonkers, NY, that aims to provide various resources to all families and members of the community. QPL offers programs to the community, such as Coffee & Conversations, their weekly support group that provides a safe space for the community to have casual conversations about mental wellness. Led by a bilingual social worker, it offers practical steps for managing daily stressors in a judgment-free, confidential, and inclusive environment.

Other programs include Paso a Paso™ and Step by Step Salsa. This program highlights the mind-body connection to de-stigmatize conversations about mental health and storytelling through W.A.V.E.™. This program helps youth manage emotions, handle challenges, and build positive relationships. The workshop is engaging and interactive, encouraging healthy choices and resilience through storytelling.

As Justin A. Dilalla, MSW, QPL’s mental health professional, social worker, and instructor of the Salsa A Salud program, states, “When we think of resources for our community, we think of things like healthcare, housing, etc. But to support our mental health, we also need Community-based, sometimes recreational-based Services in our area to give us some fun.” 

Founder Maria Alfaro is working toward a future where programs promoting mental health education and awareness are integrated into the public school curriculum. “Just as physical education is a subject in school, mental health should be its own course of study.” 

While we highlight mental health every May, it should be integrated into our daily lives. Awareness is the first step, and we will continue to ensure the mental health of our families is taken care of to the best of our abilities year-round with the support of our community.