Children & Family Services

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”

~ Frederick Douglass

One in five New Hampshire children has a diagnosable mental health disorder—an estimated 56,000 of our children, from toddlers to young adults.  Mental health disorders are more common in children than asthma or obesity, and early intervention is critical to a child’s future success.  Unrecognized and untreated, mental illness that occurs in childhood often continues into adulthood.  To ensure the best outcomes for our children, the Lakes Region Mental Health Center works collaboratively with schools, primary care providers and others to help a child reach his or her full potential.

Each child’s treatment plan is designed to meet his or her unique needs and involves the family whenever possible.  While some children may only need a few counseling sessions, others may face more difficult challenges that require additional services.  A treatment plan may include one or more of the following services:

Individual Therapy

This one-on-one service helps decrease distress, reduce psychological symptoms, and improve positive behaviors.

Care Management

Care management is designed to help children gain access to a variety of community-based services.  A Care Manager helps children and their families access these services through referrals to medical, social, and educational resources, and other resources as needed.

Medical Services

Medical services include psychiatric assessment, medication needs and ongoing medication follow-up.  The medical team works in partnership with the child’s treatment team to ensure coordination and positive outcomes.  When medication is indicated as part of a child’s treatment, our medical providers will prescribe them.   Monitoring the medication and providing information about the child’s diagnosis and medication is part of this service.

Group Therapy

Led by a therapist or group leader, participants learn new ways to manage problems.  In group therapy, participants work to improve their skills in a variety of areas, including self-esteem, communication, problem-solving and teamwork.

Family Therapy

Working together, family members work to improve how the family functions, communicates and deals with issues and problems.  LRMHC offers a NAMI Family group in Plymouth.

MATCH – An Evidence-Based Practice for Children

MATCH is the newest treatment to come to New Hampshire for children and the family members that support them! MATCH is an evidence-based, modular approach to treating Anxiety, Depression, Trauma, and Conduct-Related Disorders in children. MATCH works well in treatment because it encourages creativity; it’s structured, and can involve the whole family.

MATCH addresses areas related to social skills, depressive or anxious thoughts, or management or reduction of symptoms, among others. Because MATCH is so flexible, it can be adapted by the client and the therapist if changes are needed. This therapy has been shown to decrease treatment time in comparison to other evidence-based practices, increase patient satisfaction with therapy, and decrease likelihood of returning to therapy. This treatment approach not only can help children with their symptoms, it’s also a structured way for parents to learn different ways to support their children and build on their parenting skills to foster healthier family relationships.

Interested in learning more about MATCH? The Child and Family Program has five trained MATCH clinicians! Give us a call and ask!

Psychological Evaluations & Assessment

These services assist the Children & Family team in diagnosing and identifying the treatment needs of the child.

Functional Support Services (FSS)

Functional Support Services are provided in the community, at home, in school or in other daily settings.  This community-based service helps the child learn and practice new skills where they live, learn and play.  It also provides parents with the skills and resources they need to better support their child.

Emergency Services

Our Emergency Services team is available to provide evaluations in person, over the phone or via telemedicine, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  If your child is in crisis and you need Emergency Services, please call 603-528-0305.

Child to Adult Transition

As youth with mental health needs move from childhood to adulthood, the services and supports they need may change.  Our Children & Family team can work with the child and family as they transition to the Adult Services Program. Lakes Region Mental Health Center is a participant in Project Renew (link to description below), a program for transition-age youth.

Co-Located/Collaborative Treatment

We strive to provide mental health treatment in other community-based settings, making our services more accessible to children and families and improving collaboration with other community-based providers.  We have clinical staff located in several schools, primary care offices and child care settings, including Head Start.

Evidence-Based Practices & Specialty Services

Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (TFCBT)

TFCBT is an evidence-based practice for preteens and adolescents who are experiencing symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Clinicians provide trauma assessment and evidence-based treatment to children and youth who have been impacted by trauma.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

This is a structured program targeted at building concrete skills.  It is provided both individually and in groups for adolescents. Specific skills emphasized are: being aware of one’s own emotions and how to manage them effectively, having positive relationships with others, and avoiding at risk and help harming behavior. The basic goal is to provide skills to help them manage life.

Play Therapy/Art Therapy

Play therapy is an intervention that has great success rates with children, adolescents and families.  Young children do not have the cognitive ability to process their thoughts and feelings through “talk therapy,” and older children may not be interested in standard counseling interventions.  Play therapy provides a safe and predictable environment that contains categories of toys and expressive materials.  These are used to encourage the exploration of thoughts and feelings children have experienced in their world.

Art therapy is a form of therapy which uses art as the method of communication, instead of words.  Art therapy is a great tool when working with children and families because it can make communication easier.  Art interventions also allow children and famlies to process ideas and work towards goals while using metaphors, which allows for therapeutic distance.  Artwork can be used in psychotherapy to practice situations, learn new skills, show changes in individuals and families, and provide a visual record of therapy.  People who have experienced trauma respond very well to art therapy interventions because traumas are remembered as pictures, not as words.

Project Renew

Project Renew is a program for transition-age youth with emotional and behavioral challenges that affect their school, work and community functioning.  It empowers youth to achieve high school completion, employment, post-secondary education and community inclusion.  With the help of a facilitator, the youth connects with resources, learns to plan, builds competence and accomplishes his or her individual goals.

Collaboration with DCYF

Lakes Region Mental Health Center (LRMHC) recognizes the importance of collaboration with the Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) as a means to enhancing the care and protection of children and families in need of mental health services. LRMHC staff are cognizant of their role as mandated reporters. LRMHC also understands that we have an important role in reducing stigma and educating the public about mental health. The local district office does not have a family assistance team. Instead, we provide DCYF liaisons from both the Children and Families Program, and the Community Support program. These Liaisons serve in this capacity and perform the following functions:

• Monthly attendance at meetings with DCYF staff to facilitate better communication and the exchange of information and paperwork as needed.

• Meetings as needed with the District Supervisor to exchange programming updates and talk about staffing status, etc.

• Individual or Team meetings as needed with direct staff for information exchange on specific cases and to ensure that staff have current documents, releases, intake packet information etc.

• Informal and formal training on LRMHC processes and other aspects of LRMHC work.

• Schedule assessments (intake) when we are contacted and foster and streamlined communication.

Community Engagement

LRMHC Sponsors and participates in the annual NAMI Walk each year and has won awards for the largest number of participants which includes staff and patients/families.  Our previous Board President and current Board Secretary is both a NAMI NH employee and family member.  Each year LRMHC holds a community mental health awareness event that NAMI NH supports by providing resources and staff for the event.