A local child and family counselor have launched a mobile therapy unit to help children receive mental health treatment and resources.
“I can go to your home; I can go to an after-school program,” boasted Doreen Upshaw, CEO of Compass Counseling and Support Services on the North Side.
Upshaw recently launched the “CCSS-Mobile,” a patent-pending van equipped with a variety of therapy tools to help kids express themselves.
The launch comes at a time when children are facing trauma on the heels of gun violence, fights in schools, and the uncertainty of the pandemic. Upshaw saw a need.
“2020 brought about a mental health crisis. Mental health is paramount to so many other issues that we’re dealing with,” she said. “It doesn’t touch some of us; it touches all of us.”
She has seen the impacts. She’s treated kids who struggle with depression and anxiety and says children feel anxious as they grapple with big questions: “What is going on in the world?” or “Where do I fit in?”
From a child development perspective, she said kids tend to associate themselves as “a part of the problem” around them, and they don’t know what to do. She encourages parents to be on the lookout for behavioral changes in their kids.
Upshaw is seeking to provide solutions to help them cope. She utilizes art therapy, play therapy and other techniques. She is currently able to travel and offer counseling in the vehicle to Pittsburgh children, ages 4 to 12, while continuing counseling for other ages at her facility.
The CCSS-Mobile makes treatment easy for those who may not have the transportation means to reach her facility or others.
She hopes the effort will help to normalize the conversation around mental health and seeking treatment.
“We want to get to the point where we can come to your home in a mobile vehicle, and people don’t look at you negatively for that,” she said. “We all need mental health.”
The CCSS-Mobile is currently unable to accept health insurance; however, Upshaw said assistance and scholarships are available. With the help of seven generous donors, she is currently able to offer five free sessions to 30 Pittsburgh children.
Anyone interested in having the CCSS-Mobile visit their child can contact Upshaw at 412-650-0818 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can read more about her services here.
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