The Community Services Bureau is a certified mental health provider to children age zero to five. Each of the children in our program is screened for the need for mental health services. Children and their families who might need help are identified and are referred to our bureau’s Mental Health Unit with written consent of the parent(s). The Mental Health Unit arranges for assessments, individual and family therapy, and parent support services.
Our Mental Health Unit works in collaboration with Contra Costa County Children’s Mental Health Department. Mental Health Interns work under the supervision of licensed clinicians in a variety of preschool sites. This internship program provides Interns with group and individual supervision as well as specialized training in child development, play therapy, sand tray therapy and ongoing treatment.
What exactly is Mental Health?
Mental Health can be considered as a general state of well being where a person’s emotional life is well integrated and can help him/her to function appropriately within personal relationships and social situations.
Why would a preschool age child have problems with emotional and Mental Health?
Today’s families are experiencing increasing social and economic pressures which can make it hard to sustain solid and healthy marital relationships. Latest research in child development has found that even very young children can be seriously affected by early life traumas, such as loss of a parent, divorce, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse in the family or frequent change in living situations. Young children can react to such trauma with various emotional problems and troublesome behaviors.
How do I know if my child has emotional problems and might need help?
There are some behavioral indicators that can help determine if a child may be experiencing emotional difficulties: increased aggressiveness towards peers and adults; excessive crying or clinging; prolonged sadness and withdrawal; change in eating habits; bed wetting and regression to earlier behaviors.
What kind of Mental Health Services do you offer for children?
The Mental Health unit is staffed by Mental Health Preschool consultants and Mental Health interns. Consultants can make observations in the child’s classroom and meet with teachers and parents. Mental Health Interns can provide direct services to the child through play therapy.
What is play therapy?
Play therapy is a particularly appropriate approach to counseling young children who are experiencing emotional difficulties, because play comes naturally to children. Through the manipulation of specific toys, the use of a sand tray and in the presence of a caring, sensitive and empathic adult, the child can show his/her feelings more adequately than through words.
Where are play therapy services provided?
Many of our school sites have special playrooms set up which contain sand trays, toys and manipulatives to help with the safe expression of the child’s feelings.
Who would be counseling my child?
We employ Mental Health Interns who are receiving training in play therapy and sand play and work under the direct supervision of clinicians licensed in the State of California.
Will other people know about what my child is saying in therapy?
Mental Health services are completely confidential. Only the counselor/Mental Health Intern and their supervisor will know what takes place in the play therapy room.
Will I get to know how my child is doing in therapy?
Initially, the counselor will want to meet with the child’s parent(s) for an assessment and to learn more about the child and his/her family. Whenever appropriate, the counselor will have meetings with the parent(s) to help the parent understand their child better and to support the parent-child relationship.
How can I start the process to get Mental Health Services for my child?
Contact your child’s teacher for the Family Advocate at your child’s school site. You will have to sign a form giving permission for Mental Health Services. You can also contact the Mental Health manager or Assistant mental Health Managers who can provide you with the appropriate paperwork to fill out.
My child has special needs. Do you enroll children with disabilities and/or special needs?
YES! Our program specializes in services to children with disabilities and other special needs. After you apply, we will meet with you to determine the best program to meet your child’s needs.