On our most recent road trip, my family was having trouble with the GPS. For some reason it wouldn’t register where we were at that moment, so we couldn’t get it to come up with the directions to take us where we wanted to go. I kept frantically canceling and re-routing, and the GPS would tell me, over and over, that it was “calculating route.” So much so that my daughter, age 2, would parrot back: “ca-coo-ating wow-te.” We eventually got where we were going, but it took a lot of wrong turns.
Sometimes parenting seems that way, doesn’t it? Like you take one wrong turn, make one mistake, and before you know it those wrong turns have snowballed into a mess and you’re lost, off of the highway and into a swamp somewhere. Wouldn’t you love to have a child-rearing GPS to tell you when you’ve missed the turn, and help you recalculate your route?
Enter Mental Health GPS. No, I’m not kidding. This actually exists and is an amazing, free service provided by the UJA-Federation of New York. (I’m sorry if you don’t live in the New York area, because this is mostly a local program… but check out the Jewish Federations of North America or google the words “Jewish family services” to see if there’s anything similar in your area.) Mental Health GPS is a consultation service that helps parents determine how to best help their children, with anything from stress or anxiety management to eating disorders to bullying to substance abuse. They have competent family resource specialists to help connect families with the best services for their kids. They navigate the system with parents to help them find the best care possible their kids. Oh, and did we mention that this service is FREE?
Look, everyone needs some help sometimes. The folks over at Mental Health GPS told Kveller that their goal is promoting emotional and mental health for the whole family. Sounds good to us. They also have some online resources: a series called Thinking Children on topics like child development, the importance of play, homework, and managing stress. And if you’re in Brownstone Brooklyn, stay tuned for some workshops this fall, which we’ll be sure to have on our Kveller calendar.
So the next time you’re feeling like you could just use a little help, make a phone call. It’s just like turning on that GPS (though not my broken one!) and calculating your route. You’ll get to your destination a little faster this way.