Community-Based Mental Health is Here and More Important Than Ever

Community-Based Mental Health is Here and More Important Than Ever | Glen Gaugh | LinkedInglen gaugh

Fear and guilt are the emotions Dr. Bruce Perry described after driving a patient and her family home on a cold day following a session in his office. As a fellow in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Chicago in 1987, he knew such intrusion into a patient’s life simply was not done. It took him two weeks to work up the nerve to confess his transgression. Suprisingly, his supervisor exclaimed, “Great! We should do home visits with all of our patients!” Then he wanted to hear more about this experience, which incidentally provided Dr. Perry with more insight into his patient than he ever could have obtained in the office.

The Shift to Community-Based Services

In adult mental health, case management has become crucial, as deinstitutionalization and state hospital closings have forced reintegration and reduced options for inpatient treatment. Case managers are highly involved in the patient’s day-to-day life, including multiple visits to the home in a week, helping with anything that would increase safety and stability in the community. Read more of this post

Meet Macy Collins, Family Intervention Specialist in Johnson City

Macy CollinsMeet Macy Collins, Youth Villages’ Family Intervention Specialist in Johnson City and consider joining her to make a difference in East Tennessee! Apply at

What is your educational background?

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in social work in 2013 and also obtained my Master’s degree in social work at East Tennessee State University. In November, I obtained my LMSW.

What do you love about your city/what do you do for fun in your city?

I love this area because of the surprising diversity for its size. I love to meet new people and visit new places in the tri-cities area since I am not originally from here. I moved to the tri-cities area in 2011 for school and loved it so much that I stayed. Also, East Tennessee is beautiful and breathtaking!

What is your favorite part about working for Youth Villages?

I love working for YV because of the people from many walks of life that I have been able to work with. In addition, I love helping the children and families that I work with learn skills to live successfully. Also, my coworkers and supervisors are always helpful and ensure that I have additional support on a daily basis.

What is the most challenging part of your job?

The most challenging part of this position would be balancing the many roles we play in this job such as case manager, therapist, facilitator, mediator, etc.

What is one fun/interesting fact about you?

I love to visit new places and get t-shirts from popular restaurants/events there.

Meet Felicia Washington, Teacher at Youth Villages’ Dogwood Campus

Meet Felicia Washington, an energetic teacher that does not accept “no” at Youth Villages’ Dogwood Campus.Felicia Washington -- Teacher Spotlight

What was your educational/experience background before coming to Youth Villages?

Before coming to Youth Villages my teaching experience spans from Shelby County to Fayette County School districts.  I taught classes that range from inclusion to multiple handicap classes. I received my undergraduate degree in Business Administration. I have a Master’s in Education & Leadership from Bethel University, and as of May 2015, I am due to receive my Ed.S. in Curriculum & Instruction in Culture, Cognition and the Learning Process from Middle Tennessee State University.

What do you love about living in your town? What do you do for fun?

I have traveled both near and faraway, but at the end of the day there is no place like home (Memphis). Memphis has some of the best tourist attractions and history such as the Civil Rights Museum, Stax Museum, Pink Palace Museum, Gibson Guitar Museum, and our famous Memphis Zoo. Memphis is also known for fine cuisines and some of the best barbecue in the world. It is very affordable when it comes to cost of living with the option of big city living or the suburbs if you prefer.

For fun I like going to the movies, attending my favorite church NGIC,  shopping, volunteering at Youth Villages for various projects, shopping, traveling, and oh yeah going shopping!

What is the most challenging part of your job? Read more of this post

Boys Center staff learning American Sign Language

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One of our youth arrived at the Boys Center for Intensive Residential Treatment on Youth Villages’ Bartlett Campus last year. He is deaf and knew a few basic signs, but he typically used signs of his own.

“We needed to figure out a way to communicate with him,” said Stephanie Cole-Farris, assistant director of residential services. “Communication is so valuable. Without it, everything breaks down.”

Cole-Farris and her colleagues reached out to the community to locate services that could effectively assist Youth Villages in providing quality care and therapy for this youth.

She found DeafConnect of the Mid-South. DeafConnect strives to improve the quality of life of the deaf and hard of hearing by providing skilled interpreters and American Sign Language classes. It is the most prominent local outlet for services to help children who are hearing impaired.

A few months after Youth Villages provided this youth with a DeafConnect interpreter, the Boys Center for Intensive Residential Treatment admitted a another youth who was also hearing impaired.

“His ASL skill level was even lower than the first hearing impaired youth,” Cole-Farris said. “We gave him a communication board, but sometimes he refused to use it. We needed an interpreter for him as well.”

Youth Villages is dedicated to providing quality care for every child. With two hearing-impaired youth in one facility, staff quickly decided that another step had to be taken.

The BCIRT staff piloted a six-week course in American Sign Language that concluded in early December. DeafConnect’s administrator, Theresa Wilson, and ASL instructor Shelia Chappell, lead sessions each week at the Bartlett Campus. Chappell not only offers the staff weekly course instruction but also assigns homework from a formal ASL workbook.

“The employees have been very interested in the training,” Cole-Farris said. “They value the addition of ASL as part of their professional skill set.”

The goal is for YV staff to be able to communicate effectively with all children at Youth Villages, even those with impaired hearing.

“I’m sure it’s going to continue,” Cole-Farris said. “We are preparing to expand the course program.”

Thanks to the ASL classes provided by DeafConnect, committed YV staff will continue to learn how to best communicate with and manage the crises of hearing-impaired youth.

Wellness Spotlight: Bart Croasmun of Paris, Tenn.

Bbartart Croasmun of Paris, Tennessee, has been with Youth Villages for more than seven years, serving in his current role of clinical applications specialist for six of those years. Read more of his journey of weight loss and improved health.

Read more of this post

Indiana’s first Emerging Leaders class graduates

“Congratulations to Tiffany Huffman, Heather Parker, Monica Foster, Dedra Watkins, and Terri Davis for being Indiana’s first Emerging Leaders graduating class. They know what it takes to be dedicated and were willing to put in the extra time needed to successfully complete the EL requirements. This awesome group worked to strengthen their leadership skills throughout their time pariticpating in the Emerging Leaders program. They have demonstrated the ability to be postive role models in and out of the office as well as displayed a commitment to YV’s values and their own personal growth.” – Andrea Paille, Program Development Specialist.

Did you know Youth Villages has a leadership development department that helps facilitate your professional and leadership skills and growth? Join our team in Indiana today at

Indiana Emerging Leaders

Left to right: Tiffany Huffman—Jeffersonville, Heather Parker—Columbus, Monica Foster—Jeffersonville, Dedra Watkins—Jeffersonville, Terri Davis–Madison


Meet Ashley Hartz: Chattanooga Family Intervention Specialist

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMeet Ashley Hartz, a Family Intervention Specialist in our in-home services program (Intercept) in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

What is your educational background (college, major, etc.)?

I attended St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York for my undergraduate studies. I double majored in Psychology and Hispanic Studies, with a minor in Caribbean and Latin American Studies. In order to better combine my interests of working in the field of psychology and diverse cultures, I went to Castellon de la Plana, Spain to study a Master’s in Family Intervention and Mediation at the Universitat Jaume I.

What did you do before coming to Youth Villages?

Before coming to Youth Villages, I was living in Spain. I generally spent my days between work and play! I worked with the Spanish Red Cross, which actually focuses more on social mediation than natural disasters. I was primarily involved in a school program for at-risk students (6-20 years old), developing curriculum to promote and teach personal development, gender equality, health, and coexistence and tolerance. I also volunteered my time to an Equine Therapy program at the local farm where I rode. Read more of this post


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