Here’s a pop quiz. In the next 30 seconds try to think of at least one person you’ve known in your lifetime who has struggled with mental health issues, substance abuse or suicidal tendencies. Most likely, several people came to your mind. Those issues may have even plagued you or your own family.

Mental wellness impacts the overall health and dynamic of families. May is National Mental Health Awareness month and Little Rock Family is dedicated to the whole health of the family. This article is not about what causes a mental health issue or crisis in your family. There is not enough space to cover all of the variables. We DO want to connect you with crucial resources, where to look for help, how to investigate options and ways to get informed.

When your child has a bad cold or a sports injury, you go to the doctor, right? Emotional bumps, bruises and injuries deserve the same level of care and attention. Even though it’s 2016, many people still avoid care because of social stigma. Some of the deepest pain a person experiences is more than skin deep. Seek help immediately. Your actions may save a life!

What is going on?

Here are a few key items to remember if you or someone you love is struggling with emotional issues according to Mark L. Bryant, MS, LPE, Program Manager of The Centers for Youth and Families’ Outpatient/Day Treatment Services.

  • People often feel sad and depressed at times, but when those feelings become ongoing and keep people from functioning normally, that constitutes depression.
  • Depression in children can often look different and include symptoms like persistent sadness, irritability, and disruptive behavior that interfere with normal activities. In teens and adults, depression can be related to substance abuse.
  • Depression is treatable and treatment can often include medication and therapy.
  • In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of death or suicide.
  • Suicide is preventable.
  • It’s important to take someone who is depressed and contemplating suicide seriously.
  • Instead of arguing, listen to them carefully, provide support and let them know you care.
  • Seek help immediately from a healthcare professional or a local emergency room. Contact 911 in an emergency. It’s important that you are persistent and supportive when helping someone at risk for suicide.

Who can help me or my loved one?

There are many resources available to help individuals and families experiencing emotional difficulties and substance abuse. Here are just a few local options for crucial, life-saving care.

The BridgeWay

The BridgeWay offers services designed to help children, adolescents and adults who are experiencing behavioral, emotional or addictive problems. They have a wide range of inpatient and outpatient services dedicated to repairing and preventing fractured lives. For more information, go to or call (800) 245-0011.

Centers for Youth and Families

Centers for Youth and Families utilizes an Open Access model for the assessment of children and adults (up to age 27) to their outpatient clinic. With Open Access, clients who have active Medicaid don’t require a scheduled appointment for their initial intake assessment. Children and adults in need of services are able to come to the clinic 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon.-Fri. without an appointment. Initial intake assessments typically take 2 hours and wait times for services are very short. At the end of this appointment, your clinician will develop a plan for continuing outpatient services.

Centers for Youth and Families provides help 24 hours a day in the event you or someone you care about is suffering from depression: (501) 666-8686. The Centers provides residential treatment programs as well. For more information go to or call (888) 868-0023.

Methodist Family Health

While Methodist Family Health (MFH) does not offer drug or alcohol treatment recovery programs, some of the kids treated at MFH for mental health issues, in both Acute and Sub-acute programs, do have some history or involvement in addiction issues.

There is outpatient counseling at nine clinics around the state that address mental health issues and behaviors—and an important aim of counseling is early intervention and consequently suicide prevention.

For patients who exhibit self-harm behaviors or make suicidal statements, there are no-charge, confidential assessments offered through their Methodist Behavioral Hospital. They help families determine what kind of treatment would be best. Frequently, Acute care at the hospital (short-term, 7-10 days) is the starting place. Also, the hospital can provide information to parents about suicide risk factors. For more information, call (501) 661-0720 or visit

NAMI Arkansas

National Alliance on Mental Illness is a private, non-profit organization working to help people living with mental illness, their families and the community. They operate a statewide organization coordinating a network of local support groups providing support, education, and advocacy. For more information, call (800) 844-0381 or visit

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, seven days a week. For more information go to or call (800) 273-8255.

Pinnacle Pointe Hospital

Pinnacle Pointe Behavioral Healthcare System offers acute psychiatric services to youth ages 5-17 who are suffering from emotional and behavioral issues which could include depression, mood swings, grief or loss, change in school performance, and thoughts or attempts to harm self or others. Mental health programs for children and adolescents include the acute inpatient program, residential inpatient program, partial hospitalization program, day treatment, outpatient and school-based services. Pinnacle Pointe is also the only TRICARE-certified residential facility in Arkansas for military dependents ages 5-17. For more information go to or call (800) 880-3322.

Youth Home/Behavioral Health Services of Arkansas

Their Seven Challenges program is used worldwide for substance abuse in adolescents and young adults age 11-24. They are currently the only organization certified in the state.

The program has become increasingly successful in targeting hard-to-reach and hard-to-engage adolescents. Instead of a one-size-fits-all approach, Seven Challenges is individualized with careful attention to meeting youth where they are and providing successful counseling interventions. It helps young people look at themselves, understand what it takes to give up a drug abusing lifestyle, and prepare for success when they commit to change.

Youth Home also offers a true continuum of care including adolescent residential and community-based treatment, day treatment (fully accredited school on campus), school-based services, addiction counseling for adolescents and young adults, and outpatient services. For more information go to or call (501) 821-5500.