Stories of Recovery

Deanna and Joy's Story

Providing Supportive Care for Every Generation.

The Jewish Board’s Children’s Mobile Crisis Team (CMCT) provides rapid response crisis care for children, teens, and their families experiencing severe mental health challenges. We received a call about Deanna*, a 14-year-old with bipolar disorder, under the care of her great-grandmother, Joy*. Joy was struggling to help Deanna manage her symptoms, and they needed a long-term solution to make both of them feel supported, cared for, and more at ease navigating the highs and lows of the diagnosis. This is their story.

Managing Grief and Loss

When our mobile crisis team first met Joy, an 81-year-old great-grandmother, she felt overwhelmed caring for her great-granddaughter, Deanna. Deanna had previously been under the care of her grandmother (Joy’s daughter), but COVID-19 hit the family hard, and Joy lost her daughter to the virus the year before.

Deanna had been in her grandmother’s care because her parents were incarcerated. Dealing with the loss of yet another caregiver, Deanna felt abandoned and uncertain about the future. Her bipolar disorder was managed with the help of medication, but she didn’t like how the medication was making her feel.

Eventually, she stopped taking the medication, and her symptoms returned – this time even worse. Typical teenage defiance was amplified with Deanna’s diagnosis, and Joy was worried when Deanna’s manic symptoms worsened. Eventually, Deanna affirmed that she did not feel right and asked to go to the local Emergency Room.

Children’s Mobile Crisis Responds

After being admitted for a few hours, Deanna was in the middle of being stabilized, but before she could be discharged, Deanna left the ER. When the ER staff contacted her therapist, the therapist noted that she had been unsuccessfully trying to contact Deanna. The therapist knew Deanna needed support and fast, and the Staten Island Children’s Mobile Crisis Team stepped in.

Chidren’s Mobile Crisis Teams were established in 2015 to address the huge numbers of children who are often unnecessarily sent to ERs for mental health needs. At the ER, youth receive short-term treatment for their needs but are often sent home with caregivers who need support accessing longer-term care for their children. This is where our crisis teams come in. Consisting of a licensed social worker and a crisis family advocate, CMCTs are quickly sent out to support a youth in need, usually arriving in person within two hours of receiving a call. Most calls to our CMCT come from schools, but they also come directly from parents/caregivers themselves or mental health clinics that need someone to visit a child at home.

A Happy (and Unexpected) Outcome

For Deanna and her great-grandmother Joy, help couldn’t have come at a better time. Our team conducted a wellness check in their home, met with Joy, answered all their questions, and partnered with them to find the best way forward. CMCTs are trained to know that support is a holistic process, and they could see that Joy could use dedicated support of her own in processing the loss of her daughter and the generational trauma that seemed to ripple throughout the whole family.

Joy had previously been leaning on family in New Jersey for support, and the crisis team explained that everyone could use some support processing transitions. They helped Joy see that speaking with a mental health professional was just as normal as scheduling her regular doctor’s visits and then connected Joy with professional services to establish her own care on her terms.

Joy and Deanna’s story is a tremendous example of how, no matter your age, it’s never too late to let the community help care for you as you care for others – we all deserve support.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of our clients.

Our Continued Support

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Children’s Mental Health

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