A group of parents who saw a need for a locally based, ongoing group to support other parents concerned about the mental health and well-being of their teens will be launching such a group this month.
The mental-health subcommittee of parent-advocacy group SELPA 1 CAC will host its first "Parent Chat" on Tuesday, Feb. 23, at the Los Altos Library. The group is supposed to be peer-driven, though a licensed marriage and family therapist will attend as a facilitator, and is open to parents of any children ages 14 to 24.
When the mental-health subcommittee formed last year, one of its top goals was to form a parent support group on the Peninsula, closer to home for parents in need, said member Trudy Palmer. While there are other local support group options, many are for specific conditions or issues autism, eating disorders, bipolar can have fees and require several-week commitments. Others are also therapy-based. The Santa Clara County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) does host several support groups for family and friends of people living with mental illness throughout the Peninsula and South Bay.
The SELPA 1 CAC group also wanted to start a support group for local teenagers, which it did through a pilot program with the Community Health Awareness Council (CHAC) in Mountain View. The subcommittee also started a monthly drop-in meeting in Los Altos and Palo Alto for parents of children with learning differences, on 504 and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) and mental health challenges. (For more information and future meeting dates, go to the SELPA 1 CAC website.
But they still wanted to offer local parents a consistent, long-term option for more general, open support. SELPA 1 CAC partnered with the Los Altos Library for the space and brought in Monique Kane, former director of CHAC, as a facilitator. The group will be anonymous and confidential.
"Parent Chat" will meet in the Orchard Room at the Los Altos Library, 13 San Antonio Road, Los Altos, 7-8:30 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month. For more information, contact Trudy Palmer at 650-208-9116 or Donna Soo at 650-823-0997.