Spotlight On: CYN Counseling Center


CYN Counseling Center

Anger, anxiety, depression, stress, academic pressure, social issues, substance abuse, bullying, fighting, trauma, legal problems, grief, domestic violence, suicidal thoughts, self-harm, effects of poverty, teen pregnancy, sexting…the list of reasons why teens in Lake County (and throughout the United States) are struggling is long. Because of this, increasingly more and more middle school and high school students are in need of mental health services. Addressing this growing problem and reaching the underserved communities that need assistance the most has become a top priority for schools and social service organizations.
For 40 years, Grayslake-based CYN Counseling Center has been working toward its mission to preserve and strengthen families while protecting children from abusive or high-risk situations. Today, one of the ways CYN is accomplishing that goal is by tackling mental health issues (which can negatively impact a student’s learning, academic achievement and overall success in life) head-on at school. Through its Connect Program, CYN provides school-based therapy services to more than 10 northern Lake County middle schools and high schools from Antioch and Grayslake to Waukegan and North Chicago.
CYN’s Connect Program is breaking down barriers and increasing access to quality mental health care, especially for at-risk youth in underserved populations. It is offered to students at no cost, eliminates the need for transportation to and from therapy and is led by culturally sensitive, trauma-trained therapists. In addition to one-on-one and group therapy, the program also includes alternatives to suspension from school and sexting education. Combined, these services are keeping students out of the juvenile justice, child welfare and mental health systems. Last year, CYN’s Connect Program reached more than 500 youth, of which 85 percent reported a “greater sense of well-being, higher self-esteem and increased coping abilities.”

CYN’s school-based services program emphasizes the nonprofit’s commitment to providing a safe, non-stigmatizing and supportive environment for mental health treatment and its dedication to becoming a vital part of middle school and high school students’ support systems for when they are in need or in crisis.

In addition to its Connect Program, CYN Counseling Center’s programs also include Youth Crisis Intervention support for runaway youth; Safe Youth Safer Lake County (in partnership with the non-profit organization and GFF grantee A Safe Place) which aims to intervene, prevent and reduce violence in Waukegan schools; Intact Family Program for families who have been indicated for child abuse with the goal of providing intensive casework services to stabilize the family and prevent further abuse; LifeSpan, an employee assistance program that helps employers, employees and their families deal with life’s challenges; an equine assisted psychotherapy and learning program for survivors of trauma and abuse; a partnership with College of Lake County to provide services to college students; and generalized community-based counseling.
While CYN continues to provide these extensive services, its capacity (at their Grayslake location and at some of the schools in which they operate) is greatly outpaced by the need. CYN is dreaming big and envisions a future in a unique space that will allow for even more innovative therapy opportunities, after-school mental health and wellness programming and community outreach.

CYN Counseling Center Success Story: When Yolanda was a 17-year-old senior attending Waukegan High School she was having so much anxiety about graduating and going off to college that she could barely concentrate or attend classes. Her anxiety and poor attendance were causing her grades to slip. Yolanda started to see one of CYN’s school-based therapists weekly and, as the therapist said, “she was religious about keeping her appointments.” Yolanda’s symptoms gradually lessened. She graduated and went on to attend Northern Illinois University—the first in her family to attend college.

CYN Counseling Center By the Numbers: 

CYN Counseling Center has been serving Lake County residents for more than 40 years                                                            More than
10 Lake County
middle schools and
high schools are
involved with
CYN’s Connect Program which reaches 500+
at-risk youth
each year                                           
Last year, CYN provided 2,546 school-based therapy sessions
to students
through its
Connect Program                                                             
On average, each student involved
in the Connect
Program receives
12 therapy sessions                            
Each year, CYN serves nearly 1,000 at-risk youth and families through its mental health and therapy focused programming                                                                                                           

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