We provide programs that improve the health and well being of all Island residents.
Mental Health Counseling
Professional staff provide individual, couple and family counseling to help Mercer Island families, couples and individuals resolve personal problems and deal effectively with life events. To ensure access to services, low and moderate income families are served using a sliding fee scale. All services are confidential. -more-
Senior Advocacy and Case Management
Our MIYFS geriatric specialists provides in-home assessment, case management, grief and loss support, counseling, and information & resources to Island seniors age 55 and older. In addition, they provide Island families with seniors both on and off the Island consultation services and caregiving resources. -more-
Working in partnership with the Mercer Island School District, professional Youth and Family Services (MIYFS) mental health counselors are based on site in each public school on Mercer Island. Staff provide counseling services for children, adolescents and their families; classroom presentations; and group activities to deal with personal difficulties and to promote healthy emotional and interpersonal development. At the high school and middle school, substance abuse services include prevention, education, intervention and assessment and referral. -more-
Mercer Island Communities That Care (MICTC): Community-based Drug and Alcohol Prevention
Mercer Island Communities That Care (MICTC) is a coalition of concerned parents, youth and community members who are joined around the common purpose of reducing the harmful effects of underage drinking and other drug use among Mercer Island youth. Coalition efforts take a public health, not a moralistic, perspective and use the latest brain science and prevention technology. MICTC is funded through a federal Drug Free Communities Grant and receives generous support from Island volunteers, the City of Mercer Island, the Mercer Island School District, and community partners. -more-
MICTC December 2013 Newsletter: The Wide World of Social Media and Teens
Today’s parents and teachers may feel they are running to keep up with the latest social media craze to hit the digital highway. Kids, especially teens and young adults, are often way ahead and on to the next new thing long before most of us even realize it. Furthermore, the risks posed to kids if they venture into new social media and networking sites without adult supervision can be worrisome. Youth are naive and vulnerable to inappropriate online content: including advertising for alcohol, marijuana, drug paraphernalia, posts showing friends using alcohol and drugs, as well as inaccurate information about drugs.
During November, MICTC sponsored a presentation by Dr. Meagan Moreno of Seattle Children’s Hospital, an expert in the field of adolescent health and social media use who is known both nationally and internationally for her work. Dr. Moreno assured audience members that online threats to kids, including substance use influences, can be minimized with the proper use of boundaries and communication with youth.
Here are some points from Dr. Moreno’s presentation and excerpts from her parent tool kit, “Sex, Drugs, ‘n Facebook“:
- Content on the Internet is particularly influential for teens, and it is especially influential when posted by peers.
- Young people who post updates and photos that relate to alcohol are actually more likely to meet criteria for problem drinking than those who do not.
- Most adolescents report that if they see references to alcohol use on a peer’s profile, they believe the references are real.
- Research shows that parents have more influence than peers or teachers over their children’s Internet behaviors.
- Family conversations about which websites are appropriate can start with young children and continue through late adolescence.
- The “don’ts” that applied to what today’s adults learned when they were growing up can be applied to social networking, for example: “Don’t talk to strangers,” “Don’t go to places you don’t know about alone”, etc.
Diversion is a legal process whereby youth alleged to have committed certain misdemeanors or Class C felonies are offered an alternative to the formal Juvenile Court system. Arrested youth who live on Mercer Island are referred by the King County Prosecutor’s Office to MIYFS where they meet with the Diversion Counselor to establish diversion agreements that assign certain responsibilities and consequences to the youth. In addition to the formal diversion process, MIYFS has worked with the Mercer Island Police to develop the Early Intervention Program, which provides an opportunity for families to respond to a youth’s arrest within a very short period following the incident. This service is strictly voluntary, but is welcomed by many families who desire timely accountability and a structured format for exploring issues related to youths’ actions. -more-