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 October/November 2013 Newsletter:
Teen Binge Drinking – A Local Look Compared to National Statistics
Today 31% fewer 12th grade students on Mercer Island report monthly consumption of alcohol compared to the seniors who attended MIHS in the year 2000. However, data from the 2012 Healthy Youth Survey indicates that 30% of MIHS seniors are binge drinking, and compared to data from a recent national study, more Mercer Island seniors are binge drinking than their peers in the rest of the United States. Local and national students were asked if they had consumed five or more drinks on one occasion in the last two weeks. Thirty percent of Mercer Island 12th graders said they had engaged in binge drinking in the Washington Healthy Youth Survey, while twenty percent of high school seniors in the national survey reported doing so.
National findings come from data collected from 16,000 students between 2005 and 2011. Boys were more likely than girls to engage in binge drinking, as well as extreme binge drinking. White students were more likely than black and Hispanic students to be extreme binge drinkers. Students who had 10 or more drinks at a time were more likely to live in the South and in rural areas. Underage alcohol use is a critical problem. Kids aged 12-20 consume 11% of the alcohol sold in United States. In 2010 nearly 189,000 youth under 21 visited emergency rooms for injuries and other conditions linked to alcohol. Youth who binge drink are more likely to experience academic failure, social conflict, legal problems and unplanned sexual activity. Clearly, any underage binge drinking poses a serious problem.
However, though it may not seem like it at times, teens report parents have an important influence over their behavior, values and they that they care what their parents think. The majority of MIHS students say that parents and other adults should clearly communicate with their children about the importance of not using alcohol, and the majority of MIHS students also say their parents discuss family rules about alcohol. (2011 MOST of Us Survey.) What you say to your teens and how you say it is important. Parents can prevent or reduce the chance their teens will use alcohol. Here’s what you can do to prevent your child from using and abusing alcohol.
- Model responsible behavior when you use alcohol
- Set clear expectations about following the minimum drinking age
- Maintain a strong connection with your kids
- Get to know your child’s friends and the parents of their friends
- Know where your kids are going and what they’ll be doing when they leave your house
- Set and enforce curfews
- Consider keeping alcohol cabinets locked
To learn more how to talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol go to: Start Talking Now
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-