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Beautiful Minds Clubhouse is making an impact

Beautiful Minds Clubhouse has been busy offering services to our youth. The Beautiful Minds Clubhouse stands with youth, ages six to 16, who are making their mental health stronger. Beautiful Minds is associated with Middle Flint Behavioral Health Care and serve as an integral partner in addressing the needs of children and adolescents. Some of Beautiful Minds’ work is done in the schools. APEX offers the school system a referral option if students are having trouble performing in the scholastic setting due to mental health reasons. After school, Beautiful Minds offers additional support outside of the classroom.

Classroom at Beautiful Minds Clubhouse

After APEX has done their work, Beautiful Minds will provide transportation from the school to their clubhouse where more healthy activities take place. Mario Mitchell, the clubhouse director, describes the day as, “APEX does their job, then we pick them up, bring them here, give them a snack, allow them to do their homework, we teach them coping skills, we provide them therapy, and provide activities to keep them motivated. We don’t want to just throw mental health stuff at them.” The setting in which the youth get to spend their time is lively, bright and comforting. There are a few classrooms, a “gym” where they are encouraged to be active, and a serenity room, should a child feel the need to reclaim some quiet time and refresh. Mario reports, “it seems to be working well.”

Activity Room at the clubhouse

Family is an important part of the clubhouse. Parents are needed to support the growth of the children and teens. Beautiful Minds is making strides to address mental health without attaching a stigma. It can be seen in the very way they set up their clubhouse. It is housed in a neighborhood and offers a place of both respite and activity. Attending to mental health is imperative for both children and adults alike, however, very rarely do people understand symptoms of mental health troubles in children and adolescents. Mario, remarks on the stress of COVID-19 related lifestyles. Often the student does not know from day to day what their school day will look like. When a student’s life is not consistent it requires a resiliency to shift expectations. In adolescents and children, struggles with mental health may present in a rebellious behavior. But just as adults, children will also tend to withdraw from activities which they were once glad to participate in. Depression will cause changes in appetite, rapid weight shifts, isolation, loss of interest in being with friends, not talking and change in sleeping habits. Mario also remarks on the signs of ADHD, “fidgeting, can’t stop moving, just can’t sit still, not focused, they lack organizational skills, and their grades go down.” Mario is invested in making sure the treatment focus is on the right condition. Bipolar Disorder as well as psychotic disorders require a “deeper evaluation.” Mario is quick to say in days gone by, some behaviors may just be put under the label of a “bad child” but in today’s world “you have to really evaluate and see what’s going on with the child.”

Gym at the clubhouse

Beautiful Minds takes their time by using assessments to determine if the child has a mental health diagnosis. By doing so they are able to treat the issues at hand. Again, parental and family involvement is imperative the children maintain the success they will see. Family relationships and dynamics will show up in a variety of different ways and it is important the family be engaged in the child’s treatment. The clubhouse will offer services to the family.

Beautiful Minds has been operating for about three years, with last year taking somewhat of a hit due to corona virus. Currently the clubhouse serves 47 youth. Mario says, “But we are looking to have more. Whatever we can do to help the youth of Sumter County, we are here. Getting the kids services, that is the bottom line.” The clubhouse will dig into one skill a month. They dig deeply to ensure the clients are getting the most out of the experience. The staff include, Mario, 4 teachers, therapists and specialists who go into the classroom. Mario hammers home two points, the family component and “stomping out the stigma” associated with mental health. You will catch him and his staff making the community aware of their resource, educating the public on the importance of good mental health and how to address mental health issues.

If you are interested in learning more about Beautiful Minds Clubhouse, please visit the Middle Flint Behavioral Health website at middleflintbhc.org or contact the clubhouse at 229.591.0465.