Being Mentally Healthy

Being mentally healthy can look different for each of us, as everyone has their own struggles they are dealing with and journey’s they are on. Start with looking at where you are now and where you want to be and work towards this goal. How are you currently coping? This is a question I often ask myself and should be something you ask yourself as well! Finding efficient [...]

How to offer help as a peer

Have you ever walked into the office and noticed one of your peers is struggling? Have you ever wanted to help but were unsure of what words to say? Oftentimes, it can be hard to offer help to someone of the same age or status. It can feel as though you do not have words to offer that [...]

Depression, Suicide, and NSSI

September is suicide awareness month. Being aware of warning signs for Depression, Suicide, and Self-Injury is one thing that can help those struggling who may not be open and ready to talk about it. Knowing these warning signs can help you better support the people you care about. [...]

Accessing Supports And Services

Asking for help is tough, but it can be exhausting doing everything on your own. It’s also a sign of strength to ask for help because it shows you want to make changes for yourself. Since it’s not an easy thing to do, here are some tips on how to use your current supports and how to take the next steps to start therapy when you’re ready: [...]

Reflecting On Life During COVID-19

Never in my wildest dreams or imagination could I have known how COVID-19 would impact and change our world. But as the months progress I reflect upon how this time will shape us and help us to grow as an individual, community, [...]

Building Supports For Kendall County

2020 has been such an eventful year, it is almost hard to believe it is only July. The beginning of this new decade has brought up a lot of impactful waves of change. An individual’s ability to positively cope and feel supported during all this may not seem as important to them. However, [...]

If you are human, you fit in

Racism and inequity have been on our minds extensively over the last few weeks and rightfully so. As Americans continue to mourn the loss of George Floyd, and the many Black lives lost, many seek justice in what seems to be an uphill battle. [...]

Dancing As Therapy? Yes!

What is Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT)? Dance/Movement Therapy (DMT) is a psychotherapy that uses movement as the primary intervention for behavioral and mental health. It operates on the premise that the mind and body are connected, and the body houses all of our experiences—good and bad. We have witnessed [...]

Staying On and Strong during the Covid19 Outbreak

These are interesting times that we are living in currently. Things are changing rapidly and our routines are entirely thrown off. We are focusing on community wellness…at least for physical health. Let’s take a moment to talk about our mental health. [...]

Pandemic got you feeling … off??

These are interesting times that we are living in currently. Things are changing rapidly and our routines are entirely thrown off. We are focusing on community wellness…at least for physical health. Let’s take a moment to talk about our mental health. [...]

What is a 708 Board?

On March 17, 2020 Elgin Township voters will see a referendum question on their ballot: “Shall Elgin Township establish and maintain community mental health facilities and services including facilities and services for the person with a developmental disability or a substance use disorder and levy therefore an annual tax of not to exceed 0.15%?” [...]

Long Nights and Short Days

Here in northern Illinois, winter decided to come a little early this year. We have already seen some significant snow and record-breaking cold days have set in. We also moved back to standard time so the sun feels like an elusive lover whose time you pine for but never seem to get. [...]

Suicide Awareness is Great, but People Really Need Access to Treatment

Somewhere around 1975, September started to become widely recognized as Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month. Yet, despite increasing efforts around this awareness, suicide rates have shown a steady increase over the last 20 years. Since 1999, suicide rates have increased by 33%! 1999 is a significant year in my [...]

Feel Something, Say Something

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there were 46.6 million adults (18+) with a mental illness in 2017. 1 in 5 adolescents have a mental health disorder according to NIMH and 1 in 6 children (aged 2-8) have a diagnosed mental, behavioral or developmental disorder according to the CDC. That’s a lot of people struggling with thoughts, feelings, and [...]

Giving Tuesday 2018

Family Service Association is again participating in Giving Tuesday on November 27, 2018. The Grand Victoria Foundation has agreed to graciously match dollar for dollar any donations up to $4,000 that are given via the #ILGIVE portal or through our website. These dollars will go to support mental health services for youth and their [...]


The State of Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (formerly known as Public Aid) is undergoing a Behavioral Health Transformation. There are many changes that have taken place and will be taking place in the months and years to come. One of the first changes impacted our SASS program as of August 1, 2018. SASS has long been known for its mobile crisis response to youth in [...]


FSA Welcomes Dr. Dov Rapoport to our treatment team. On May 25, 2018, Dr. Dov Rapoport saw his first FSA family, but it is far from his first psychiatric evaluation. He has been a practicing physician and psychiatrist for over 30 years! He has served in quite the vast array of environments. He has worked as a psychiatric consultant in youth group homes, in drug rehabilitation programs, completed forensic [...]

Children's Mental Health Day 2018

May 10, 2018 is considered world Children’s Mental Health Day. We, at Family Service Association, provide mental health services for youth every day so to say that we bring awareness to it just one day a year would be a disserve to the work we do. However, this a great day to bring the community together to talk about mental health, bring a light to some of the issues that young people face today, and rededicate ourselves to providing quality, accessible, client-centered and holistic behavioral health services to youth and their families. [...]

Marina Salinas

I am a SASS (Screen Assessment and Support Services) therapist. My position requires me to provide case management services to clients and their families who have received a SASS evaluation. Case management can [...]

Managing Stress

Unfortunately stress is a part of life. Whether it’s stress from work or school, stress from finances, or stress from fitting in with your peers, we all experience stress in our daily lives. We all manage stress in different ways, and some of us are better at managing it than others. When we don’t manage stress well, and things [...]

Play Therapy

FSA recently created a play therapy room for outpatient clients. The room is similar to a typical counseling office with an inviting feel to younger kids. Some items in the play therapy room are: decals on the wall with trees, squirrels, and birds; [...]

Compañeros en salud

We would like to highlight this month the coalition Compañeros en Salud for their contributions in assisting member of the community access appropriate healthcare and social services since 1999. This group was organized and founded by Dr. Lulu Blacksmith the current Director of Government and Multicultural Affairs at [...]

Renee Sweeney

Get to know one of our wonderful family support workers, Renee! [...]

Fundraising in 2018

On Thursday, February 22nd FSA will be hosting its 5th annual fundraiser, Chase Away the Winter Blues from 6-9 pm at the Grand Victoria Casino Ballroom in Elgin. We warmly invite you to join us for a casual night of fun including hors d'oeuvres, DJ, raffle baskets, wine pull, 50/50 Heads or Tails raffle, and live auction. All funds raised [...]


Have you ever jumped up and down and screamed at the top of your lungs at a football or basketball game? Or have you danced in your kitchen after receiving some good news that’s just bursting out of you? These are the expressions of our thoughts and feelings when words are absent or insufficient. [...]

A Holiday Message from the Executive Director

Many things come to mind when we talk about the holidays. For some of us, that includes trees with lights and sparkly ornaments, cookies baking in the oven, or a man in a red suit with a jolly laugh. For others, the satisfying taste of a potato latke, a lighted menorah, or a spinning dreidel. For others yet, the telling of today’s principle [...]

Nicole Francen

Learn about one of our school-based mental health therapists, Nicole Francen.

How should I talk to children about tragedy?

Hurricanes Irma & Jose, the earthquake in Mexico, the shooting in Las Vegas, the truck driver in New York, and the church shooting in Texas – many devastating tragedies have happened in the past few months. It is important to take care of yourself and think about how you feel. Without taking care of ourselves, we are unable to care for others. Also imperative is helping children and adolescents to [...]

Cyberbulling: An Untamable Beast

The internet has the power to change the lives of young ones, allowing creativity, connection to the world, different perspectives, and a new way to access information not available over 30 years ago. However, an unfortunate and dangerous consequence of young people’s presence online is cyberbullying. reports that over 50% of teens were bullied online, 1 out of 3 experienced cyber threats online, and over 25% of teens were bullied on [...]

FSA In The Community - November 2017

Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area (FSA) values our role in our community. We have been talking about some of the different groups that we belong to and this month is no different. Elgin Human Service Council is a group of Not-for-Profit leaders that gather together with the purpose of collaborating, innovating, educating, advocating, and [...]

FSA In The Community - October 2017

Family Service Association (FSA) is an active member of the Kane County Juvenile Justice Council (JJC). The council was established pursuant to the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 and the purpose is to have ongoing collaboration between agencies and programs to better address juvenile delinquency. Members of the council include agencies that provide substance abuse treatment, juvenile mentoring, pregnancy support [...]

Marla Van Durme

I always wanted to make a difference in children’s lives but never knew where that thought and idea would take me. As a mom of four I took many years off from the work force before deciding it was time to get back in. Family is very important to me and [...]

Making a Difference

Can one person make a difference? Yes they can! Every day a child suffers in silence. Why? Most kids and teens don’t realize that there is help or don’t know who or how to ask. But there are people who want to make a difference and do. In the last fiscal year Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area had over 1,600 hours of face to face contact with over 3,000 clients. Our staff has [...]

Open Communication Between Families And School

Schools often voice concerns about a student’s behavior and/or poor academic performance. What do we do with that information? Is it a one-time thing or does it happen often? What does the school think should be done? It can be hard to know what to do when there are so many unanswered questions and not enough information or understanding about how to help. [...]

Social Media And Our Mental Health

Whether you like it or not, social media appears not to be going anywhere anytime soon. But what sort of impact is it having upon our mental health?
For as much good as social media can do, there are also pitfalls to be aware of. If it is making you feel angry, jealous, or disconnected from others, you likely need to take a step back. Taking a digital detox [...]

Christine Richmond

Hi! My name is Christine Richmond. I am the Administrative Assistant to the business office. On September 23rd I will be celebrating 21 years with Family Service Association of greater Elgin Area. I first chose to work at FSA because [...]

Let's talk about suicide

Suicide is usually a difficult subject for those struggling with suicidal thoughts or know someone who is. The topic is often met with stigmas and myths that prevent people from seeking the care they need. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as reported [...]


Difficult situations or unpleasant experiences can leave you thinking there must be another way and everyone needs to know about this. This is the start of advocacy, a process of influencing change within a society. The strongest advocates of our society have either witnessed or [...]

Family Activities

For some, answering the unavoidable question, "what did you do this summer" is an initiation to Fall and a reminder of some of the wonderful experiences you have had over the Summer months. Summer is nearing its end and the beginning of the school year is here! [...]

Maha Ayesh

My job role at Family Service Association is recognized as the Mental Health Juvenile Justice Liaison. As a MHJJ Liaison, I advocate for juveniles in the surrounding Kane County Area. The role offers juvenile justice and mental health services to youth ages 11-18 years old who are at risk of [...]

Sleep and mental health

SLEEP, a simple five letter word, yet a vital activity that allows us to function at our best during the day, be productive, and think clearly. Studying the consequences of sleep deprivation is certainly not new. In fact, the first study in this area dates back to1896! Although getting enough sleep is common knowledge as how important it is to eat our veggies, it’s an area many of us struggle with! The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention discovered that [...]

Janeth Barba

I am the Director of Crisis Services in which I oversee the Screening Assessment and Support Services Program and the Mental Health Juvenile Justice program. [...]

Farewell to a great leader

On June 29, 2017 the world lost a great social worker, colleague, boss, and advocate. Lisa La Forge was a force to be reckoned with in her tireless advocacy for appropriate and comprehensive child and adolescent mental health services. She was integral in starting the SASS (Screening, Assessment, and Support) Program that now provides about 1800 crisis assessments a year through FSA. She started the [...]

School-based mental health program

Family Service Association’s re-vamped School-Based Mental Health Program (SBMH) brings the concept of family counselling to a whole new level. Originating in 2005, through the vision of Lisa LaForge, some FSA therapists began working with students in 6 local schools to reduce the stigma of coming to an outpatient clinic [...]

Earl Evangelista

I am the Coordinator for the Family Support Services Program. This program is a community based therapeutic mentoring program. Staff in this program meet with clients in the homes and community to help them practice and build on the life skills they are learning in therapy. [...]

Culture and Diversity

Culture and diversity are tough and complex subjects to talk about. Our current climate however almost demands that we ask ourselves a few questions about this subject. What does culture and diversity mean to me [...]

Matthew Rodriguez

FSA has given me the opportunity to continue to grow as a behavioral health therapist in a very nurturing environment. From my first interview to this day, EVERYONE has been so friendly and helpful. Our office has [...]

Bernadette May

I have been at FSA for a little over 5 years. This is the best place that I have ever worked. FSA has a strong mission and values that resonate with me. FSA is true to the social work values that I embrace also. We embrace a strong family approach to treatment and [...]

Belinda Adame

I chose to work at FSA for many reasons. I had an amazing internship experience where I felt supported by my colleagues and supervisor. Also during internship, I was fortunate enough to work as a Screening Assessment and Support Services (SASS) crisis worker. Although sometimes stressful, [...]

Mental Health Awareness Month

Welcome to the month of May! As we welcome in the Spring season and all the refreshing beauty that it brings, we often find the motivation to do some freshening up around us. We clean out our closets, we dust and air out our homes, opening the windows after a long, snowy… well rainy… winter. Many of us [...]


Self-care is something that I often talk about with my clients but seems to be a topic that is ignored outside of the mental health community. I first want to clear up a common misconception. Living in [...]

Jennette Siebens

Learn more about our director of the school-based mental health program. [...]

Green Ribbon Campaign

Unfortunately, there is a lot of stigma when it comes to mental illness. Help us fight it in May by participating in this campaign [...]

Amanda Hinthorne

In this blog post one of our school-based therapist, Amanda Hinthorne, talks about some of her experiences here at FSA [...]

Jana Hayes

In this blog post our Family Resource Developer, Jana Hayes, talks about her experience working at FSA [...]

You Are What You Eat

“You are what you eat,” true or false? While you aren’t going to turn into a French fry if that is all you eat, what you eat does affect you. Diet can have a substantial impact on mental health. March is National Nutrition Month, making this the [...]

Fundraising Update

We want to thank all those who attended our "Chase Away The Winter Blues" event. [...]

Candina Crane

Meet Candina, our Individual Care Grant (ICG) Coordinator. [...]

Empathy: The Way We Connect

One of the main reasons people seek help from therapists is to mend their relationships. When loved ones are in conflict, the tension can trigger depression and anxiety, and when we feel rejected and disconnected, our self-esteem suffers. The need to belong and [...]

Remaining Positive When It Feels Like Negativity Surrounds You Everywhere

We are living in a tumultuous time. Some days it feels that you are constantly confronted with someone’s negative attitudes, beliefs, and feelings. News channels talk about growing murder rates and protests. Workplaces often are filled with people who feel trapped in jobs that are not meeting their expectations. Students at school experience bullying and mounting pressure for success. [...]

Chase Away The Winter Blues 2017

Personally I am not a winter person and this winter has had some odd weather. Living in the Midwest I have come to acknowledge that I need to keep an ice scraper, an umbrella, and my sunglasses and [...]

Alejandra Cortez

In this post Alejandra Cortez describes some of her experiences working at Family Service Association of Greater Elgin.

Tameron Keeffe

Tameron, our crisis supervisor, describes her experience working at FSA, her interests in the mental health field, and much more.

Terri Griswold

Meet another of our SASS therapists, Terri. Learn about the things she enjoys, the superpower she whishes she had, and discover who the most important person in her career has been [...]

What is #GivingTuesday? What is #ILGive?

You have heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday but have you heard about Giving Tuesday? Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday. This year it falls on Tuesday, November 29th, 2016. Hopefully you will [...]

Juan Escutia

Juan Escutia, one of our bilingual counselors, describes some of his professional and personal experiences while working at Family Service Association [...]

Not Just Sadness...

When you work in the mental health field, people talk about the stigma against mental illness and its treatment frequently. As with most things, I think that those with a disposition against mental illnesses and their treatment simply haven't taken the time to truly learn about and understand mental illness. During this first week of October, which is deemed Mental Illness Awareness Week by congress in 1990 to honor the work of National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), I'd like to take a moment to get back to the brass tacks of mental illness [...]

Jodi Gregory

Get to know Jodi Gregory, one of our crisis workers who does a fantastic job for our SASS program. [...]

Suicide Prevention

In this blog post Catherine Matson writes about the main characteristics of suicide and also about the most prevalent warning signs. [...]

Joshua Rohrsen

In this blog post our family support worker Joshua shares his experience working at Family Service Association Of Greater Elgin [...]

Crisis Services

What is a crisis? A crisis situation can apply to many different things: a natural disaster, a hostage situation, an accident that requires going to an ER, a runaway youth, a divorce, or even [...]

Back To School

Hard to think about, but summer is already coming to a close. This means back to school for most of the youth that we serve. The thoughts of going back to school can create anxiety and stress in youth [...]


Psychiatry is a somewhat mystifying part of mental health services to people. I want to take a moment to clarify some common misconceptions about psychiatrists and psychiatric services. In the mental health community, we talk about [...]

Christian Gutierrez

Get to know our staff members! This time, Christian Gutierrez answers some questions about her professional life and about some of the things that she enjoys about her work here at FSA. [...]

SASS: The people behind it all

You come to trust that if there is an emergency you can rely on your local fire department, police department, and hospitals to be there when you need them. The Screening Assessment and Support Services (SASS) program is who you reach out to [...]

Roxana Mendez

Get to know our staff members! This time, Roxana Mendez answers some questions about her professional life and about some of the things that she enjoys about her work here at FSA. [...]

State Of Illinois Budget Crisis

The State of Illinois legislators ended the Spring session on May 31st in Springfield with no budget for fiscal year 2017 that begins July 1, 2016 and STILL no budget for the current fiscal year 2016 that started July 1, 2015! [...]

Mental Health Awareness Month

May is designated as, “Mental Health Awareness Month”. This is the month that we all need to work at taking away the stigma that is attached to persons that suffer from a mental illness. [...]

Katelyn Mucci-Segura

Get to know our staff members! This time, Katelyn Mucci-Segura answers some questions about her professional life and about some of the things that she enjoys about her work here at FSA. [...]

A Look At Fundraising

Fundraising is an important tool for not-for-profit agencies especially during these difficult times with no state budget. Family Service Association of Greater Elgin Area (FSA) is a private, 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit agency that provides a full array of mental health services to children and their families. FSA is proud to [...]

Addicted To Interns

It is a joke within Family Service Association that I am addicted to interns and do not know how to identify that I have had enough. As with most jokes, there is at least some truth to it. I love, love, love working with interns! They come in so full of life, excited, with fresh ideas and ready to save the world! I am reminded of [...]

Chase Away The Winter Blues 2016

I don’t know about you but, I am tired of the cold and snow already. About this time of year, I start to hope and pray that there will be some cosmic occurrence that will happen to warm up Chicago and take my winter blues away! Short of that, knowing that this will probably not ever happen, FSA wants to once again, “Chase Away the Winter Blues” with a celebration at the Grand Victoria Casino on February 18th from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM. [...]

Let’s Talk About Therapy

Family Service Association of Greater Elgin (FSA) is going to explore something new…blogging. Today we are going to highlight one of our most well-known programs and talk about what might make it unique. Our Outpatient Therapy program is a mental health service to youth and families. Most people are familiar with the basic tenants of outpatient therapy. Once a week you go to an office, meet with a therapist who [...]