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When it isn't just a phase

CAYAC offers answers, options, and support for families and youth

Lindsay VanZant and Ana Pasini, CAYAC community navigatorsAdolescents are not immune to serious mental illness or substance use disorders and the lifelong consequences if left untreated. The Health District’s Child, Adolescent, and Young Adult Connections (CAYAC) team is a service of the Connections program that helps families with a child who may be struggling in school or at home. The team partners with SummitStone Health Partners, Poudre School District, and other community resources.

Lindsay VanZant, a community navigator for CAYAC, has worked with countless families to ensure they connect with the treatment, resources, and support they need. She also spends time educating the public about CAYAC at outreach events. “CAYAC acts as an education resource—a lot of people don’t even know what they don’t know,” VanZant says. “Once they’ve met with one of our mental health specialists they learn about options for mental health services that can meet their needs.”

One teenager told VanZant at a community event that he had met with a CAYAC therapist who was the first person to give him insight into his illness and explain how it may progress with and without treatment. “He shared that CAYAC helped him at the illness’s onset to get on the right track, and now he helps fellow students with recognizing and seeking their best form of treatment.”

In fact, the main goal of CAYAC is the early identification and treatment of mental health and substance use disorders that affect health, happiness, family, and school. People do better when their social, emotional, mental health and/or substance use concerns are addressed early. The CAYAC team can help identify areas of concern and personally guide youth and their families to appropriate options, including support, further assessment, counseling or other treatment. They understand what families are going through and offer support and hope.

In 2018, CAYAC served 1,338 clients from ages 0 to 24 in our community. Team members provide free Youth Mental Health First Aid trainings to the public throughout the year. For a schedule of upcoming trainings, click here.