BEAVERCREEK – For parents, there is possibly no more frustrating and painful an experience than helplessly watching their children struggle with an illness. Terri and Bill Spatz, of Beavercreek, know those feelings all too well.
A couple of years ago, their youngest son, 13-year-old Brandon, was feeling ill, experiencing pain, shortness of breath, and uncontrollable bursts of emotion. Overcome with anxiety, Brandon told his parents that kids were bullying him at school and he became more anxious and tempestuous as time passed.
“When he was in sixth grade he had so many anxieties that he actually started having what we found out later were panic attacks,” his mother explains. “He would wake up in the morning and my husband would call me at work and have me talk to him. He was just in a panicked state.”
“During his first two panic attacks, we ended up at the emergency room,” Terri says. “We had just come back from a restaurant and we thought he was having an allergic reaction to his food. The last thing on your mind is that your child would have some kind of mental illness.”
Brandon’s parents spent a lot of time taking him to medical doctors to rule out a physical cause of his behavioral issues and physical pain. Eventually, Brandon was referred to a psychiatrist and a counselor and started treatment for what was identified as bipolar disorder.
It was in the middle of a particularly bad panic attack that Terri called the Family Solutions Center (FSC) crisis hotline and was impressed with the people she dealt with there. “The real problem was that there was not a lot of coordination between all of us,” Terry says. “The school counselor, the psychological counselor and the psychiatrist weren’t really communicating with each other. The staff at FSC really brought everything together.”
Formerly Integrated Youth Services, the Family Solutions Center (FSC) Youth Services is part of TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc., a non-profit contract agency of the Mental Health & Recovery Board of Clark, Greene, and Madison County located in Xenia. The facility provides services for children and adolescents who are suffering from depression, anxiety, conduct disorders, behavioral and substance abuse issues, autism and family or parental problems.
Tom Otto is the director of the Family Solutions Center Youth Services program. “We provide mental health, alcohol and drug, and psychiatric treatment for the youth of Greene County,” he says. “The youth recovery program is an intensive acute clinical treatment program designed to stabilize severe mental health problems in clients from 6 to18 years old.”
In his seventh grade year, Brandon was placed in the FSC’s partial hospitalization program. He spent part of his time in the residential care facility and part at home, where he received a regular combination of treatments including behavioral, interpersonal and drug therapy.
“He spent about 12 weeks in the partial hospitalization program and responded very positively,” Terri says. “While he was there he felt like he had some support.”
Soon it was time to get Brandon back into school. He was enrolled at the Greene County Learning Center, a public facility serving children with emotional or behavioral issues preventing them from being successful in their home school environment.
The goal was to help Brandon achieve academically while learning to cope with his challenges so he could eventually return to the local public school system. He will be attending Beavercreek High School this fall.
Though dealing with his illness will be a lifelong endeavor with its ups and downs, Terri says that, overall, Brandon is doing well. “We were relieved that there was help out there and people who understand and care about what families are dealing with. Brandon likes going to school now. He likes the people who are helping him and we’re thankful these services are available.”
The Family Solutions Center is located at 1321 Research Park Drive in Beavercreek. For more information contact TCN Behavioral Health Services, Inc. by calling (937) 376-8701.