Cleveland City Council considers counselors in rec centers ahead of summer season

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The Cleveland City Council Safety Committee met Wednesday to discuss a proposal to add mental health services to the city's recreation centers.

The proposal would enter the city into a $1,000,000 contract with Frontline Services, who would train employees at the city's 12 recreation centers in recognizing signs of trauma in young people.

Chronic stress and trauma can be a problem for all children, but it's especially toxic for kids who grow up in unsafe neighborhoods.

"A lot of those conditions lead to chronic symptoms of, for example, major depressive disorders, mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder," said Dr. Farid Sabet, a psychiatrist with the Adamhs Board of Cuyahoga County.

He says that although those problems are serious, kids who experience them can reach out for help.

"If they're caught early and given coping skills and proper interventions, then we could maybe catch some of these cases earlier on before they culminate into more difficult to handle, later-on issues," said Dr. Sabet.

Charis Eckelmeyer, a mom of a young son, visited the playground outside the Gunning Rec Center on Wednesday afternoon. She says she's in favor of mental health help for kids who need it.

"I mean, if my son was going through something like that, and for some reason he felt he couldn't talk to us, I think that would be a really great opportunity for him, to be able to open up," she said.

The council hasn't voted on the proposal, but Mayor Frank Jackson said he hoped to have it in place this summer.

Copyright 2018 WOIO. All rights reserved.