The Allegany County Mental Health Association has been in existence since the early 1950’s under the MHA’s auspices are the Adult and Youth Compeer Programs. The Youth Compeer Program is graciously sponsored by the Allegany County United Way. Because of continued support the Youth Compeer program has been able to offer services to families with children that have difficulty with mental health.
Though there are many beautiful families involved in the Youth Compeer Program, we wanted to share a story about a young gentleman we will call Jacob and his mother Deb. When Jacob was in about the fifth grade he began to have severe behavior problems – stealing, temper tantrums, defiance. He was evaluated, diagnosed and given medication for his mental health difficulties. Soon he began to have headaches and seizures – not full blown ones, but enough to affect him physically.
Deb was concerned about what was happening to her son -- even filming his seizures to show his doctor in an effort to get more help. Deb was vigilant with the doctors, schools and service providers. She wanted to help her son.
To be sure that the medications weren’t causing the seizures, Jacob was taken off the medication, but the seizures continued. Deb continued to suspect that something else was wrong. Doctors ordered a CAT scan and MRI which revealed that Jacob had a condition called Arnold Chiari Malformation – a congenital anomaly of parts of the brain. The headaches and seizures were the result of this condition.
Further medical tests showed that Jacob also had diabetes. So Deb and Jacob started seeing a nutritionist who helped with controlling diet. They also began exercising regularly – walking and riding bicycles. Once the Diabetes was under control and Jacob received the appropriate medications, the negative behaviors started to decrease.
Jacob is now mainstreamed into regular classes at school although he continues working on his mental health issues. Deb compliments his school, teachers, and all the service providers who helped her son find his way.
It is a pleasure to have Jacob and his family in the Compeer Program. He and his family participate regularly in Compeer events and Jacob smiles often now. Both Jacob and his mother received awards from the MHA last year for being an inspiration to others.
For more information about the Allegany Mental Health Association, the Adult or Youth Compeer Program, please phone us at (585) 593-1991 or inquire at 45 North Broad Street, Wellsville, NY 14895.