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Mental Health Monday: A look inside the NOVA Center

NOVA serves youth and families. Woodard says, “Although their stressors may be different from an adult’s, they’re still stressors. They still go through things.”

HUNTSVILLE, Ala — In this week's 'Mental Health Monday', our team gets a look inside one Huntsville center catering to young people in need of mental health support in the Valley. We hear why they believe their new program can help save lives.

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Have you heard of the NOVA Center?

They offer treatment to young people and families who are dealing with everything from psychosis to substance abuse. These professionals say they’re able to give the listening ear that young people need in situations like these.

We spoke with Erica Woodard, the Recovery Services Coordinator with NOVA. She tells our reporter, “Although their stressors may be different from an adult’s, they’re still stressors. They still go through things.” Woodard adds, “We service children ages 3 to 19.” 

NOVA's Supported Education and Employment Specialist, Kaasha Campbell, says, “Them actually trusting you to actually help them is a big thing. And it’s hard for them to do.”

The NOVA Center is a division of Wellstone Behavioral Health in Huntsville. 

They have services like the NOVA Academy, giving care and support for kids as young as preschool age who might not be able to be in traditional school settings, therapists at most schools in Madison County and Huntsville City Schools, juvenile court liaisons for drug and mental health court, and a lot more options. 

NOVA's clients are some of the youngest in the Valley, but they’re seeking care for some very serious conditions. 

Erica Woodard tells our reporter, “...Substance abuse assessments. Individual Counseling for substance abuse. Group counseling for substance abuse. But we also contract with the Neaves Davis Center.”

She adds, “It’s really important to make sure that we’re communicating with them and listening to them to make sure that they’re really expressing their thoughts and feelings and we don’t go into a situation telling them what they ‘should’ do and what not to do. Because they hear that all the time.”

After being treated, a lot of young people, and adults, find themselves struggling to step back into their lives. Things like going back to school or work can be tough. That’s where Kaasha Campbell comes in to help. Campbell says, “Trying to find a job is hard for anyone, especially in a time like this. You want to be valued and self-sufficient and independent.” 

That independence can make all the difference for anyone’s mental health.

They do have a new program they think can help save lives and help more families diagnose early; it’s their First Episode Psychosis program-- or FEP. 

Campbell adds, “It’s just important for everyone to know more about psychosis and what it is… It does interfere with learning. It does interfere with your social interactions…” 

Jacqueline Bell is the FEP Team Lead. She says, “It’s generally identified with a loss of connection with reality. And so, when you’re thinking about psychosis some of those symptoms can really fall into the line of hallucinations, which can be visual, auditory, tactile, it could be some delusions there where their thinking is not the same as what everyone else sees and identifies with….”

Bell adds, “A doctor, a friend, a parent, it can be a teacher-- anyone can refer a client to FEP.”

Get in touch with the NOVA Center: 

Nova Center – Huntsville

1900 Golf Road  Huntsville, AL 35802

Phone: 256.705.6444

Nova Center – Cullman

1909 Commerce Avenue Cullman, AL 35055

Phone: 256.255.1020

Local and national help is for people struggling with mental health issues or who may be contemplating suicide. If you’re thinking about suicide, are worried about a friend or loved one, or would like emotional support, help is available by phone, text, or chat. 

National Suicide Prevention Hotline 800-273-8255 1-800-273-TALK
Free, confidential crisis counseling 24/7/365. You don’t have to be suicidal to call.
Nacional de Prevención del Suicidio 888-628-9454
Veterans Crisis Line 800-273-8255 or text 838255
Options for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing 800-799-4889
Disaster Distress Helpline 800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUs to 66746 

Crisis Services North Alabama 256-716-1000 or 1-800-691-8426

National Alliance on Mental Illness 800-950-NAMI or text NAMI to 741741

BoysTown National Hotline 800-448-3000 Spanish and 140 other languages available
BoysTown National Hotline TTD 800-448-1833

TrevorLifeline 866-488-7386 staffed 24/7
TrevorChat Click here for online instant messaging with a TrevorChat counselor, 7 days a week, 3pm-10pm EST
TrevorText Text TREVOR to 202-304-1200 7 days a week, 3pm-10pm EST

ImAlive.org 800-SUICIDE or Click here to Chat Now

Need help, information, or just someone to talk to? Here’s a list of resources that cater to LGBT+ youth.

The Trevor Project: Provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to LGBT+ youth.
24/7 phone help: 866-488-7386 Click here to text or chat with someone now.

National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 800-273-8255

Crisis Services North Alabama: If you need to find comfort, compassion and empathy, please call the HELPline 24 hours a day at 256-716-1000 or text 256-722-8219 from 4pm-11:30pm.

CARE Services, Inc.: CARE provides LGBTQ teen social and support groups for ages 14-19.

PFLAG Huntsville: PFLAG Huntsville‘s stated mission is to “serve families, friends, allies, and LGBTQ persons in the Hunstville area through education, support, and advocacy.” They host peer support meetings, socials, and other events.

It Gets Better Project: National organization to empower LGBTQ youth and their families. They also have a list of national and state-by-state resources.

GLSEN: The Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network works to train educators and staff about how they can create schools that are safe and free from bullying and harassment.

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