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New facility, The Loft in Brookfield, provides a safe space for teens with mental health struggles

New facility provides support for teens with mental health struggles
New facility provides support for teens with mental health struggles 02:38

BROOKFIELD, Ill. (CBS) -- The U.S. Surgeon General calls child and teen mental health struggles a public health emergency – and adding to the crisis is the shortage of pediatric providers and services.

But as CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov reported Tuesday, a new center in the western suburbs was created solely for teenagers to get the help they need.

Final training, prep talks, and program planning have been under way lately – before a space in west suburban Brookfield called The Loft at Eight Corners opens its doors for teenagers.

It will provide support to high school students who are struggling - like Maggie Woywod.

"I deal with depression and anxiety – both severe," Woywod said.

It was severe enough that at one point, the 17-year-old high school junior considered suicide – landing her in a hospital for a week.

"I've had a rough patch for the past couple of years," Woywod said.

Helping high school students with mental health issues is the whole point of The Loft. The first of its kind in the region, the Brookfield facility will offer mental health assessments, classes, and programs like yoga and meditation to any 14- to 18-year-old who wants or needs them.

The services are free of charge. And all of it was created with input from a teen advisory board.

"We have worked on developing something that teens are telling us they want to help them in their mental health journeys," said Angela Curran, chief executive officer of Pillars Community Health.

Curran said the need is great. In the past year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that about 44 percent of teens they surveyed reported extreme feelings of fear and hopelessness.

Mental Health America found almost 60 percent of kids with major depression receive no mental health services at all.

"There's just so many teenagers who are suffering – and it just makes me so sad," said Woywod.

"For them to have a space now that they can claim as their own – to not only kind of hang out with their peers, but to feel that they're not alone in their mental health – I think is also crucial," said Adrian Cardenas, program coordinator at The Loft.

And if The Loft's clinicians believe a teen is in crisis, they will get them the help they need.

"If you're surrounded by other teens, knowing it's a place for teens, you're welcome there," said Woywod. "You know, you can really be yourself."

"Those teens that we worked with have told us that this is the space that they're looking for to feel safe and welcome," added Curran.

The Loft starts offering services on Monday, March 13. But everybody involved say they hope it will be the first of many centers like it – not just in the suburbs, but all throughout this part of Illinois.

The Loft is a partnership between Pillars Community Health and NAMI Metro Suburban.

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