The Ajani Program serves African American families who live in low-income communities, suffer from mental illness, and/or are impacted by racism. Ajani helps build strong families by providing them with an understanding of how healthy families function. The Program empowers its clients, encouraging them to develop leadership skills, community and collective responsibility, and to serve as mentors for others.
Westside Child and Adolescent Services
Westside Child and Adolescent Services provides a holistic approach to treatment acknowledging that underserved communities impacted by racism, poverty, poor health care outcomes are impacted by socio-economic co-factors that influence treatment outcomes. Westside ICYF employs a systems model with its approach to treatment with focused interventions on African American families, Teens, ADHD/ADD, child and adolescent psychiatry and family focused crisis intervention.
The Westside Teen Clinic focuses on the development of mental health habits—including coping, resilience and good judgment— to help adolescents achieve overall well-being and set the stage for positive mental health in adulthood. Although mood swings are common during adolescence, approximately one in five adolescents has a diagnosable mental disorder, such as depression and/or “acting out” conditions that can include extremely defiant behavior.
Less than half of the adolescents who need mental health care receive treatment. A social stigma continues to surround mental health disorders, and mental health care is frequently difficult to access. Approximately one out of five adolescents has a diagnosable mental health disorder. Warning signs aren’t always obvious, but more common symptoms include persistent irritability, anger, or social withdrawal, as well as major changes in appetite or sleep. Mental health disorders can disrupt school performance, harm relationships, and lead to suicide (the third leading cause of death among adolescents). Unfortunately, an ongoing stigma regarding mental health disorders inhibits some adolescents and their families from seeking help. Effective treatments for mental health disorders, especially if they begin soon after symptoms appear, can help reduce its impact on an adolescent’s life.
Focused interventions include using Afrocentric evidence-based treatments. Afrocentric means utilizing the history, culture, philosophy and collective experience of African people as the frame of reference for providing treatment. The purpose of the afro-centrist model is to allow for a comprehensive cultural based assessment of African American/Black families to better address the integration of a culturally competent model of care. This model is a culturally specific strengths-based model based on the principals of adaptive family functioning for the African American family.
Westside Ajani employs a systems model with its approach to treatment. This model uses a treatment team composed of therapists and community liaisons in the evaluation of the child and family from a multi-disciplinary perspective. Information is gathered allowing the treatment team to both assess and recommend comprehensive treatment from case management to psychopharmacological to psychotherapeutic interventions.
Westside Ajani is a comprehensive multi-service program that provides outpatient mental health, school-based mental health and consultation case management and outreach. The focus of the program is to build emotional wellness in children, youth and families by providing treatment, education, consultation/capacity building and support. Referrals are facilitated through our linkages with mental health providers, child care centers, probation, education, health services, group homes, community centers, recreation centers and the Department of Human Services. Westside Ajani provides clinic based and community based services. One of the unique areas of expertise of Westside Ajani services is our outreach and capacity to serve children and youth where they are. Westside Ajani prides itself on having a multi-disciplinary team comprised of licensed and unlicensed/waivered mental health professionals, educators and early childhood specialists.