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How Youme Healthcare is Supporting the Department of Social Services

Written by: Markeeta Martin, LCPC & Ashley Carter, LGPC

Clinical Review and Editing: Jenny Ryan, LCSW-C

Department of Social Services as Potential First Responders:

The Department of Social Services (DSS) is often the first to see and hear mental health challenges that are occurring in families. They are the first responder to distress in any event a child is involved and a critical player in getting children to the services needed to help them in their time of distress. When individuals seek help from DSS, they often need food, shelter, physical health resources, or financial assistance.

Mental health is not often mentioned right away, but is a critical need for many children and families as they navigate through the assistance that DSS provides. Many families that are going through hardships, life changes, or traumatic events can experience depression, anxiety, stress, suicidal ideations, and other mental health related symptoms. These events don’t just happen to the parents and caregivers though!

Children are at the center of these distressing events and oftentimes lack skills to navigate the stressors, sending them into crisis or towards maladaptive behaviors. Early intervention is critical to assist children of all ages and backgrounds and DSS is a key player to recognize distress and point families in the direction of care!

It is important for social workers and other social services employees to be knowledgeable of symptoms of crisis or distress and have awareness of any past or present mental health concerns of the individuals they come into contact with. The sooner their needs are identified, the sooner treatment or other solutions can be provided before individual’s or families’ symptoms worsen. Some children and families may not openly share their personal matters, especially if mental health related, but as professionals, it is always okay to inquire and offer resources to assist with their safety and well-being.

Factors affecting families being seen at the Department of Social Services:

As briefly mentioned before, many families who interact with and receive assistance from DSS are usually experiencing hardships and other difficult situations that can lead to mental distress. Some of those include:

  • Abuse, neglect, and other traumas
  • Custody battles and other legal/court matters
  • Lack of food and/or shelter
  • Lack of access to transportation
  • Financial status (unemployment or death of parent/head of household)
  • Physical health problems (disabilities)

Who to refer to and when:

When a family or child discloses mental health concerns it is important to demonstrate active listening skills and direct them to the right resource. If a family discloses any self-harming behaviors, suicidal ideations, or homicidal ideations then it is best practice to get them a psychological evaluation at the nearest hospital by a mental health professional then provide the family with outpatient therapy resources in their area.

If the family expresses behavioral concerns or other unusual behaviors from their child then it would be best to refer them to an outpatient mental health treatment center. This can include local therapists or medication management offices. It is important to express empathy and remind the family that they are not alone with the challenges that they may be facing. This is an important way to help establish trust and provide the appropriate care for their needs.

When a family comes to DSS for further information on mental health resources, social service employees should assess their needs, collaborate with other professionals for care coordination, and refer appropriately. By doing so, providers are helping the family feel supported during an uncertain time in their lives.


At Youme Healthcare, we provide outpatient mental health treatment for individuals and families via telehealth and there is no waitlist! This allows our clients to receive services in a timely manner. Our agency provides psychotherapy and medication management services for children, adolescents, and adults with mental health and behavioral health concerns. We also believe in collaborative care and a supportive treatment approach. As such, we provide updates throughout our client’s treatment to the client and their family.

Youme Healthcare has a passionate team of healthcare professionals that believe in providing accessible, inclusive, personalized, and comprehensive mental health care to individuals and families. Our team includes 24 Therapist and 4 Nurse Practitioners for medication management that are all licensed in Maryland. Each clinician has years of experience with working with children, adolescents, adults, and families with diagnoses such as Anxiety, Depression, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, ADHD, Trauma, Emotional Regulations, Self-esteem, Grief or loss, and much more.

As mentioned before, we offer virtual therapy and medication management services with no waitlist! We are able to schedule care in less than a week of receiving the referral AND accept more than 12 insurances including Medicaid.


We know that most places have a difficult referral process, but at Youme Healthcare the referral process is easy to help reduce your day to day paperwork and continue to work with your scheduled clients. Let’s take a look at what the referral process looks like for us.

We have several different ways to refer a potential client who is interested in seeking mental health treatment via telehealth! The referral options are mentioned below:

  1. Email:
  2. Call or text 866-968-6342
  3. Completing the referral form at

With those options you may be asking, “what is needed to make the referral”? You will need the client’s contact information, client’s name, and reason for the referral. This will be a good time to get a release of information (ROI) from the client for any other service providers that they are currently working with in effort to provide collaborative care coordination. After the referral has been received, our agency will contact the client to schedule an intake appointment. They will then be connected with a mental health provider and begin treatment.


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