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EAP Counselor Spotlight and Tips for Families and Children dealing with stress

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Northstar EAP Counselor Spotlight and helping youth cope with stress:

First this month we wanted to shine a light on one of our Northstar EAP Counselors, Shavon Coxton. Shavon is based out of the Detroit area and serves clients throughout Michigan via teletherapy.

We wanted to share a bit about Shavon, her background, what she enjoys and what brought her to helping clients through Employee Assistance Programming.

  1. What is your background and why did you become a counselor?

I hold a bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, a Magna cum laude graduate (2012). I also earned my master’s in social work with a concentration in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy from Wayne State University, Detroit. I became a social worker because I was faced with my own personal challenges such as poverty, violence, and social injustice. I want to use these experiences to make a difference in the lives of others facing these challenges as well.


  1. How has counseling changed for you, especially over the last few years?

People are now recognizing that Telehealth counseling provides a more convenient way of receiving treatment. Counselors can set a realistic, flexible schedule that increases their availability. Clients can choose a counselor who offers availability at a time that is convenient to them as well.


  1. What is your favorite part about being an EAP Counselor?

Some counselors focus on a particular population or need, such as a substance use counselor or marriage counselor. EAP counselors many also work as generalist practitioners which allows the counselor to focus on whatever the client is struggling with at that time.


  1. What are some activities or hobbies you have? What else do you want to tell us about yourself?

Some people consider cooking to be a chore but for me it is a form of self care.


  1. What are some tips you would give someone regarding their mental health and seeking support?

Mental and physical health are equally important components of overall health. Untreated mental health such as depression increases the risk for various chronic physical health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Prioritizing mental health is essential for leading a happy life.


Anything else to add?

Despite the prevalence of mental illness, only a small percentage of people seek treatment due to the stigma associated with it. In addition to affecting the number of people seeking therapy, mental health stigma has an impact on the resources available for effective treatment. This is why it is critical to raise mental health awareness.

Thanks Shavon!

Shavon is a professional and helpful EAP counselor and person. She has been with Northstar EAP for almost a year. We also want to bring attention to the non-profit that is near and dear to Shavon’s heart. Shavon helps operate the Alabaster Box Youth Organization. The goal of Alabaster Box is to eliminate homelessness among young adults aging out of foster care within the Detroit Metropolitan area. We accomplish this goal through the successful application of our temporary housing program, and we increase the longevity of our impact by providing job training, job matching, and mental health services.


Additionally, this month, we wanted to share an article published on the Northstar Resource Portal* this month. As any of us, not just parents, can help mentor and guide our community children, here are some tips for helping youth cope with stress.

Helping Youth Cope with Stress

Tips for caregivers:

Children and adolescents often struggle with how to cope well with stress. Youth can be particularly overwhelmed when their stress is connected to a traumatic event—like a natural disaster (earthquakes, tornados, wildfires), family loss, school shootings, war, political conflicts, or community violence. Parents, caregivers, and educators can take steps to provide stability and support that help young people feel better.

It is natural for children to worry, especially when scary or stressful events happen in their lives. Talk to your children about these events. This can help put frightening information into a more balanced setting. Monitor what children see and hear about stressful events happening in their lives. Here are some suggestions to help children cope:

  • Maintain a normal routine. Helping children wake up, go to sleep, and eat meals at regular times provide them a sense of stability. Going to school and participating in typical after-school activities also provide stability and extra support.
  • Talk, listen, and encourage expression. Create opportunities to have your children talk, but do not force them. Listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings and share some of yours. After a traumatic event, it is important for children to feel they can share their feelings and that you understand their fears and worries. Keep having these conversations. Ask them regularly how they feel in a week, in a month, and so on.
  • Watch and listen. Be alert for any change in behavior. Are children sleeping more or less? Are they withdrawing from friends or family? Are they behaving in any way out of the ordinary? Any changes in behavior, even small ones, may be signs that your child is having trouble and may need support.
  • Reassure. Stressful events can challenge a child’s sense of physical and emotional safety and security. Take opportunities to reassure your child about his or her safety and well-being. Discuss ways that you, the school, and the community are taking steps to keep them safe.
  • Connect with others. Make an on-going effort to talk to other parents and your child’s teachers about ways to help your child cope. It is often helpful for parents, schools, and health professionals to work together for the well-being of all children in stressful times.

*This article was pulled from the Northstar Resource Portal. The Northstar Resource Portal, provided by My LifeExpert is an engagement tool available for employees and their families to access mental health resources, webinars, financial and legal information, health and wellbeing tips and a vast content library. Ask your Employer if this is part of your Northstar EAP offerings.

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