Health & Wellness

Mental Health Monday: Suburban space focuses on teen mental health

It’s been nearly seven months since The Loft at Eight Corners opened in Brookfield, and the mental health space has more than 100 kids registered for its programming, plus room to grow

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Since opening in March 2023, The Loft at Eight Corners has had dozens of teens and families use its services, but organizers want to reach more high school students in need of support.

“To drop in, receive services, hang out, join a group, there is never any charge. There's no insurance, there's no fees related to the one on one support or group support,” said Caitlin Joycesmith, the director of advancement at NAMI Metro Suburban.

NAMI Metro Suburban partnered with Pillars Community Health to open The Loft at Eight Corners, a first of its kind space, designed by teens for teens in need of mental health services.

The Loft’s monthly calendar is packed with activities, and coordinator Adrian Cardenas says three in particular are the most popular.

“Yoga, our Expressive Art groups, which is diving into a lot of your emotions and feelings, but through any type of art, and then our Queers and Allies group, which is our LGBTQ as well,” Cardenas said.

Any high school student is welcome and so far 110 teens have registered online, which includes getting parental consent.

“We do encourage parental consent. So even if they're 17 and 18 and can consent on their own, we still encourage parental consent,” Cardenas said.

There are parent sessions too, including an upcoming workshop on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, titled “How to talk to your support-resistant teen.”

“How can you come to them with some compassion and some empathy to say this is why they're doing it,” Cardenas said.

The Loft just launched its teen advisory council, which includes 15 area students serving as student ambassadors to help spread the word about the programs.

“They will help us with what do they want to continue to see in this space, the type of groups, how can we maybe pick up our marketing a little bit so that it brings in more teens,” Cardenas said.

The innovative space that includes a yoga studio, several counseling rooms and a space for group activities. It was created to meet the skyrocketing demand for teen mental health services, which were exacerbated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite a return to normal, the need for help still exists.

“I would say you know, and the research does show that there is still such a staggering need for access to care for young people,” Joycesmith said.

Organizers are also taking their mission directly to students too.


“We're taking what we're calling, “Loft on the Go” into area schools to do basically many satellite programming inside those schools,” Joycesmith said.

One point Cardenas wants teens to know, you don’t have to be in crisis to walk into The Loft.

“You could be living perfectly well, and your everyday life and your mental health is good, but come in so that you can learn more about the symptoms and gain more skills for your toolbox so that if anything were to arise, you then know how to handle it on your own,” Cardenas said.

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