YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In our continuing series, WKBN 27 First News Community Affairs Director Dee Crawford talks with leaders of the Youth Intensive Services about trauma among youth.

The guests are Chief Operating Director Desirae Thompson and Clinical Director Ashley Frankos.

Frankos said that trauma is very common in the clients they serve and is very “potent” right now in our society.

“What we are seeing is not always traditionally what people see as PTSD. We’re seeing kids who are aggressive; kids who are losing sleep; kids who have poor hygiene. It’s not just what you think of PTSD and you think of flashbacks,” she said.

Frankos said it’s showing in behaviors, and they are getting referrals from schools and outpatient services.

“Maybe people don’t recognize that what they experience is trauma and that these behaviors are a result of trauma,” Frankos said.

Thompson said the need for their services has grown and much of the need stems from not being able to recognize trauma as the source of many issues.

“They don’t recognize the fact that they even need help, so that is the first step. And then recognizing where they’re able to get help and there’s still that stigma around mental health and trauma,” Thompson said.

She said the first step is to normalize the issue and talk about it.

“There’s nothing wrong within. There’s nothing wrong with acknowledging that I need help or there are things I cannot navigate through in life,” Thompson said. “Making it a normal part of everyday life and that it’s OK to receive help. That’s the first thing that we have to do.”

Youth Intensive Services works with a lot of schools in Trumbull and Mahoning counties. They give us referrals for our school-based programs, and then there are a lot of agencies that are in the community that refer students to us. We’ve had Oakwood Counseling in Warren. We’ve had Cadence Cares giving us referrals, and we’re also referring our students out as well,” Frankos said.