In this podcast, we get to talk with James McManus, LMHC, CAP, the founder and CEO of Family First Adolescent Services.
Gina Thorne: Hi everyone, this is Gina Thorne and welcome to the Lakeview Podcast Series. I’m pleased today to be joined with James McManus, CEO and founder of Family First Adolescent Services, also known as Banyan House. Welcome, James. James McManus: Thank you very much! Gina: It’s good to have you here. James: It’s good to be here. Gina: So before we talk about Banyan House, tell us a little bit about your background. James: My background is I am a licensed mental health counselor and I’ve been in the field for a little over eight years, and I’m a graduate of Palm Beach Atlantic University down in South Florida. I worked at Hanley Center for about five years. I entered private practice in Palm Beach Gardens/Jupiter for about three years and we have recently opened our extended care for adolescent males in November; Family First Adolescent Services was born in August of 2013 so we are rounding up on two years. Gina: And you obviously have great experience, but why adolescence? Why did you decide to work specifically with that population? James: I just like them. A lot. And when I was in private practice, I found myself getting the most excited and the most geared up for the kids that were coming in and I enjoyed developing the bond with them and a rapport with them and I enjoy just being with them and I have empathy for them. I have empathy for youngsters that are going through difficult times and feelings of hopelessness and working on their self-esteem. I just love them. I like being with them and we had no services that we were comfortable with in Palm Beach County for kids, so… Gina: And that’s what motivated you to open up Banyan House? Ok. What do you find are some of the more prevalent issues that adolescents are facing right now? James: I think the advent of technology. They are so much more apt and able to find any image, quote, song, idea, anything they want in a matter of three seconds. Whereas, when we were kids, it took a while. If we wanted to find something ridiculous that we wanted to look at, it took a while. We’d have to search it out and now they can literally access it at school in second period and so with this bombardment of imagery, the bombardment of peer pressures that I don’t really think have changed too much. I think it’s all kind of pretty similar and in reality, there’s a wonderful University of Michigan study called Monitoring the Futures and drug use and alcohol use has gone down but just with the sensationalism of the rise of opiate addiction and things, again, alcohol and marijuana are the most abused substances but the introduction of prescription pills and things are just leading to more deaths which is unfortunate and that is sensationalized. Gina: And so how does Banyan House contribute to addressing those issues? Tell us a little bit about the program and the services you all offer. James: Well Banyan House is a true extended care and transitional living and we try and mirror as closely as we can, their setting in a home environment, which obviously they’re going to be living in for many years with their parents after a 15-year-old is released from our program. So what we want to do is educate family and really invest a lot of time and energy into the family system because we believe that if that system can change, that there’s a great hope for the youngster to change. If they’re able to disengage from peers back home that are not necessarily the most positive, and so we try and develop a house of a positive culture of young guys that are out having fun, not getting high, not drinking, and doing a ton of family work because boundaries and rules and regulations in the home have been skewed, so the kids are running the show. Gina: And we, obviously what you’re talking about, we are familiar with here at Lakeview and the family is, often times in many cases, sicker than some of the patients that come in and you really have to work with this as a family disease and not disconnect the two but actually help them work together, which is important. So you’re visiting Lakeview for the first time today, so tell me a little bit about your feelings about Lakeview and your perceptions. James: I’m very impressed with the physical structure and I think although it’s not something that you base an entire knowledge of a system on, it shows that people are not in it for 100% profit if they’re willing to revamp and redo millions of dollars’ worth of structure I think clinically it sounds on par with a multitude of my training and the advent of gender-specific is very important. I think it’s a beautiful structure, a beautiful environment, and I enjoyed it a great deal. Gina: Great, thank you! So if someone were listening today and they wanted to access services at Family First or Banyan House, how could they get in touch with you? James: I think the best way would be to call us at 561-238-7370. Family First, we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week because we deal with kids and substance use there’s a lot of stuff happening on the weekends so feel free to call on a Sunday at 9:30 in the morning and someone will be there for you. Gina: That’s great. Thank you for taking the time to visit with us here in Jacksonville and for those of you that are interested in learning more about Lakeview or have someone you know who needs access to adult residential treatment, we invite you to visit us at LakeviewHealth.com or contact us at 866-887-0142.