The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper

The voice of Lyons Township students for more than 100 years

LION Newspaper


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LOFT offers support for local teens

NAMI, Pillars Community Health partner to create space solely for teens
Photo shows lobby at The LOFT at eight corners on Feb. 27, (Davis/LION).

Since March 2023, The LOFT at eight corners in Brookfield has been open and offering free support for teenagers in need. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and Pillars Community Health partnered to create a place specifically for teens. 

NAMI has multiple drop-in locations in the surrounding areas including Oak Park, La Grange, Summit and Broadview. However, these locations are for adults (18 and over) only and turn away adolescents looking for support and guidance. This prompted the dream of creating a drop-in center or “living room” location for only teens, LOFT Program Manager Andrea O’Morrow said. 

O’Morrow has worked with NAMI for three years and has been at The LOFT since the opening in 2023. She oversees monthly calendars of events that The LOFT has to offer as well as oversees The LOFTs team of recovery support specialists. 

“Peer support is one aspect of mental health support that we offer here at The LOFT,” O’Morrow said. “This includes talking one-on-one with a recovery support specialist who is someone that has experience with mental health. A lot of times this means they themselves have a mental health condition and they’re living really well, managing their symptoms and they use that experience to support other people.” 

Working alongside recovery support specialists at The LOFT are clinicians who are mental health clinical professionals that can do assessments as well as safety planning, O’Morrow said. The LOFT also offers different events and activities each month including yoga, meditation, mindfulness, art groups, and special events including improvisational acting. No events require sign up ahead of time as The LOFT offers a drop-in style of support, and all events are free. 

“What I love about The LOFT is that it’s amazing preventative first-step care,” LT social worker Mimi Yong said. “It’s a great first step for people who have never gone to therapy or are curious about therapy or wanting to take care of their mental health on a deeper level.” 

The LOFT is different from typical therapy with a psychologist or social worker, as it gives teens the opportunity to converse with other kids who might share similar struggles with their mental health, O’Morrow said. The LOFT can give someone who may be struggling with isolation a sense of community as well.

“Isolation has become a major concern [in teen mental health] and that’s a big piece of what we want to offer here at The LOFT,” O’Morrow said. “[We want] a space for teens to not only get mental health support but to relate to their peers and recognize that they’re not alone.” 

The LOFT has also been striving to get teenagers to be a part of its advisory counsel to make the organization better and even more teen friendly, Yong said. They hope to have teens involved in the planning of events and make The LOFT a place more people want to visit. 

“I’m eager for the LOFT to become more of a place where people want to go as opposed to a place people have just heard about,” Yong said. “I’ve been recommending it to all of my students.” 

The first step to seeking support is to simply ask for help, Yong said. Once you get your foot in the door and talk to someone whether it’s a school social worker, your counselor or someone at home, those adults are there to help you find the words of what’s wrong. 

“Showing up can be the hardest part, walking in a place like The LOFT is the hardest part,” O’Morrow said. “If you can just muster up enough courage for those 30 seconds to walk through the door, we are here, we’re ready for you, and we’re excited to support you.” 

To get in touch with The LOFT, call (708) 883-3300. 

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Lillian Davis
Lillian Davis, News Editor
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