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Mental Health America Dutchess County supports parents and family members of individuals faced with mental illness. For more, see Children and Teens.


MHADC’s experienced staff can help you identify and enroll in appropriate programs with community institutions, such as social services, schools, clinics, and substance abuse agencies. We also can help with family dynamics. MHADC wants to to be sure you receive the help you and your family need. For additional information, contact Lydia Edelhaus, director, Family Support and Advocacy Services, at 845-473-2500, ext. 1342.

Get a free guide to services and programs in Dutchess County by clicking on this link, Helping Our Families: A Guide to Dutchess County Parents with Concerns about their Children’s Behavior.

Programs for Parents with a Mental Illness

MHADC’s EMERGE staff members provide advocacy, home visits, and a range of courses designed to help participants set goals, improve parenting skills, and develop strategies that prepare families for disruptions arising from a parent’s illness. In addition, we teach participants to advocate for themselves and their families. Find these courses on the calendar under the following names: EMERGE, Wellness Recovery Action Plan, Advance Directives, Trauma Recovery and Empowerment Model, and others.

For additional information, contact Sue Luongo at 845-473-2500, ext. 1321.

Respite Programs

Respite programs support families with children ages 4 to 18 who are in counselling for serious emotional disorders (SED). Children are carefully paired with trained staff members who meet them weekly or biweekly for one-on-one fun and enrichment. There are also monthly group activities and excursions providing parents or other caregivers with a break. Respite also helps families with SED children get scholarships for summer camp programs.

Please note: there is a waiting list for Respite, but openings occur regularly because participation is limited to one year. For details or for information about joining the waiting list, contact Julie Simpson at 845-473-2500, ext. 1324.


Groups meeting regularly in Poughkeepsie and Beacon include:

  • HOPE for Families is a peer support network for parents and caregivers of children with serious emotional disorders (SED). HOPE is designed to decrease isolation and help parents and caregivers develop support systems. There are special groups for parents of incarcerated youth. For dates and locations visit our calendar and search for HOPE. For more information, contact Lynn Rogers at 845-473-2500, ext. 1343.
  • Children who want to better understand a sibling’s mental illness can participate in SibShops (ages 4-12) or Building Bridges (13-18).  Search our calendar for dates and locationsFor more information, contact Kat Weaver at 845-473-2500, ext. 1375.

Workshops and Classes

We offer a wide-range of workshops and classes such as those listed below. Check our calendar for upcoming dates. For more information or to find out about new additions, contact Marlene Taylor at 845-473-2500, ext. 1309.

  • How To Talk So Kids Will Listen
  • How To Talk So Teens Will Listen
  • Managing Defiant Behavior
  • Parenting Challenging Teens
  • Parenting the Explosive Child
  • Parent Well Being
  • Parent Education and Custody Effectiveness (PEACE)