Heroes for Health: Eric Sipe

This spotlight series is designed to profile members of the Racine Collaborative for Children’s Mental Health. Over the coming months, the series will feature individual Collaborative members, each of whom is integral to the group’s efforts to forge stronger connections and establish new approaches to strengthen the social and emotional development of our children.

This series is an opportunity to highlight and recognize the diverse individuals, services and resources available to the Racine community.

Who: Eric Sipe, SED Case Manager at Professional Services Group

Website: http://www.psgcip.com

Email: Eric.Sipe@goRacine.org

Phone: 262-638-6553

About Professional Services Group: Professional Services Group (PSG) is a Wisconsin for-profit service corporation founded in 1982 to provide both traditional and non-traditional community-based treatment, support, education, supervision, and case management services for at-risk youth and their families. The goal and mission statement of PSG is "to provide cost effective and high quality services to our clients and to build a state of the art delivery system for those services."

Words from Eric, a Hero for Health:

The issue of children’s mental health is immensely personal for me. I have three younger siblings including one brother with autism, one brother with cerebral palsy, and a sister who has also had personal experiences with mental illness. Because of this, my mother has long been a champion for children’s mental health and serves as my inspiration for the work I do. I know, first hand, the immense challenges that parents and families are up against when it comes to early intervention and access to care. My mother worked every day, over many years, to ensure my siblings had access to the much needed resources and services for their individual challenges. I recall how hard she had to fight to simply convince a school to teach one of my brothers how to read.

I have also observed how differently people perceive “illnesses” when the symptoms are not readily visible. For many individuals, their struggle with mental health challenges is hidden from others - and sometimes even themselves. So while our collective inability to see the suffering contributes to our lack of understanding of mental health, the obscurity of the problem can also be what keeps an individual from seeking help.

My personal experience fully informs my work with families today. I can appreciate the real challenges that parents are up against when seeking to provide care for their children, and I’m grateful for every occasion I am able to help remove a barrier to care.

As a community, we face many challenges – ranging from capacity constraints, to the specter of stigma, and barriers to accessing care. As part of my role with the Collaborative, I'm excited to be leading the solution team devoted to reducing stigma around mental health issues in Racine County. The Collaborative is giving voice to challenges and, more importantly, focusing on meaningful solutions that will provide support for parents throughout our community.

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