As I watch the winds furiously blow and listen to them howl, I am reminded of how important it is to have safe harbors and the fundamental role they play in helping us feel secure, attached and anchored. Safe harbors come in many disparate forms: relationships, homes and places of refuge, community connection, mindfulness and quiet. Youth Health Connection stands for connection and collaboration.

Whether it is the challenge of Hurricane Sandy or dealing with a loved one’s mental health or substance issue or moving through the journey that trauma and loss presents, we know and the research supports, strong connections enable us to more effectively safely navigate the passage. We are being guided to heed emergency orders and to be prepared. Finding support and comfort with others goes beyond just a weather emergency. By reaching out and asking for help, by knowing where and how to find resources, by responding to those in need we build strong communities who are better able to assist. We learn lessons over and over through our lives if we are open and listen.

Our openness to understanding and to making a difference is critical. It is core to growing and creating connected communities that are prepared to respond in emergencies of all types. Hurricane Sandy is just one emergency. YHC is working hard to give all adults entrusted with the lives of youth, the skills necessary to identify and intervene early in an effort to mitigate more extreme emergencies among our youth. Please join us in our mission to reduce risk and increase resiliency by breaking the silence about mental health and substance use issues. Each of us can make a difference one little bit at a time. We welcome you to our mission. And now, enjoy a day at home and connect: Play a game, electronically disconnect, be together and be safe.