Our CEO, Cindy DeMarco, Honored With Mental Health Advocacy Award

Blue And Gold Modern Certificate Of Participation

We are thrilled to announce that Cindy DeMarco, our CEO, has been honored with the prestigious David Wagner Mental Health Advocacy Award!

“In recognition of visionary leadership, unwavering dedication, and transformative impact on mental health advocacy, we proudly present the David Wagner Mental Health Advocacy Award to Cindy DeMarco. As the CEO of Lake Behavioral Hospital, Cindy has demonstrated unparalleled commitment and leadership in advancing the cause of mental health awareness, advocacy, and support. Her visionary leadership has been instrumental in implementing the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) across counties, fostering collaboration and partnership to improve access to mental health services and support for individuals and communities in need.”

This award, presented by Bridges Community Center and NAMI Kenosha County, was on May 15, 2024.

We congratulate Cindy for being a model for our hospital community. Her leadership and dedication continue to inspire us all, and we are proud to have her at the helm of Lake Behavioral Hospital.

Pictured above are (L) Cindy DeMarco, CEO of LBH, (M) Sabrina Northern, President, NAMI Kenosha County, (R), Jack Rose, 15th District Alderperson.

LBH Award

Groundhog Day and Seasonal Affective Disorder

There are things you can count on, and each year, Groundhog’s Day is one of them. On the morning of February 2, Punxsutawney Phil, an actual groundhog, will emerge from his warren in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to predict a wonderful early spring or a dreaded 6 more weeks of winter. Last year, Phil saw his shadow, and a lengthened winter was ahead of us. Most of us don’t fully believe that Phil is the ultimate source for such a prediction, but even hearing the potential of a longer winter can cause those of us needing sun and warmth to feel blue and out of sorts. In mental health circles, that feeling can be referred to as SAD, Seasonal Affective Disorder.

SAD is real. It is accepted as a defined disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, and it leads to depression and feelings of sadness. It is known that depression can be debilitating, leading to loss of interest in pleasurable activities, feelings of being stuck and unable to be productive, feelings of being hopeless, helpless, or worthless, anxiousness, weight loss or gain, and even thoughts of suicide.

If you already have depression or anxiety–related symptoms, you may have a higher risk of the winter impacting your mood. Some find that light therapy can improve symptoms, and others find that talk therapies and medication are helpful.

SAD is a diagnosable and controllable condition. Don’t let a groundhog impact your life! If you or a loved one are experiencing depression in any form, please allow the qualified professionals at Lake Behavioral Hospital to help by providing a free, confidential assessment that will help determine the level of care for your symptoms. Call 855-990-1900, 24/7/365, to schedule an assessment. Walk-ins are welcome.

National Depression Awareness Day – October 5th, 2023

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) nearly 16 million adults in the US have had at least one major depressive episode in the past year. In addition, 4 million youth will experience depression. You have probably also heard NAMI tell us that 1 in 5 of us will have a lived experience of depression, anxiety or another mental illness. Depression, however, is the most common of all mental illnesses and is often co-occurring with other mental health disorders like substance addiction or anxiety. Have you ever been concerned about your well-being and whether depression is really what is going on with the way that you feel?

Any of these, or a combination of these, can mean depression:

  • Feeling down, disconnected; unable to focus
  • Having difficulty having a restful sleep
  • Frequent sadness, or anxiety, feelings of emptiness or general moodiness
  • Feelings of guilt or pessimism
  • Irritability and anger
  • Feelings of frustration and restlessness
  • Frequent tearfulness
  • Isolation
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness or worthlessness
  • Loss of interest in many areas of your life

Any of us can become depressed. Life is stressful. A variety of things can make us feel depressed in the moment and some occurrences can make us depressed over long periods of time. Trauma, death or other losses, financial worries, addiction or loneliness can trigger depressive thoughts and isolation. Some medical conditions and medications can cause depression, as well. Depression can be an issue within the brain and mood regulation can become difficult and some of us, even, are predisposed to depression as a family trait.

Regardless of its causes, if you are unable to bounce back from an adverse experience and your feelings seem like more than just an “off day”, maybe an assessment for depression or other mental health conditions will help you understand what is going on with you. Because depression, over time, can lead to feelings of hopelessness, helplessness and worthlessness, suicide as a crisis within depression can be a worry. Don’t hesitate even if you have fleeting thoughts of ending your life. Call 911, get to an emergency room at your local hospital or call the caring professionals at Lake Behavioral Hospital. Allow our Assessment and Referral team to provide a free, confidential assessment to determine the level of care that is just right for you. One call to (855) 990-1900 will put you in contact with qualified mental health professionals who are ready to help.

Hispanic Heritage Month Meets Suicide Prevention Month: A Blend of Culture and Mental Health

September marks National Suicide Prevention Month and Hispanic Heritage Month. Our Lake Behavioral article will take a look at suicide among the Hispanic population and how culture plays a part in positive health and wellness.

Youth suicide in the Hispanic population is on the rise. To define “Hispanic/Latino”, this can refer to any 1 of the 62 million people who are from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Central America or South America, or Cuba. It is the foundation of each of these Hispanic cultures that may increase the potential for health among those Hispanics who are challenged by mental illness.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness indicates that suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for youth, ages 10-14, and the 3rd leading cause of death for those ages 15-24. Nearly a quarter million Hispanic/Latinos attempt suicide. During the COVID crisis almost 5,000 of them died by suicide (CDC).

Non-culture oriented statistics indicate that although males complete the act of suicide in larger numbers (nearly 4 times as many as females), females attempt suicide more often. As reported by the Center for Disease Control’s, Youth Survey, 1 in 6 Hispanic/Latino teens experienced suicidal ideation. An astounding number, 1 in 4 females, have seriously considered suicide to eliminate mental health distress.

Hispanic/Latino groups may very well be at a mental health disadvantage with levels of stress related to marginalization, poverty in their country of origin, followed by poverty in a country chosen for a successful life, joblessness, and losses of family left behind. Faith and culture are often what lessens the burdens of new lives in a foreign land.

Connecting to peer networks through faith–based or Hispanic/Latino support organizations is healing. Utilization of familiar language with family and peers; sharing food, music and cultural rituals offer protective connections and create resilience and comfort. Places for safe communication and open discussion mean reduced anxiety, fear, stress, and depression; possibly heading off the distress that can lead to the hopelessness, worthlessness, and helplessness that can lead to suicidal thinking.

For Hispanic/Latino youth, school programs that offer solid ESL programs, peer activity groups like Hispanic heritage clubs and celebrations of culture are making a difference. For Hispanic/Latino youth who are needing mental health support, treatment programs that can change the course of mental illness are those who have cultural connections in language and understanding of needs of families and the youth.

Suicide, unfortunately, is universal. It crosses all socioeconomic groups and all cultures. It is important to understand both culture and mental health. In that regard, take any and all suicide talk seriously. Listen without judgment. Ask questions that are direct like “Are you thinking about suicide?”, and “listen” with all your senses. In all cases, do as NAMI asks; remind people that they are not alone and that recovery from mental illness is possible. A referral to professional help should occur and a call to Lake Behavioral Hospital can make a difference. Call 855-990-1900 for a free, confidential assessment to determine the level of care that is best.

Lake Behavioral Hospital: Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

The Lake Behavioral Hospital IOP (Intensive Outpatient Program) is a mental health program that is different than outpatient therapy where a therapist meets with each patient individually. An IOP is a program that offers group therapy and modified individual work, three hours each day, five days a week.

Our IOP program is offered as a stepdown from hospitalization. This is a good way to transition successfully back to home from the hospital. This can offer someone a chance to continue to solidify the skills gained while in the hospital. IOP can also help someone avoid hospitalization as IOP is more intensive than traditional outpatient.

If you would like to explore IOP as a way to get the mental health support that you need, please call us at 855-990-1900. By appointment or even by walk-in, we’ll help you find the treatment options that best meets your needs.

Lake Behavioral Hospital: Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP)

Program hours: Monday-Friday from 9:00am-2:00pm

The Lake Behavioral Hospital Partial Hospitalization Program for teens, ages 13-17, is a group-oriented program. Utilizing the framework of peer-based interactions, this evidenced-based program provides a safe and structured transition from inpatient support. Patients have also successfully found this program to help avoid hospitalization by entering when first experiencing behavioral symptoms that are interfering with home, school and community life. Patients and families can expect that the duration of the program, although individualized for each patient, would average about 2 weeks.

What makes this program so successful is that it is so behaviorally focused, helping youth understand what causes their feelings and behaviors. Coping skills, listening and communication skills help the adolescent maneuver through the triggers that, in the past, may have created a negative outcome. Because patients can leave the program at the end of the program day and practice skills, then report back to their peers and staff the next day, the learned skills are constantly being tweaked and individualized to accommodate communication styles and skill levels. It is amazing to watch the behavioral changes and improved self-esteem occur as the teens blossom behaviorally and in their confidence in managing their own behaviors.

As a parent, please consider our PHP program for your teen. It is an opportunity for positive peer interaction in a structured, proven, therapeutic setting. For an assessment for the program, please call 855-990-1900. We look forward to working with your teen.

If you have been an inpatient at Lake Behavioral Hospital

If you have been an inpatient at Lake Behavioral Hospital, at some point in your stay, we may have asked you about your interest in our Partial Hospitalization (adolescent) or Intensive Outpatient Program (adult). Why? Research shows that a step down into a less restrictive therapeutic environment like IOP or PHP may mean you have a really good chance of avoiding any further inpatient hospitalizations. The reason for this is that as an outpatient, you are able to continue to practice the skills learned during your inpatient stay. In IOP and PHP, you can then take those skills into your community, home or school, and practice them and then come to the program the next day and talk about what that experience was like and receive feedback from your peers about how it all worked out for you. Your peers are another aspect of benefit to IOP and PHP. Having peers who understand what you are going through and learning from their experience and hearing their stories is very helpful and meaningful.

IOP and PHP help you transition from inpatient back to home in a structured way. Your chances of success are greater when you solidify the skills gained during your inpatient hospitalization.

If you know of someone who has been hospitalized or could use some additional care for a mental health or substance abuse condition, please have them call us. An assessment to determine what program will have the greatest impact may be just what they need. Please call us at 855-990-1900, 24/7/365. We are here to help!

How SMART are you?

If you have ever heard of CBT and DBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), therapies based on both how we behave and how we think, then you have probably heard of SMART goals. SMART goals help provide hope for change because there is a structure that drives you to make things happen in a positive way. SMART Goals can help you compartmentalize problems and make them more manageable and less like trying to fight an invisible giant! Make SMART work for you.


Specific: Provide enough detail so that it is clear what your plan is. A goal of: “Take some time for myself” is too general. A more specific goal could be: “I’ll work on my knitting, with my favorite music on, in my favorite chair, for 30 minutes after dinner, and ask not to be interrupted.”

Measurable: If your goal is measurable you will have some tangible evidence of its completion. A goal of: “I will eat healthier meals” is not measurable. A measurable goal could be: “I’ll eat a fruit and a vegetable with each meal” You know clearly whether you accomplished the goal or not.

Acceptable: Your goal should be set by you rather than by someone else.

Realistic: Start small with what you can do, experience the satisfaction of meeting your goal, and then gradually increase the amount of work that you ask of yourself. It is better to be realistic and successful than to be unrealistic and disappointed.

Time frame: Deciding how much time you will spend on a goal helps to increase your sense of control over a task. It also helps to manage time effectively and keep balance in a day.

If this kind of information seems interesting and feels like something that you can use and help you manage your recovery in a stronger, more effective way, then contact the Intensive Outpatient Program at 855-990-1900. The team at Lake Behavioral Hospital can help you “Get SMART”!

Call for a free, confidential assessment to see if our program can help you make the changes you need to move forward in recovery.

Have PRIDE in Mental Health

June commemorates PRIDE month. The month is for celebrating and remembering both the best and the worst in the histories of our LGBTQ+ families and friends. Our goal during PRIDE month is to honor and embrace all that it means to be affirmed as an LGBTQ+ person(s).

Even during a month of celebration and pride in the many contributions and accomplishments of LGBTQ+ individuals and groups, stigma and mistreatment of gender identity has not gone away. Discriminatory practices around sexual orientation and gender identity are still needing to be confronted. PRIDE month, unfortunately, has to be as much about that as about celebrating the very best of humanity.

It is known that the LGBTQ+ population challenges related to mental health far outweigh that of other populations. For instance, 40% of the adult transgender population have attempted suicide compared to 5% of the general population. Our bisexual teens, are 4 times more likely to have attempted suicide than their heterosexual peers (Discovery Mood and Anxiety). 60% of LGBTQ+ youth who wanted mental health care in the past year were not able to get it (Trevor Project).

Much of what is happening with the LGBTQ+ population is that the stresses surrounding issues like isolation, stigma-oriented treatment at work, home and in the community, and lack of safety in any number of environments, creates pressures that other populations do not experience at the same level. The idea of “coming out” to family and friends and not being able to predict the outcome is definitely something no other population has to experience. Issues like these combined over time is more than enough to de-stabilize one’s mental health and positive life balance. When feeling consistently unaccepted by others, it becomes increasingly difficult to accept yourself.

Being affirming and accepting, providing support and seeing each person as valuable in their own right is key to helping LGBTQ+ individuals achieve self-acceptance and appreciation and find mental health. Any one of us can be the change and make the difference for inclusion and an environment of trust and caring. Some things you can actively do are: Ask and seek to understand the pronouns and comfort in identity of everyone. Just talk to people! Get educated. Be genuine and ask questions. Ask about everything: identity, aspirations, interests, and what someone needs to feel safe. Don’t be an uninvolved bystander. If someone is being singled out and treated badly, step in, stay safe, but step in. This can mean speaking up or calling 911, then staying with the person until they are secure. Vote! Make sure that the candidates that win support equal treatment for all. Make sure the candidates elected know the struggles for insurance and healthcare for the LGBTQ+ populations. Take a course like Mental Health First Aid to learn how to help in a mental health crisis.

In general, be kind in thought and action. It is that simple to make a difference for someone.

If you know someone who is thinking of suicide or is feeling mentally unhealthy, please take a moment to help them contact the Assessment and Referral team at Lake Behavioral Hospital. Our team is ready to provide a free, confidential assessment to help find just the right level of care. Call us at 855-990-1900, 24/7/365. By walk in or appointment, we are available to help.

There is Value in your Mental Health

Our health is valuable and mental health is a big part of our health continuum. Even if our body is healthy, if our mental health is unstable, nothing seems in balance. Feelings like depression and anxiety can make us unable to carry out even the simplest of daily tasks; tasks our healthy body should be able to do, but our thoughts and feelings just won’t allow them to be done.

If this describes you, don’t hesitate to explore treatment options that can help you feel better and get back to accomplishing tasks that are important to you, your family and your job. There are advantages to include outpatient as a part of your treatment options.

Outpatient programs allow you to keep your professional and personal life intact. Some programs provide virtual options which make things even easier. Outpatient programming is often about flexibility and is a good start for someone who wants to take a step toward positive mental health.

To learn more about Lake Behavioral Hospital and our Intensive Outpatient Program for adults and Partial Hospitalization Program for teens, please call: 855-990-1900.