When Kathleen Cheski was a teenager, she found out her sister needed major surgery. This experience opened Kathleen’s eyes to the impact social workers can have.
“My whole family was so stressed and worried,” Kathleen said. “As a teenager, you can imagine how worrisome major surgery on a sibling would be. I didn’t have the life experience to know everything would probably be okay. The hospital social worker helped us calm down by focusing on the evidence that showed there would probably be a positive outcome instead of dwelling on potential negative outcomes.”
Kathleen was a double major at Lehigh University, graduating with Bachelor of Arts degrees in social relations and journalism. She then earned her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Fordham University.
Today, Kathleen is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), licensed clinical alcohol and drug counselor (LCADC), certified school social worker, and certified school counselor.
Much of Kathleen’s experience involves children and families, especially in school settings. She provided counseling to students who were having behavioral difficulties through a district-run behavioral support program.
She also provided counseling through two separate school-based programs run by mental health agencies and spent several years in outpatient agencies that were similar to Nutley Family Service Bureau (NFSB).
“The greatest benefit of the school program was helping students and faculty gain a greater understanding of mental health and how it impacts everyday living,” Kathleen said. “With that knowledge, students could cope better and teachers had a better sense of what students were experiencing. Providing information and support for mental health made it possible to transform situations for students.”
From the time she first started as a social worker in 1999 to today, Kathleen has noticed an increase in anxiety and depression among students, which she believes can be attributed in part to schools having greater ability to recognize mental health disorders, as well as more willingness among students to talk about their feelings.
Kathleen’s experience in school settings motivated her to increase her expertise in not only mental health, but substance use. After seeing high school students struggle with substance use, she spent time providing mental health counseling in addiction treatment centers.
Kathleen is excited to work with NFSB clients, from children having difficulty in school, to older adults who are struggling with illness and changes in their health status. And she’s grateful to be able to help people in such a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere.
“This is not a sterile office environment,” Kathleen said. “NFSB is warm and approachable, where people feel like they can come to get better. I love how the front desk staff knows clients by name so they feel comfortable from the moment they walk through the door. I love the community feel of NFSB.”
If you or someone you know needs help overcoming mental or emotional challenges, whether everyday stress or a serious crisis, please contact the mental health program at NFSB. We will always respect your privacy. Call 973-667-1884. In-person and telehealth appointments are available right now.