Grit & Grace: Jessica Spong

"I didn’t set out to be a single parent, but it’s where life brought me, so I’ve had to rise to the occasion. It can be very hard, but it’s rewarding. I get to tuck my kids in every night and say I love you; this is the biggest blessing in my life. While I have an incredible support system filled with family, friends, and coworkers, I am the one constant in my children’s lives. It can be overwhelming but also amazing. My goal is to teach my children compassion for others, always helping those that are weaker or in need. I want to instill in them
the same values that my parents instilled in me – love for others and love for God.

Professionally, I support families whose children are having some type of mental health crisis. Much of the time this is the hardest thing that these families have been through... watching your child struggle with this type of challenge can be heartbreaking. Having a loved one that has struggled with mental illness makes me uniquely qualified to support the families I work with. I find that sometimes parents just want to hear that they are doing right by their children, that they are doing a good job being a parent. I’m able to give them hope and nothing is better than that.

I have learned that no matter your circumstance, socioeconomic status, family structure, education level, or what your own upbringing was like – there is so much guilt that comes along with being a parent. We all judge ourselves for our shortcomings and have a difficult time seeing our strengths and what we are doing right. No matter how short the time I spend with the families I work with, it is an honor to be a part of their journey."

Jessica is a Family Partner at Lahey Health Behavioral Services.