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McConnaughay spotlights every day hero, Kristen Kauke, clinical social worker and community leader in mental wellness

This week, Senator McConnaughay spotlights Kristen Kauke, an innovative social worker at Creekwood Associates and founder of the St. Charles Regional Effort of Campaign to Change Direction. 

Following her graduation from University of Chicago’s Social Work Masters program in 1999, she started her social work career in Barrington schools providing counseling to elementary and middle school students, as well as serving families and youth at her own private practice.

As part of her ongoing commitment to her clients and mental education, Kauke is always thinking of new ways to broaden service offerings and diversify her methods of care. To add more wellness-focused treatments, she decided to return to the classroom herself to earn a certification in yoga instruction and research yoga-informed psychotherapy.

Kauke has become well-known for her warmth and compassion approach in her practice and throughout the community and has helped number of clients overcome challenges in anxiety, attention deficit, autism spectrum disorders, depression and other mood disorders.

“Mental health and mood disorders are more common than many of us realize,” said Senator McConnaughay. “It’s so important that those who seek help have a compassionate and trustworthy advocate like Kristen. We’re lucky to have her, and I know so much of the community would agree.”

Senator McConnaughay especially commends her initiatives to raise mental health awareness and education in Kane County. As a mental health first aid instructor, Kauke teaches community classes to help residents understand mental illness and learn intervention and life-saving skills pertaining to mental suffering. She also teaches yoga at a juvenile detention center to help youths boost their mental and emotional awareness.

In addition to instruction, Kauke adopted a major undertaking to rally the community to take a stand on mental illness. She helped to establish the area’s first St. Charles Regional Effort of the Campaign to Change Direction organization. As part of their mission, concerned residents and private and nonprofit leaders come together to change the culture revolving mental health, mental illness and wellness. In their current message, Kauke and fellow members ask that everyone makes the pledge to learn and teach the “five signs of emotional suffering” to help those in need of professional help get the support they deserve.

“Kristen not only saves lives through her work as a social worker, but by also sharing her incredible knowledge with as many people as possible—that’s a leader,” said McConnaughay. “She’s raised so much awareness around mental health already, and I know we can expect even more from her.” 

Senator McConnaughay is proud to recognize Kauke’s incredible leadership in social work and commitment to bettering the lives of the mental health community. For more information on her practice at Creekwood Associates, visit http://www.creekwoodassociates.com/.

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