Catholic Charities & clinical mental health services in our schools

The education and development of the whole child is part of what makes Catholic schools so special.

And mental health is one part of that.

Last year, seven schools (two high schools and five elementary schools) were part of the Catholic Charities School Mental Health Pilot Program—and it was a huge success. A licensed mental health therapist was present in each school for half a day each week. Catholic Charities offered to the program at no cost to the schools nor the students. Students were seen by appointment at school just as they would be in an outpatient clinic.

The program was driven primarily by principal, or counselor or teacher referral and of course involved parental permission. Positive outcomes with school mental health not only include improved emotional and behavioral functioning, but also less time lost from school, improved social functioning, and improved attendance and academic performance.

The participating principals have provided overwhelmingly positive feedback. The therapist was also on-call to all the principals at all times and made many “emergency” trips to schools to assess crisis-type situations or provide consultation.

Some of the principals have requested a full day of service for this 2018-19 school year. We are committed to these seven schools again this year and have been applying for multiple grant opportunities to continue and expand the program to more schools throughout the Archdiocese. Catholic Charities has also purchased telehealth equipment to expand services to rural schools in the future. Last year the program was funded by Catholic Charities and with a grant from the Kim Foundation.

Many of our school and parish communities provide services to help families. As some examples, Mercy High has secured funding to employ a second guidance counselor this year and Creighton Prep has employed a LMHP as a response to the growing need for such student services.

School communities, please join us in prayer for continued support of this very important service to students.