CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — According to the 2022 report from Mental Health America, mental health is a nationwide issue and a critical one in Texas, which is ranked the lowest in the nation in terms of access to mental health care.
To address the mental health crisis facing young people, Driscoll Health, Coastal Bend Community Foundation, and Corpus Christi Independent School District are teaming up to launch a three-year pilot program at five elementary schools and one high school in the district.
Coastal Bend Community Foundation initiated an $800,000 grant for the mental health pilot program.
The program will be launched at Moody High School, Mireles Elementary, Montclair Elementary, Travis Elementary, Shaw Elementary, and Berlanga Elementary.
Driscoll Health said the goal is to make a significant impact on children in CCISD by creating a program where children need it.
The program will ensure that six additional mental health professionals, all Driscoll staff members, will be placed in the schools to address the mental health needs of students.
Some parents in the community say they support this opportunity so children can receive the help where they need it most.
"As a retired high school teacher of 35 years, I feel that mental health is sometimes overlooked," Debbie Hughes said. "We focus a lot on academics and physical health and our mental health drives us."
"It not only benefits the families, but it probably helps in the classroom as well," Melissa Serros said. "The parents can't always be there, so it's good to have these programs in the school. I fully support it"
In addition, Driscoll will provide the Positive Parenting Program for families in these schools as well. The partnered companies say these programs can improve relationships among parents and their children and help families cope with life stressors.
"We are seeing younger children with anxiety and emotional distress that have increased during the pandemic," Mary Dale Peterson, MD, Executive Vice President, and Chief Operating Officer for Driscoll Health said. "Providing caring mental health professionals in schools to help families learn to cope will help kids regain their childhood and set them up for future success."
For now, it's unclear when the official start date is for the mental health pilot program; but organizers say they plan to begin the program as soon as they can.
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