One in five children suffers from underlying mental health issues and even trauma. Many children and families are unable to receive timely care with behavioral or mental health needs. Waiting lists in private counseling services are three to six months.
After the school day is over and during the summer, young people have many behavioral health needs and we need to make a positive connection between behaviors and the health of body, mind and body well-being. the spirit of our children. Identifying mental health issues early and partnering with schools and other private behavioral health agencies will lead to improved mental and physical health, reduced juvenile justice costs and child protection. childhood, as well as reduced crisis interventions.
The Watertown Boys & Girls Club Board of Directors recently embarked on a strategic planning process. Behavioral health services were identified as a key need and the wheels were in motion to see how the club could play a vital role in meeting this community need.
Research was conducted over the past 6 months with other Boys and Girls clubs across the country and we looked at best practices in how various clubs offer behavioral health programs. Club staff also consulted with the school district and other local organizations. As of this month, we have opened the position of social worker in behavioral health.
The primary role of the Behavioral Health Social Worker will be to provide social, emotional and behavioral support as well as strengths-based management services for children and families to promote success within the Boys & Girls Club, the school and community.
As an organization serving young people, we believe it is so important to be proactive with programs that consider trauma, crisis prevention, stress management and the development of life skills. It’s a good start, but there is still a long way to go. We are committed to helping young people access the behavioral health care they need in order to create opportunities for good health, hope and healing.
Liz Christianson is the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club in Watertown.