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About half of children with mental health disorders receive treatment, and while the numbers of youth experiencing anxiety have risen, the numbers of those receiving therapy and/or medication have not. While behavioral healthcare provides the best outcomes for children and adolescents, many barriers prevent them from receiving the treatment they need.

To remove some of those barriers, our agency started offering school-based mental health services in 2022. A recent grant from Mary Washington Hospital Foundation will allow the agency to expand those services.

“Mental health concerns can impact students’ ability to learn,” said Jacque Kobuchi, Director of Clinical Services. “Early access to treatment can have a dramatic and lasting effect. We’re seeing positive results from our school-based services and this grant will allow us to help even more students.”

RACSB will receive $79,800 from the Joe and Mary Wilson Community Benefit Fund of Mary Washington Hospital Foundation. The grant will provide the resources for RACSB to add a full-time child and adolescent therapist who will be based in a local school division.

RACSB’s school-based therapy started in Fredericksburg City Public Schools and then expanded to Caroline County Public Schools. The services include assessment, case management, counseling and family support services.

Such services are in demand—in a recent study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of parents said their children could use mental health counseling. And nearly half of teens reported feeling so hopeless that they curtailed their usual activities.

“Statistics about youth mental health needs are alarming,” Executive Director Joe Wickens said. “But community support, like this grant, allows us to address these needs and bring hope to educators, caregivers and—most importantly—students.”

We’re excited to expand our school-based services but with so many youth experiencing mental health concerns, we know that this won’t meet all of the need. This column offers tips for parents and caregivers who worry about a child’s mental well-being.

Mental Health America offers a helpful back-to-school toolkit full of tips to help children and teens navigate emotional health in a digital world.

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