The counselors of our school districts are important links keeping our kids connected with our communities of caring. Care For Kids embraces the hearts and hands of these counselors and encourages them to know when help is needed. This story came to us from a counselor who embraced a very difficult situation and made a significant difference in the lives of so many.
“He sat in my office staring into space and mumbling words. I strained to understand. He was in obvious mental distress. I, typically unshakable, was scared. All that was happening pointed to a serious issue. I was fearful my student was never going to be the same. I had read about individuals experiencing a break with reality, but this was my first experience witnessing it firsthand. I called his parents and sat with him until his father arrived.
What followed was a lengthy stay in the hospital, phone calls and conferences with his parents as we tried to navigate the uncharted path of mental illness. Although the student was being kept safe, he was not emerging as his previous self. This not only terrified his parents but it broke their hearts. They were so very sad. To make matters more complicated, they did not have insurance.
I listened to his parents explain that upon his release from the hospital they did not know how they were going to provide for their son’s needs. They could not connect him with the mental health services he needed due to financial constraints. They told me the first appointment he would have with a mental health professional was over six weeks away. The hospital social worker helped them apply for Medicaid, but they did not know when, or If, he would be accepted.
The school researched reputable mental healthcare providers in the area and contracted for at least six sessions with a provider. We ensured his needs were met in the time between release from the hospital and the expected Medicaid establishment.
When I spoke to his mother on the last day of school she relayed to me how important the school’s support was in their journey with their son. He still has good days and difficult days, but the family is able to entertain the idea of him returning to school next year. They are all still learning their new normal, but they have not walked this road alone. Sometimes that’s all we need…to be able to take the next step no matter how frightening the path may be.
Care for Kids allowed us to be a support that was desperately needed.”
For one student and his family the world stopped turning and all that was familiar and safe left their reality. But for the rest of an entire school district all was as usual. This one counselor was able to serve both and keep moving in a positive direction. Thank God for hearts and hands like these in our communities.