Mental Health Help For Children

Tiburcio Vasquez’s School Based Mental Health Program has had a powerful impact on vulnerable young people in our community. The program provides therapists in eight high-needs elementary, middle and high schools. These therapists work on campus to help students who’ve endured shattering traumas, anxiety, and depression.

The sad fact is, the needs of the students who need our help have outpaced our funding. Through this effort, you’ll help keep the program strong, so students can count on services to help them through difficult challenges, enjoy healthy relationships, and succeed in school. I believe that the character of our communities is illustrated by how we help the most vulnerable among us. I hope you agree, and will give as generously as you can. You’ll be helping students like Sammy, Janet, Maria and David (we value our patients’ privacy. Their names have been changed, and their stories anonymized for confidentiality purposes).

1. Sammy, just seven, was the silent witness to domestic violence at home, and his father’s drug use. Then a family member called Child Protective Services, and a restraining order was lodged against his father. That was when his dad tried to harm himself … and Sammy. When his father was sent to jail, Sammy was confused — and angry with his mother. Our therapist helped Sammy understand what had happened. He opened up about what he’d witnessed and experienced … and how he felt. Over several weeks, Sammy’s focus at school improved, and his anger decreased. Today, he and his mom have a strong bond.

2. Janet, a senior, came to us with what she termed “mood problems.” Once we built trust, she revealed past sexual abuse by a family friend. Now she was in a relationship with a boyfriend who’d manipulate her by threatening suicide. Janet sacrificed her own needs to please him and others. After treatment, Janet was able to end the relationship and set better boundaries. This June, Janet is looking ahead to being the very first person in her family to graduate from high school.

3. Middle schooler Maria came to us after her rudeness to teachers, angry outbursts, and skipping class got her into trouble at school. Her family was ordered to court because of truancy. That only increased her anxiety. She began having panic attacks and bouts of sadness she didn’t understand. She used marijuana to cope. After two weeks with us, her symptoms lessened. With help, she could articulate her feeling to her parents, about their behaviors that added to family stress. Now Maria’s self-confidence has grown; she has learned to use healthy, positive coping skills.

4. David was a freshman, plagued with thoughts of suicide. His severe depression and anxiety resulted in panic attacks. He was failing most of his classes, and socially isolating himself. David believed his friends and family would be better off without him. During the first intake meeting, our therapist made a safety plan with him while he wept. Later, he shared the plan with his mother. Soon, David he began to smile again. His grades improved, relationships strengthened, and he became more social. He still struggles with sadness, but has begun to value himself and his life. He has even shared his future career goals: becoming a veterinarian or human rights lawyer.

Change in the world begins with investing in and protecting the future. Thank you for anything you can donate to help these vulnerable kids! www.tvhc. 

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Caitlin Finnell 
Hayward, CA
Tiburcio Vasquez Health Center (Tvhc) 
Registered nonprofit
Donations are typically 100% tax deductible in the US.
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