Supporting Mental Health in Schools
Children living in poverty are more likely to experience traumatic incidents than their more affluent peers. In the MacArthur Park area, where child poverty is double the California average, children often live in cramped, crowded apartments with two or more families, or experience homelessness and food insecurity. They deal with parents being deported, siblings being locked up, or violence in their neighborhood. Left untreated, trauma, anxiety, and depression among students can lead to chronic absenteeism, low achievement, disruptive behavior, and dropping out of school.
At Camino Nuevo Charter Academy, the Jeri Weiss Mental Health Program provides counseling, therapy, crisis intervention, and other services to children and families in need. Therapists at our schools see each child through the lens of family, school, and community, and work with multiple stakeholders to support children who show signs of a mental health problem. Each year, over 2,000 students and families receive support from our program, while teachers receive training to know how to support children with mental health needs in the classroom.
The Jeri Weiss Mental Health Program is named after the late Dr. Jeri Weiss, who served as president of the Los Angeles Child Development Center and brought mental health services to Camino Nuevo in 2005. In 2009, she wrote, “My fervent hope is that you, our most loyal supporters, will help sustain us. Even as economic challenges concern us all, the children we serve need us more than ever. Please help us help them.” Our program can flourish only with the financial support of our generous donors and our committed foundation partners.
Over the past 14 years, we have seen how mental health services in schools can have a positive impact on student wellness and learning. Join us in supporting the Jeri Weiss Mental Health Program and giving more children the care and support they need to learn and thrive in school.