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05/2008 RVCC Receives Funding For The Schools and Community Support Program

River Valley Counseling Center, Inc.(RVCC) has been awarded additional grant funding from the Department of Public Health to implement The Schools and Community Support Program.  This program is an extension of RVCC’s School-Based Health Centers and will allow RVCC staff to provide specific training to school administrators, teachers and students regarding issues of depression, suicide, anger management, stress management and other mental health issues and concerns.

The school-based health centers were originally implemented as part of Holyoke’s response to significantly high rates of infant mortality, adolescent pregnancy and parenting, substance abuse, school absenteeism and dropouts.  For the past 14 years, RVCC has been providing medical and mental health services to students at Holyoke High, Dean Tech and Peck Middle schools, the three School-Based Health Centers located Holyoke.   Services include:

comprehensive physical examinations; immunizations for mumps, measles, O.P.V. (polio), rubella and tetanus/diphtheria;
acute medical and nursing care, including the examination and treatment of routine injuries, illnesses and other common health problems;
medical follow-up for lab work such as TB skin tests, urine screenings, pregnancy tests and throat cultures;
nutritional counseling and other health related services.

Many children and families in Holyoke experience financial and non-financial barriers to health care including lack of insurance; fears about confidentiality or lack of confidentiality; inconvenient office hours; lack of transportation; apprehension and discomfort discussing personal problems affecting health; lack of information about available resources; limited community resources; and, in many cases, a mistrust of the health care system.  Poverty, language barriers and cultural biases, exacerbate the lack of access to health care for the majority of the residents of the city.  The SBHCs provide easy, accessible mental health and medical care for the most vulnerable populations.

Existing funding contracts with local school systems including United Way, Department of Mental Health (DMH), Department of Public Health (DPH) and local municipal government have resulted in two significant positive outcomes.  First, RVCC can  provide individualized interventions for each person, based on his/her strengths, which are more comprehensive than would otherwise be possible.  Second, the agency has built many strong working relationships with other child and family providers, community organizations, social service agencies, and schools.

The additional funding is allowing for the expansion of mental health services that are currently limited such as crisis intervention; assessment and screening necessities; consultation with families, teachers and other adults who participate in the health and well-being of students in need; psycho-education regarding mental health, substance use and enhancing life skills by offering group sessions; and program evaluation.   For more information, please call 534-2033.