Mental Health Awareness Month: Leveling Up to Provide Mental Health Resources
Breakthrough students and families demonstrated remarkable perseverance, resilience and grace, but there is no denying that the crisis of the pandemic continues to impact the mental health and wellbeing of people of all ages. The World Health Organization estimated anxiety and depression increased by 25% worldwide, and that was true within our community. While helping students achieve their postsecondary goals is our overall mission, our day to day work involves supporting them holistically while they are on that journey.
-Zakiyyah Kareem, Chief Student Support Officer
During the pandemic, Breakthrough launched a new initiative to increase holistic support for students and their families: mental health services. Throughout 2021-2022, 165 students worked personally with a mental health professional from Vida Clinic and independent counselors, with services funded by Breakthrough Central Texas. This initiative was led by Breakthrough Chief Student Support Officer, Zakiyyah Kareem, who received her Master’s in Counseling from St. Edward’s University.
Read more below.
Q&A with Chief Student Support Officer, Zakiyyah Kareem
What is your role at Breakthrough? Describe the growth you’ve seen since your time here.
Also, I’ve seen Breakthrough expand its services to Manor and Del Valle ISDs. And, as our community has grown, so has our organization’s knowledge and understanding of what it takes to support an individual on their educational journey and navigate the many challenges that can become barriers to their postsecondary goals.
When did Breakthrough start providing Mental Health support for our students?
How have Breakthrough’s mental health supports evolved over time, especially since the start of the pandemic?
Once we built out the referral process, we learned very quickly that we needed more therapists as the need for counseling services quickly outpaced our therapists’ capacity. This led Breakthrough to seek a partner organization that could handle the demand, which is now roughly 40-50 per semester. We also wanted to partner with a provider that was committed to serving diverse, underserved populations, and would be willing to collaborate with us on referral process and billing.
How did Breakthrough’s partnership with Vida Clinic come to be?
Why is this support so important to you?
Chief Student Support Officer
HELP EXPAND BREAKTHROUGH'S MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
Give today to the Student & Family Support Fund to ensure Breakthrough can continue rapidly providing access to mental health services to any student or family who wants or needs them.