Thursday, May 19, 2022

Mental Health Month and A Home Within-CASA Therapy Project

Mental Health Month addresses a mass-scale public health crisis impacting us in our daily lives. “Even before the pandemic, millions of Americans were experiencing stress, trauma, anxiety, and heightened levels of depression. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated those conditions, creating an unprecedented mental health crisis across our country.” (A Proclamation on National Mental Health Awareness Month, 2022, Briefing Room, The White House). For youth in foster care, this impact is amplified. According to Children's Rights, "It is estimated that up to 80% of children in foster care suffer from a mental health issue compared to 18-22% of the general population of children. Less than 25% of children in foster care have received any mental health services after a year in state custody. Youth in foster care experience PTSD at two times the rate of US war veterans." 

In California, the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Health Care Services now face a wave of mental health needs that continues to grow as COVID, climate change, social injustice, homelessness, poverty, and other factors accelerate. Available resources are not growing fast enough to meet the need, and in some cases, are in decline. “The state is facing a shortage of mental health providers.” (California to Funnel Billions into Mental Health Overhaul, Jefferson Public Radio, March 20, 2022)

A Home Within-CASA Therapy Project (ACTP) is committed to providing additional resources by engaging volunteer clinical therapists who offer California youth in foster care weekly teletherapy sessions. Since its inception, over 850 therapy hours have been donated to youth who may have otherwise gone without mental health care. With the help of our volunteers, these youths have an opportunity to increase self-esteem and self-love, learn new coping and communication skills, work through trauma, and build trust with a therapist who is available due to the flexibility and increased accessibility of treatment by teletherapy.

Foster youth clients saw an 83% decline in their trauma and anxiety and 67% increase in their self-esteem and self-worth (CASA Therapy Project survey 2020).

What A Home Within-CASA Therapy Project (ACTP) foster youth clients say about ACTP:

  • ACTP makes it easy and accessible for you to heal
  • Humanness, lack of judgement and ability to relate
  • (My therapist) is open, relatable, flexible, non-judgmental, knowledgeable, kind, and authentic
  • (My therapist) is very understanding, patient, and gives me logical explanations for why I feel certain things

If you are a licensed California therapist who would like to donate one hour a week to helping a youth in foster care or you are a youth in foster care who wants therapy, please contact Elliott Night.


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