Putting a spotlight on the mental health of children and youth

Mental health disorders among children and youth have been on the increase since before the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also a nationwide shortage of providers who can meet the mental health needs of children and youth. At DePelchin — during May, which is Mental Health Awareness Month, and throughout the year — we are working to serve more children by offering counseling services for children and youth in a variety of settings.


One in three Texas children experience a mental health disorder in a given year, according to the Meadows Mental Health Policy Institute. While the pandemic increased mental health conditions such as anxiety and depression, the National Institutes of Health report that such conditions were on the increase among young people across the country in the years before the pandemic.


A lack of mental health providers exacerbates these challenges. According to the American Psychological Association, a major challenge is the lack of providers who can meet the mental health needs of children and youth.


DePelchin clinicians provide evidence-based counseling services in office settings and virtually. DePelchin clinicians also work in schools that do not have the staff available to provide mental health services. In 2023, DePelchin provided 18,700 counseling and therapeutic sessions.


“We provide counseling to the entire spectrum of problems, from families who have minor issues and conflict all the way to severe trauma,” said Dr. Charity Eames, DePelchin’s Director of Clinical Services. “We work with families who are intact, but also families experiencing a child placed outside the home.”


Over the past year, DePelchin has added 18 counselors to expand the number of children and families who can be served.


“Most of DePelchin’s programs are considered short-term counseling. We aren’t looking to provide services to families for years and years,” Dr. Eames said. “We are trying to help families figure out solutions to get over the crisis they are experiencing, how to learn some coping skills to deal with what’s going on, and in addition to that, how can they take these things that they have learned and generalize them when problems arise in the future.”


Mental Health Awareness Month is also an important time at DePelchin because the organization also provides foster care services. Chil­dren and youth who expe­ri­ence trau­ma, includ­ing abuse or neglect, are at increased risk for long-term emo­tion­al, behav­ioral and phys­i­cal health prob­lems, among oth­er chal­lenges.


DePelchin is grateful for the supporters who make it possible for us to offer counseling services. For more information about our counseling programs, please click here.

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