Published Wednesday, October 21, 2020

The stress and pressure sparked by the coronavirus pandemic have affected people across the spectrum. In addition to providing mental health counseling, both in-person and via Telehealth, WJCS, the largest provider of outpatient licensed community-based mental health services in Westchester county, is offering numerous programs in response to specialized needs.

Recognizing that workers on the front lines of the COVID public health crisis are experiencing signs of vicarious trauma which include Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, physical and emotional exhaustion, difficulty concentrating, and emotional numbness, WJCS has created a Counseling for Health Care and Frontline Workers program. If you or someone you know

is a healthcare practitioner, first responder, or other type of frontline worker experiencing signs of mental anguish, please know that no one needs to suffer alone. WJCS is here to provide the support that is needed.

We are proud to say that the professionals at WJCS provide state-of-the-art, evidence-based mental health treatment. Our four standalone mental health clinics--in Hartsdale, Mt. Vernon, Peekskill, and Yonkers--and satellite clinics are staffed by superbly trained professionals skilled in treatment for trauma, secondary trauma, depression, anxiety, substance use disorders, psychiatric evaluation, bereavement, and much more. We accept Medicaid as well as other health insurance plans.

With mental health problems skyrocketing in the college student population, as a result of the loneliness, fear, and uncertainty sparked by the coronavirus pandemic,  WJCS, partnering with the Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, has launched an Emotional Wellness College Initiative. This initiative ensures that college students in Westchester have access to high quality, evidence based mental health treatment during the COVID crisis, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

WJCS's OnTrackNY program provides emotional, social, and vocational support for college students or any individuals age 16-30 in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties who are experiencing unusual psychological symptoms, including hearing or seeing things that others do not, withdrawing from friends, or becoming fearful or suspicious of others. Funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health and a Healthy Living SAMSHA grant, OnTrackNY services are provided, regardless of ability to pay, to individuals who meet established criteria.

WJCS is the leading provider of Mental Health First Aid trainings in Westchester. At a time when mental health crises are on the rise, it's essential that all of us know how to identify signs of mental illness and substance use disorders and know where to refer people for appropriate care. WJCS offers trainings in Youth Mental Health First Aid (geared to supporting children and adolescents ages 6-18) and Mental Health First Aid for adults, both nationally recognized, evidence-based certification courses, to educators, coaches, government agencies, first responders, youth-serving agencies, parents, mentors, and volunteers. The trainings are available without charge and remotely.

Navigating the challenges sparked by the pandemic is hard. No one needs to suffer emotionally alone. To obtain counseling services through the WJCS Front Line Workers Initiative or College Wellness initiative, contact Leslie Perez at (914) 423-4433, ext. 3. For bereavement or other mental health counseling services, contact Leslie Hernandez, at (914) 737-7338 ext. 3119. For information about ONTrackNY, contact Valerie Rosen at [email protected] or (914) 523-0671. To schedule a Mental Health First Aid Training, contact Paula Santa-Donato [email protected].

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