Published Thursday, December 10, 2020

The college experience is unlike anything students have experienced before. "Many are learning remotely and experiencing loneliness as a result of being separated from their peers, their professors, and the college experiences that are so important in shaping their identity," says Suzanne DeLasho, Director of WJCS Behavioral Health Clinics.

In recognition of the fear, isolation, and uncertainly that college students are grappling with, Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), has launched an Emotional Wellness College Initiative. Created in partnership with Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health, this initiative ensures that college students in Westchester have access to high quality mental health treatment during the COVID crisis, irrespective of their insurance or ability to pay.

As the largest provider of licensed outpatient community mental health services in Westchester, WJCS recognizes that mental health support for young adults is critically important. WJCS provides Westchester college students access to evidence-based individual and family counseling, and group counseling for a full range of presenting concerns, as well as WJCS's specialized services for people with trauma, developmental disabilities, grief and bereavement, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors.  Services are provided in person or via telehealth.

To learn more, contact: W. Andrew Mullane, Ph.D.  Director of Integration, Innovation, and Community Partnership at WJCS at [email protected]. To obtain services through this initiative, contact Leslie Perez at (914) 423-4433, ext. 3.

In response to the growing mental health needs sparked by the coronavirus pandemic, WJCS is also offering free Mental Health First Aid group trainings, in partnership with Westchester County Department of Community Mental Health. Mental Health First Aid is a nationally recognized, evidence-based certification course that teaches how to identify, understand, and respond to signs of mental illness and substance use disorders. Youth Mental Health First Aid training gives adults who work with youth the skills they need to reach out and provide initial support to children and adolescents (ages 6-18) who may be developing a mental health or substance use problem and help connect them to the appropriate care. The traininigs are directed to non-mental health professionals and other adults who work with and care for youth, including but not limited to, teachers and school personnel, youth serving agencies, government agencies, coaches, parents, mentors and volunteers. WJCS also offers Adult Mental Health First Aid trainings, focusing on ages 19 and older. For more information, contact Paula Santa-Donato, LCSW, Director of Youth Services at WJCS, at [email protected].

WJCS also offers support for individuals, ages 16-30 ,in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties who are experiencing significant signs of stress, including withdrawal, fears, suspicions, and strange beliefs. The WJCS OnTrackNY program has a Coordinated Specialty Care Team who work collaboratively to help clients achieve their relationship, academic, and job goals. Services are provided regardless of ability to pay to Individuals who meet the established criteria. This program is funded by the New York State Office of Mental Health and a Healthy Living SAMSHA grant. For more information or to make a referral, contact Valerie Rosen, LCSW, OnTrackNY Program Director & Team Leader at [email protected] or (914) 523-0671.



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