Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston Elevate Youth Mental Health with Support from Houston Methodist

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 5/2/2024, 11:24 a.m.
In an enduring commitment to the mental wellness of young Houstonians, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston (BGCGH) …

In an enduring commitment to the mental wellness of young Houstonians, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston (BGCGH) are enhancing their mental health services, thanks to a substantial $120,000 grant from Houston Methodist. This funding marks a significant step forward in supporting the Strong Kids Program, especially critical as May, recognized as Mental Health Awareness Month, highlights the need for such vital services.

Kevin Hattery, President and CEO of BGCGH, expressed his gratitude for the grant, "We are thrilled to be a recipient of this generous grant from Houston Methodist. It significantly strengthens our Strong Kids Program, ensuring that our young members have the necessary resources to maintain their mental health and access high-quality healthcare services."

In Harris County, where 21% of residents lack health insurance, the necessity for accessible healthcare is particularly acute. The grant from Houston Methodist, part of their Community Benefits Program, is aimed at nonprofits striving to make healthcare services affordable and emphasizing preventative care. This is the third consecutive year BGCGH has received this support, underlining a sustained effort to bolster mental health among youth.

The Strong Kids Program, in collaboration with UT Health, involves a comprehensive approach to mental health care. Youth members undergo preliminary screenings by BGCGH staff and evaluations by licensed professionals. Those who qualify engage in the program, participating in small group sessions with mental health clinicians twice weekly at their respective clubs. The program culminates with exit screenings to assess progress and outcomes.

Andrea N. Clark, Director of the Mission Bend Boys & Girls Club, shared insights into the program's impact, "Empowering young minds through the Strong Kids Program has transformed our members, turning challenges into resilience and remarkable personal growth. It's a testament to the incredible potential within every young person we serve."

The program addresses a growing concern, as Hattery noted, "Being a teenager became notably more challenging during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Even those who did not previously struggle are now experiencing significant mental health issues, such as anxiety and depression. The Strong Kids Program provides these teens with a safe space to express themselves and receive the care they need."

The partnership between BGCGH and Houston Methodist showcases a community-driven response to the mental health challenges facing today’s youth, offering a beacon of hope and a clear path forward for many young individuals in Houston. As the program continues to grow and evolve, its role in shaping healthier, more resilient future generations remains invaluable.

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