FALL RIVER — National studies indicate that between 13 – 20% of children have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, but a shortage of qualified providers means limited access for children to receive the care that they need in a timely manner.[1]  Recognizing the importance of addressing mental health issues early and quickly, the Diocese of Fall River Catholic Schools Alliance has partnered with Saint Vincent’s to offer direct on-site counseling for students in their twenty Catholic schools in Southeastern Massachusetts starting in November 2018.

Providing on-site assessment and counseling services will enable students to receive the care that they need in an environment that is familiar and safe. It also takes the burden off families to find a provider in their insurance network who is accepting new patients – a process that is often time consuming and confusing. The counseling services provided by Saint Vincent’s can be covered by health insurance.  Counseling services will be available in both English and Portuguese. Addressing mental, social / emotional, and behavioral issues removes a level of stress from students and provides them with tools to achieve greater academic success.

As part of the partnership, Saint Vincent’s will also provide consultation to classroom teachers and/ or administrators to provide additional support for students with special education, social / emotional or behavioral needs. This service will build on the professional development offered to Diocese of Fall River Catholic schools by Dahyana Schlosser CPRP, M.Ed. which focus on creating school based mental health triage teams to assist students in crisis.

Upon announcing the partnership, Superintendent of Schools Stephen Perla stated; “Given the increasing number of students who are struggling with social and emotional issues and the growing challenge with accessing mental health services, we are deeply grateful to St. Vincent’s for this partnership.”

Founded in 1885 by the Sisters of Mercy and the Roman Catholic Diocese of Fall River as an orphanage, Saint Vincent’s has changed its service delivery over the years and is now a multi-service, behavioral health and child welfare organization serving over 1,000 children, adolescents and families annually throughout Southeastern MA, Cape Cod and the Islands.  Saint Vincent’s is committed to fostering the well-being of children, adolescents, families and the community through a holistic approach to treatment and care.  Saint Vincent’s is licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and provides a place of positive change for children, adolescents and their families and to give them the insight and tools they need to build healthy relationships.

For more information or to find your local Catholic School please visit www.CatholicSchoolsAlliance.org or contact Sarah Heaton at sheaton@catholicsa.org.

[1] Tobin Tyler, Elizabeth, et al. Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care: Considerations and Opportunities for Policymakers, Planners, and Providers. Milbank Memorial Fund, 2017, Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care: Considerations and Opportunities for Policymakers, Planners, and Providers, www.milbank.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/MMF_BHI_Executive-Summary-FINAL.pdf.

Diocese of Fall River
Catholic Schools Alliance
423 Highland Avenue
Fall River, MA 02720

Diocese of Fall River
Diocese of Fall River
Office of Communications