This article was contributed by the San Benito County Behavioral Health Department.
The Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) was approved by California voters in 2004 to provide increased funding towards programs within Behavioral Health departments to deliver a variety of mental health services in their communities. MHSA funds were allocated to counties to support children, transition age youth, adults, older adults and families through innovation, prevention and early intervention projects. With a growing population in this area, San Benito County Behavioral Health has moved towards organizing and initiating their goal to target areas in the community that would benefit from this added resource.
Promoting Access, Trust, and Healthy Behaviors in Schools
With the new school year under way, students have already begun to see the friendly faces of San Benito County Behavioral Health staff on their school campus, promoting the efforts of the PATHS program.
The PATHS (Promoting Access, Trust, and Healthy Behaviors in Schools) program offers an array of behavioral health services to children and youth that aim to support enhanced social and emotional development, improve social skills, school performance, and provide linkage to County mental health and substance use disorder services.
Funded through MHSA, the PATHS program is comprised of a team of qualified case managers who will support children, youth, and their families to reach their goals. The PATHS team will provide ongoing supportive services to help reduce high-risk behaviors such as poor school performance, absenteeism, social isolation, and emotional instability, while developing positive behaviors and coping skills to improve resiliency.
“We are excited to provide an expanded array of behavioral health services to support the well-being of students, families, and teachers in San Benito County,” PATHS Program Manager Maria Sanchez said. “We strive to provide our community with resources and we hope that our collaborative efforts in these safe spaces empower students to have knowledge of and seek the resources available to help them excel in school and in their future.”
Some of the services offered by the PATHS program include identification of children and youth who are exhibiting early warning signs of high-risk behavior, as well as screening and assessment for mental health and/or substance use symptoms. The PATHS program also provides individual and group therapeutic services, skill development coaching, and linkage to community resources.
For more information about the PATHS Program, contact Maria Sanchez at (831) 636-4020. Pamphlets for the PATHS Program are available in print at the San Benito County Behavioral Health building located at 1131 San Felipe Road in Hollister.