As I look back and reflect on 2023, I see a year filled with hope and determination. Hope and determination in our dedicated staff who created a safe and welcoming environment that uplifts children, youth and their families. They lend a hand and heart to help our clients, providing them with the tools they need to begin the healing process. Hope and compassion in our donors who support the vision and mission of The Guidance Center because they see the power that hope brings to families struggling with a mental health challenge. And hope and purpose in our clients who have the courage to walk through our doors and ask for help.
Here are some of the highlights from this past year:
•We continued to provide vital core mental health services to more than 2,942 children and their families, providing 126,325 hours of care at all three of our clinics, in schools and in the community.
•In response to the alarming number of clients who reported suicidal ideation, symptoms of self-harm or depression, we provided specialized Assessing and Managing Suicide Risk trainings to mental health professionals and community members, in addition to Collaborative and Management of Suicidology for Guidance Center clinical staff.
•We created a strategic plan for 2023-2025. This strategic plan identifies three primary goals: ensuring clients with acute needs receive the highest quality clinical care; further advancing the integration of mental health services in clinical settings; and building upon and sustaining our focus on justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.
•Through a two-year grant provided by the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), we enhanced our trauma-informed care services for vulnerable and under-represented youth by increasing accessibility to mental health services through outreach, education and engagement workshops in the community. Our Community Health Workers conducted 40 workshops and trainings for 386 community members on various mental health topics and provided guidance on supporting children with mental illnesses and trauma.
•Thanks to our close collaborative partnership with the pediatric care teams at MemorialCare Miller Children’s and Women’s Hospital and pediatric physicians in the community, our Whole Child Program psychologists provided evidence-based mental health treatment for vulnerable families with complex healthcare needs in the community setting (i.e. at the hospital, at home, at medical appointments, at school). The Guidance Center is unique in its provision of these specialized services, and in its transformative collaboration with MemorialCare.
I am incredibly grateful to everyone who plays an integral role in our mission: our wonderful staff, our generous donors and community partners. When our children need access to services now more than ever, we find comfort and encouragement in knowing that you are there beside us.
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a happy and peaceful 2024.
Patricia Costales, LCSW
Chief Executive Officer