School-Based Mental Health Program Success Story

A 9-year-old Latino male was referred to El Centro de Amistad’s School-Based Mental Health Program due to extreme fears and worries regarding attending school.  Client had a history of chronic absences and somatic complaints such as vomiting, dizziness and nausea prior to attending classes.  In addition, client was failing most of his classes. Client’s parents were often frustrated and worried about their child’s well-being. Client greatly benefited from the school-based program, as therapist worked together with school personnel to monitor his attendance and provide reassurance in the school ground.  After a school incident in which the client was harassed and “pushed around” by two students in the locker room he became extremely fearful and phobic of attending school.  Following this incident, he developed severe physiological symptoms and refused to go to school.  Therapist and mother met with his school counselor and explained the incident.  The counselor summoned the two students and discussed the allegations and a meeting with the client was held as well. At the end of the meeting, the students apologized to client and promised to no longer harass him.  The school counselor assured client that he would closely continue to monitor the situation.  The therapist would visit him every week at school to continue to assist in decreasing his fears and anxiety related to school issues.  The client eventually overcame his fears and the physical symptoms vanished completely.  In the course of treatment, client learned adaptive behavior and new coping skills to assist him in getting back on academic track and decreasing his symptoms. Upon termination of the case the client had perfect school attendance; his grades increased (from D’s and F’s to B’s and C’s); he was an active participant in the school dance team; and a member of a community soccer team. In addition to individual therapy and school intervention, the client received case management services from El Centro De Amistad. The case manager provided basic supportive services for the client and his family to improve their environment.  Services such as: housing, food, clothing and employment assistance were obtained.   Consequently, the family’s environment improved as a result of all the collaborative and supportive services received and the client met his therapeutic goals.