Breaking News
More () »

Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio to add mental health services

The program, which will evolve over the next three years, should extend mental health care to children who might not otherwise access therapy and counseling.

SAN ANTONIO — The Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio will soon offer mental health care to hundreds of children at no additional cost. 

The organization plans to add mental health services using a grant it secured from the Baptist Health Foundation. The Boys and Girls Club will hire two mental health counselors and a clinical director using the award, worth nearly $1 million over three years. 

"This is a first for Boys and Girls Clubs of San Antonio and it's a gap we identified some time ago," said India Chumney, the San Antonio club's chief development officer. 

During the program's first year, the clinical director will design a mental health care program that can reach children at each of San Antonio's six clubs. Counselors will travel between facilities, providing care. 

"We've already identified children that could really benefit from mental health services," Chumney said. 

The club aims to add counselors in the following years so a licensed professional is stationed at each San Antonio facility. The program will eventually expand to treat parents and staff, too. 

Chumney noted that many children only see mental health specialists at school, where counselors have other responsibilities. Those professionals may not be available year-round.

"There are mental health services available in our city, but our children are not often able to connect to them" because of financial barriers and transportation limitations, Chumney said. 

"Our kids really deserve the best we have to offer them," she said. "But it's not always readily available to our families." 

The Boys and Girls Club of San Antonio's service will be among the city's first mental health programs available to children outside school at no additional cost. 

Counselors will greet kids in a place where the children are already comfortable. 

"Having somebody that's loving and caring... means the world to them," Chumney said. "It's such a privilege, but it's also what we recognize as a huge responsibility." 

Before You Leave, Check This Out