Organization Name: Catholic Charities of Omaha
Mission: As a Christ-centered organization, and with mercy as the foundation of the Church, we translate the Gospel of Jesus Christ into action and seek to transform the world by sharing God’s mercy and compassionate love with all people.
Funded Program Description: Because of the generous support of The Kim Foundation, Catholic Charities of Omaha’s School Mental Health Program (SMHP) serves youth (ages 6-18) at 21 Omaha Catholic schools, providing mental health services to youth and their families; school-wide crisis intervention; and mental health and suicide prevention education for school leadership. Services are provided during the school day, helping youth relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety, enhance areas of social competency, and improve behavioral and emotional functioning. Though services are available to youth of all faiths, ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds, SMHP services are prioritized for schools with high numbers of low-income students.
Successes of Program or Inspirational Stories: Last school year, the SMHP was able to transform the life of Isabella, a middle schooler who had been a victim of sexual abuse. Isabella kept it hidden. Most days, her pain made getting through the day nearly impossible. But she was coping.
Then covid hit. The stressors were too much to bear. She began cutting herself and talking about killing herself. When her teachers overheard her conversation, they immediately informed the school principal, who knew exactly who to call: Catholic Charities’ School Mental Health Program.
Our trained Mental Health Therapist responded that day. She connected with Isabella’s mother to grant permission to treat Isabella. The therapist knew Isabella needed serious help, so she suggested a hospital stay. Isabella went to the hospital where she was cared for by doctors and nurses who worked to stabilize her. During this time, she revealed to the hospital psychiatrist that she had been sexually abused.
Slowly, Isabella began to improve. A few weeks later, she went home and returned to school. While Isabella is stable, she needs specialized support to heal. Our Mental Health Therapist continues to be available for Isabella during school hours, whenever she needs our help. And to help Isabella work through her painful past in a more private setting, we’ve connected her to a therapist to offer trauma therapy outside of school hours.
Vice President, Institutional Advancement
6223 Maple Street, P.O. Box #4520
Omaha, NE 68104-4120