Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas announced Thursday a $558,345 grant to the San Antonio Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative, a joint effort of local nonprofits to provide free mental health services to low-income students and uninsured families in the city.

Formed in November 2019, the collaborative comprises six nonprofits: Jewish Family Service, Clarity Child Guidance Center, Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, Communities in Schools, Family Service Association, and Rise Recovery. In under three years, it has provided access to free, confidential mental health resources to over 23,000 students, their families, teachers, and administrators in South San, Edgewood, and Harlandale ISDs.  

The collaborative’s approach to mental health addresses not just the student’s concerns but also examines the strength of the support system around them. Jaime Wesolowski, president and CEO of Methodist Healthcare Ministries of South Texas, said the grant aims to bolster efforts to “help students and resilient families thrive together.”

The funding will allow the collaborative to hire additional staff and expand services into two new school districts — Southwest and Somerset, said Talli Goldman-Dolge, CEO of Jewish Family Service.

“With the generous funding from Methodist Healthcare Ministries, we will be able to expand our services to new districts and create a backbone for the program with staffing, technology, and outreach,” she added.

Goldman-Dolge said the new funding will enable the collaborative to “formally create a mental health and wellness curriculum, bring on new collaborative partners in the future, and establish and integrate a model for replication in other cities around the country.”

With the nonprofits all specializing in different areas, the collaborative is able to provide a variety of services to the community. These include mental health screening and referrals, on-site and virtual counseling, faculty training, substance abuse prevention education, intensive psychiatric treatment, and wraparound support education for parents and teachers. Transportation to counseling is also provided for students who need it.

The funding will allow the collaborative to not only expand its offerings but also to work with rural counties, where access to mental health services is often limited, added Goldman-Dolge.

Just two weeks earlier, MMWC secured $4.75 million in funding from Bexar County for the next five years. Precinct 2 Commissioner Justin Rodriguez said the source for the grant will most likely come from the American Rescue Plan Act dollars or county money earmarked for mental health initiatives.

“This program brings critical care to students who might otherwise be labeled as disinterested, or a delinquent, or a trouble maker,” said Jordana Barton, vice president for community investments at Methodist Healthcare Ministries. “It points them to getting the right intervention that will change their life forever. That is how we get to a vibrant, healthy community.” 

Polina Protozanova

Polina is a Shiner Editorial Intern for the San Antonio Report.