Becker Awarded Grant for Community Mental Health Education Workshops

Becker Awarded Grant for Community Mental Health Education Workshops

Published on: January 11, 2019


Becker College has been chosen as a recipient of a grant from the Reliant Foundation.  The funds will be used to offer mental health education workshops for parents in Leicester, Spencer, and East Brookfield.  The workshops will provide parents with information about how to identify mental health concerns in children and adolescents and direct them to additional services if needed.

“This grant will go a long way to help families in our community,” said Dr. Beth Greenberg, Associate Professor of Psychology and Program Coordinator for the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling at Becker College.  “We ran some pilot workshops over the last year that showed us there’s a strong need for quality, low-cost mental health services in Central Massachusetts, particularly outside of the city of Worcester.  This grant will help us meet that need.”

Dr. Greenberg will facilitate eight workshops in total for parents in the Leicester and Spencer-East Brookfield Public School Districts. Parents who attend the workshops will be provided with information about where to seek counseling services, including the Community Counseling Clinic at Becker College.  At the clinic, graduate students enrolled in the Master of Arts in Mental Health Counseling program work with children, teens, and adults to address their mental health concerns.  All services are supervised by licensed mental health professionals.  The program is unique to Becker College and is the only master’s level mental health counseling program in the Commonwealth that gives graduate students an opportunity to work with members of the community experiencing real-world mental health issues.

“One of the goals of the Reliant Foundation is to find ways to increase access to mental health care for children and youth,” said Kelsa Zereski, President of the Reliant Foundation.  “This grant will expand access in an area that we perceive as underserved.  By educating parents how to recognize mental health issues early, their children can be connected to care in advance of a more serious issue.”

The need for mental health services in Central Massachusetts is great.  But the barriers to receiving care can be high.  The 2015 Greater Worcester Community Health Assessment identified behavioral mental health problems as the third highest issue impacting community health.  Almost a quarter of young people in the area who participated in the 2013 Worcester Regional Youth Health Survey said they struggled with depressive symptoms for two weeks, impairing their ability to engage in usual activities.  Families cited difficulties in accessing help.  Some reported lengthy wait lists to see mental health professionals; others cited limited clinic hours, transportation problems, and a lack of insurance or high co-pays.

The Community Counseling Clinic at Becker College and outreach programs like this workshop series seek to ease the barriers of getting help.  Counseling sessions at the clinic cost $15 per hour, with the remaining costs (an average $58 per hour) subsidized by the College.  Two workshops have already been offered.  Times and dates for the remaining workshops have yet to be announced.  For more information on the health education workshops, contact Dr. Beth Greenberg at 508-373-9752 or at beth.greenberg@becker.edu.  To find out more about mental health undergraduate and graduate programs at Becker College visit www.becker.edu.