SVPSA discusses how to support mental health programs for youth

Social Venture Partners San Antonio hosted a sold out crowd of community leaders who gathered to learn more about how to support the mental health programs helping youth in our area. Why was this so important to SVPSA? Our focus is to cultivate an ongoing learning journey helping us to discover how to give better and to dig deep into issues that impact all of us. Then collaborate on solutions.

Perhaps no other issue is more central to addressing core issues in San Antonio and our area than mental health, especially among our youth. In the program, we learned from citywide health research that the youth suicide and self hurt rate has gone up significantly since the pandemic. 

Led by Nisi Bennett, Chief Inclusion Officer, All Heart Initiative, the panelists addressed many questions about causes and what types of programs are providing services, both nationally and in San Antonio. Panelists included Donna Costa, Director of Bridges to Care at NAMI San Antonio. Talli Dodge, CEO of Mindful Workplace and Jessie Higgins, Chief Mental Health Officer with the City of San Antonio.

“The discussion gave us a lot to think about and provided positive ideas on how everyone in San Antonio can do something and give back to address this mental health crisis in our youth,” said Becky Dinnin, SVPSA Executive Director.

SVPSA has held other events on issues in the past, but this one really resonated with the community since there were a record number attending for an SVPSA event.

Doldge encouraged the attendees that national funders are also laser focused on this issue and are willing to help provide support and leadership for programs, and resources for data needed to raise more funding.

NAMI San Antonio has recently begun a program, Bridges to Care, led by Donna Costa, that connects mental health experts and resources to churches and church leaders. This engagement can help ministers who are serving closest to families understand and know how to talk about mental health in the home. Starting the conversation is the first barrier to help – in a culture that does not like to talk about it, Costa said.

The City of San Antonio has been monitoring this issue closely, reported Jessie Higgins. Handouts that were available at the workshop revealed there is a 30% increase in ER visits for self-harm with girls in Bexar County. These statistics are shocking to many of us, she said and we need everyone involved to help address the crisis.