High school is no easy feat. Add in the demands of being a single parent, and everyday stressors of pop quizzes, study sessions, homework, and extracurriculars can become unbearable.
Elizabeth, a new mother at 16-years-old, experienced this challenge as she returned to school to complete her high school education while caring for her 4-month-old, Gabriel. Elizabeth was elated to be back in school and excited that her son could attend on-campus childcare to make her dual roles of mother and student easier to manage. After a few months being back to class, however, her excitement waned, and anxiety and exhaustion took over. Elizabeth felt overwhelmed and had trouble focusing in class. Financial stressors and health concerns were taking their toll, and childcare staff noticed Gabriel’s behavior and disposition were suffering as well. As lack of attendance spiraled into Elizabeth being put on probation at school, she was quickly slipping and needed help fast.
StarVista stepped in through its Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMHC) program, which provides mental health consultation, early intervention services, direct clinical services, and support for parents and caregivers on-site at subsidized childcare centers, including Elizabeth’s school.
After meeting with Elizabeth and school staff to form a plan, StarVista’s Early Childhood Consultant was able to connect Elizabeth with much-needed support and a tailored array of services to help her address her life’s competing needs. In addition to supporting Elizabeth with tools to help with stress management, building financial stability, and expanding her community support web, StarVista also coordinated with a case worker to help her secure food stamps, housing, and counseling services. Additionally, the consultant connected Elizabeth with services to track Gabriel’s development and health needs through regular home visits, resulting in an Early Start referral.
Today, Elizabeth has a renewed sense of confidence and determination. In addition to exercising daily, exploring with Gabriel, and regularly visiting family and friends, she is on track to graduate in June. With StarVista’s support, Elizabeth and Gabriel were given the tools, resources, and detailed level of care they needed to set them up for growth and success in school and beyond.
* Names and identifying features have been changed to protect client confidentiality