New mental health organization bolsters much needed student support

By Brandon Yung
Assoc. News Editor

Illustration by Isabella Frescura
Staff Illustrator

The South Pasadena Middle and High Schools are now offering the assistance of an outside organization in response to a student need for emotional support.

Foothill Families, a Pasadena-based organization consisting of licensed counselors and therapists, is now officially working with counselors at the two schools to help students who are recommended by their counselors. Previously, referrals for students to visit the organization were made, but now therapists and counselors from Foothill Families will be available to travel to South Pasadena campuses and meet with students for school-based therapy.

Natasha Prime, the Special Education Counselor at the high school, began referring students to Foothill Families two years ago, due to the overwhelming need for services that went beyond school-based counseling. She then shared the resource with fellow school counselors.

“We ended up making so many referrals that we now have a somewhat formal agreement with them,” Prime said.

Foothill Family’s resources are not funded by the district because of the restricted budget for mental health support. Instead, the services are provided with the student’s insurance, MediCal, or funds provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health. Counselor Nan Ng at the high school notes that Foothill Family is an important resource especially for lower income students. Because the therapeutic services offered by Foothill Family can be subsidized by the Mental Health Department, the therapy provided can be made available to those who would not normally have access to support. That support can now even be provided on campus.

“It’s a step forward for getting more resources because [the district] doesn’t have the money to offer that support,” Ng said.

Ng said that she expects Foothill Family to become an invaluable tool for struggling students at the middle and high schools.

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