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March 4, 2014 > Hayward High to receive Seneca grant

Hayward High to receive Seneca grant

Submitted By Ty Sheppard

Mental health challenges appear to disproportionately affect students who experience stressors such as poverty and exposure to violence and trauma. For many urban schools that serve students who regularly experience these stressors, it is reported that over 50 percent of students manifest significant behavior, learning, and emotional problems. With a new grant from Kaiser Permanente, Seneca Family of Agencies is expanding the support in schools to help students heal and lead healthier lives. Founded in 1985, Seneca offers a broad array of school-and-community-based services in 12 California counties.

SenecaÕs grant of $50,000 will build sustainable capacity within existing systems at Hayward High School to lead a trauma-informed approach to screening and supporting students who are exhibiting violent and/or disruptive behavior. Seneca will enhance its partnership with Hayward High, expanding the role of on-site therapy to ensure that the greater school community makes a sustainable shift to reduce symptoms of post-traumatic stress in youth and improve collaboration between existing on-site school providers to ensure long-term success of students.

ÒWe are committed to helping vulnerable children and families through the most difficult times of their lives,Ó said Ken Berrick, CEO. ÒThis opportunity is aligned with our values and theory of practice and we believe will be of great interest to any number of school-based partners in the Bay Area and beyond. Should this program prove to be successful at Hayward High School, Seneca will leverage other existing partnerships and offer this capacity building service to other schools interested in enhancing their trauma-informed approach to care. Kaiser PermanenteÕs support will have an impact for years to come.Ó

ÒVictims of violence-related trauma can lose trust, and this shapes how effectively they can respond to treatment,Ó said Don Mordecai, MD, Director of Mental Health and Chemical Dependency Services, and Chair, Chiefs of Psychiatry for Kaiser PermanenteÕs Northern California region. ÒBy working with organizations like Seneca Family of Agencies and taking a trauma-informed approachÑone that focuses first on restoring a sense of safetyÑwe can help victims heal and prevent future violence in our communities.Ó

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