Healing Our Heroes Initiative: UST Expands Free Mental Health Counseling To Teachers

By: Sandra Soliz
| Published 01/08/2021

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HOUSTON, TX - University of St. Thomas Houston will expand its Healing Our Heroes free mental health counseling services, offered initially to health care workers and first responders, to include a very special population, TEACHERS.

UST first launched the Healing our Heroes initiative in Sept. 2020 as a way of giving back to the community during this pandemic. UST offered pro bono mental health counseling resources to health care professionals to alleviate the long-term mental health impacts of COVID-19 on Greater Houston’s first responders and front-line health-care professionals.

“Teachers are highly impacted in their daily work by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Grant Sasse, Healing Our Heroes clinic director, said. “Like healthcare and frontline workers, they are experiencing much higher levels of stress and fatigue due to the difficulties of adapting to the new teaching demands brought on by the pandemic. Teachers, like healthcare and frontline workers, are heroes. They belong within our ‘Healing our Heroes Initiative.’

Sasse goes on to say, “Teachers’ jobs were already difficult before the pandemic, but teaching now places even more strain on educators as they teach remotely. Balancing these new responsibilities has been an uphill struggle for students and teachers alike. Many teachers are working an unsustainable amount of hours to meet all the various needs of their students and other job responsibilities. Teachers could use more support!”

• The pro-bono sessions are available for K-12 teachers.
• The sessions will be provided through a HIPAA-compliant tele-mental health video conferencing platform.
• All sessions will be conducted by Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program counselors-in-training and supervised by the Clinic Director and Coordinator.
• Sessions begin Jan. 11 and are offered Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, during UST’s spring academic semester, which ends early in May, 2021.
• Get in touch to book your appointment 713-525-3879

Mental Health Counseling Benefits for Teachers

1. “UST’s mental health counseling services will give them a separation from their employer,” Sasse said. “This may give a more solid sense of privacy and trust. Some EAP’s have session limits and we do not. In addition, all of our services are pro-bono.”

2. “Teachers are being stretched thin during the pandemic. Many times they are so busy helping others that their own needs go unmet,” Sasse said.. “Receiving services at our clinic can give teachers a scheduled time that is 100% theirs. This time set-aside for themselves could be very valuable in maintaining and improving their mental health.”

UST May Add Texas Firefighters to Pro-Bono Services List

UST is currently talking with the Texas State Association of Fire Fighters for a statewide PEER Support program. “Looks like our clinic will be a resource for Texas firefighters as well,” Sasse concludes.

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