Posts Tagged ‘mental health services’

Children Fleeing Violence Reach New York

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

“Immigration service providers and the city are working closely to streamline resources for the 3,200 child migrants who have reunited with family in New York,” reports Amelia Pang in Epoch Times. “But for the additional 10,000 who are expected to arrive in New York by the end of the year, it is unclear how such services will be funded for them. And for many, mental health care is a top priority.”

New York City service providers and government officials met last week to discuss the coordinated strategy they are undertaking, as part of the New York State Unaccompanied Minors Working Group.

“The working group brings together experts in immigration, legal advice, education, social services, medical and mental health services,” reports Rebecca S. Myles in the Latin Post.

According to organizers, more than half the children are coming to New York to reunite with a mother or father, and more than two-thirds are fleeing some kind of violence or threatening situation in their homeland. Fifty percent of the girls have suffered some kind of psychological trauma or abuse, and they are especially vulnerable.

 We need more resources to fund this,” said Steven Choi, executive director of New York Immigration Coalition (of which Catholic Charities is a member) tells Ms. Pang of Epoch Times.

The most important services the migrant children will need are attorneys and mental health care, and both are costly.

According to a United Nations report, 60 percent of child migrants are eligible for relief. The children, however, are not likely to receive relief if they do not have an attorney.

“Catholic Charities has a longstanding, comprehensive knowledge of the humanitarian plight faced by immigrants, including unaccompanied children, and we are looking forward to creating a coordinated response to this new call for help,” said  Mario C. Russell, Director of Immigrant and Refugee Services for Catholic Charities.

“Every week in residences for unaccompanied children in the New York area, our lawyers meet with and give preliminary legal assistance to dozens of immigrant children, over 2,000 in this year alone. This gives us first-hand knowledge of the trauma these young people have experienced, trauma that we have begun to attend to through our Safe Passages program and through Terra Firma, an innovative medical-legal partnership designed to meet the complex medical, psycho-social, and legal needs of unaccompanied minors.”

Read more in the Latin Post.

Find out more in the Epoch Times.

Walking but Broken

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

By Alice Kenny

After a dental hygienist from Connecticut rammed her car into a White House barricade earlier this month and joined a growing list of bizarre attacks by those suffering from mental illness, people have become increasingly aware of the need for access to mental health services.

“It’s really the instability of the world that’s shaking up people that used to have been able to keep soldiering on,” Maria Droste Counseling Services Executive Director Betsy Selman Babinecz tells Msgr. Kevin Sullivan during this recent episode on JustLove.

For decades, Maria Droste Counseling Services, an affiliate of Catholic Charities, has provided thousands of clients from the New York metropolitan area with affordable mental health care, Ms. Babinecz says.

Sponsored by the Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the agency is named for Maria Droste (1863-1899), a Good Shepherd Sister known for her ability to console those who came to her in pain.  Services are provided to individuals (adolescents and adults), couples, and groups experiencing a range of social/emotional stresses due to troubled personal or family experiences, impoverishment or unemployment.

“More and more people are coming in just feeling on edge, keyed up, and not quite sure where their lives are going,” Ms. Babinecz says. “Everybody is walking around with some kind of brokenness.”

Dr. Kenneth Pargament, Psychology professor at Bowling Green State University, joins the conversation, defining what constitutes a mental illness and why its repercussions can affect all of us.

Listen and learn more in this recent episode of JustLove on The Catholic Channel 129, SIRIUS XM Satellite Radio.

Click here  to contact Maria Droste Counseling Services.

Dennis Scimone Honored for Services Provided on Behalf of Catholic Charities to the Mentally Ill

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Dennis Scimone, honoree, with Beacon of Hope House Director Denise Bauer

By  Alice Kenny

Dennis J. Scimone, director of residential services for Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope House, was honored by the Staten Island Behavioral Network, a not-for-profit agency dedicated to providing case management services and affordable housing to the mentally ill, at their tenth anniversary celebration held on January 23, 2013 at the Staten Island Hilton.

A native of New York City, Dennis joined Beacon of Hope House, a Catholic Charities organization that operates residences and a club house program for the mentally ill, in 1989.  He recently completed his thirty-eighth year of service in the mental health field.

“We all must learn to understand, accept, respect and appreciate the differences of all members of society,” he said, “regardless of race, religion, culture, gender, age, sexual orientation, ability or disability.”

At Catholic Charities, Dennis was initially appointed to manage Beacon of Hope House residential services for the mentally ill in Staten Island including community residences and scattered-site apartment programs.  He was appointed as the agency’s Regional Director for Staten Island- Brooklyn Services in 1995.  He has served as the Director of Residential services since 2002, providing oversight for multiple levels of housing programs in Staten Island, Brooklyn and the Bronx.

He has a Master of Social Work Degree from Hunter College and a Masters Degree in public Administration from Long Island University.  In the early stages of his career, he worked with youngsters with development disabilities, and adolescents in drug-prevention programs and adults in methadone maintenance programs.  He later worked in a psychiatric inpatient setting, partial hospitalization programs, mental health clinics and management service.

Dennis has been affiliated part-time with Neighborhood Counseling Center since 1985 where he has served in a variety of roles including psychotherapist, clinical supervisor, instructor and administrator.  Dennis served as chairperson for the Mental Health Council of Staten Island from 1999- 2001.

A resident of Staten Island, he says he enjoys local cultural events, eateries and historic sites with his wife, Linda.

Dennis is credited with consistently advocating for mental health services and funding to address gaps in existing services.  He strongly believes, he says, that the active practice of tolerance is essential to all communities.  He would like to see this as a standard topic included in all the curriculums of the nation’s educational system.

“Our efforts to succeed in this area will make our communities stronger and will improve the quality of life for every member of the community.”