The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has publically announced Bassett Healthcare Network as the recipient of a $125,000 grant for 2022. The funds will help further establish Bassett’s Parental Support Program that combines family mental and emotional health with traditional pediatric care in an effort to more comprehensively meet family needs.
“In 2017, we started the Healthy Steps Program in our Cooperstown Pediatric Clinic,” explains Susan Weil, behavioral health consultant and parent support specialist at Bassett Healthcare Network. “It offered parents with very young children an array of services, including well-child appointments. Those expanded the standard physical check-ups to include screenings, information about child growth and development, and check-ins with a counselor. Last year we took those most successful parts of Healthy Steps and what we learned about community needs and replaced it with Parental Support.” The support from Mother Cabrini will help continue to establish the new program.
Parental Support restructures Healthy Steps to make it more sustainable while also expanding it in two ways. First, it will now be available in both Cooperstown and Oneonta. Secondly, it offers help to the families of all pediatric patients, not just infants and toddlers.
“Healthy Steps helped us come alongside new moms dealing with postpartum anxiety and depression,” says Weil. “It’s such a common struggle. But when it comes to other parenting challenges, most of us go into parenthood thinking we’ll just do our best to be really great parents and not make any mistakes. It takes time for parents to see where they might benefit from a counselor. We don’t want a program where families age out just as they feel that need.”
In addition to well-child appointments, the program will offer parenting groups using the widely-respected Circle of Security curriculum. The groups should help parents understand their children’s needs and recognize their own strengths as well as weaknesses. Weil hopes to start the first of these groups on a virtual platform by the spring.
“As our Surgeon General formally acknowledged in December, there is a youth mental health crisis in this country,” says Weil. “The best way to meet these challenges is to address them early in kids’ lives. We believe that empowering parents with these sorts of resources will make a real difference in the long run.”
To learn more about the Parent Support Program and the virtual parent groups starting this year, please contact Susan Weil at 607-547-3870.
The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization with the mission to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of targeted communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. Named in memory of a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation provides flexible support for new and innovative approaches that enhance health and wellness across New York State. For more information, visit https://www.cabrinihealth.org/