Youth Philanthropists are consistently awed by the various needs of our community. Participating Teton High School seniors rallied to fully fund counseling for Family Safety Network’s clients with a $960 award through the Community Foundation’s Youth Philanthropy Program. Family Safety’s Counseling Program fills a desperate community need by providing victims of domestic violence and sexual
assault access to individual counseling sessions. The funding request of $960 was meant to bridge the gap in available funding and ensure that all victims get the individual counseling services that will help them make healthy choices to move ahead – making our community safer and stronger.
Victims of domestic violence and sexual assault can be effectively helped by individualized counseling that is often beyond their means to afford or otherwise obtain. Counseling can provide a victim the tools to overcome the trauma of their victimization so they can find the strength to make healthy decisions. Domestic violence victims are at high risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, or stress-related mental health conditions. Learning to cope with residual emotional pain and fear is essential to healing. Access to this avenue of healing is very often limited by the victim’s lack of financial means. The inability to obtain counseling can lead to unhealthy choices by a victim, including staying in a place where future victimization is likely and an inability to develop tools to move ahead with their lives.
Family Safety Network had a shortfall in funding in 2018 to assist otherwise eligible victims in obtaining individual counseling that could have assisted their recovery. Access to counseling is, therefore, an area of great need in Teton Valley, and access to these critical services can make our Valley a safer and healthier place.
Family Safety Network’s program to address the need for individual counseling of victims of domestic violence and sexual assault includes a vetted list of eight counselors that clients are referred to for services. These counselors have a demonstrated history of success in treating trauma survivors. If a client is actively engaged in the process of working with FSN to make healthy choices in their life, they deem the client eligible for referral services. FSN will pay the counselor directly for up to three counseling sessions, funds permitting, to assist the client in obtaining counseling services. The counseling sessions are available for adults, children or adolescents. FSN has negotiated a discounted rate with these counselors of $80 per session.
The goal of this program is to ultimately be able to expand funding to assist all clients who seek counseling services but cannot afford them. Counseling is so instrumental in providing a victim necessary tools to move ahead in their lives that this program is one of community need and one that family Safety Network is prioritizing.
Family Safety Network collaborates with the Teton Valley Mental Health Coalition (TVMHC) to cover counseling needs. The TVMHC provides counseling services for individuals that demonstrate a risk of suicide or depression. We refer clients to them when we cannot provide access to counseling services, and TVMHC refers individuals to FSN when they are outside of the TVMHC’s area of focus. We plan to continue this partnership with TVMHC, as well as the Community Resource Center, to ensure all individuals that need counseling services have access.
Family Safety Network also provides victims with access to group therapy sessions. They facilitate two groups for both English and Spanish speaking trauma survivors that meet weekly or every other week. The breadth of issues facing our community that this grant application alludes to was eye-opening for local students who were eager to help by funding this grant.