Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas To Offer Free Counseling - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

CENTRAL TEXAS

Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Texas To Offer Free Counseling

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CENTRAL TEXAS -

Kids are progressively facing more and more stress these days, and those pressures can be compounded for kids who come from a military background.

Now, the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas is adding counseling services specifically tailored to help those kids. Some of the kids who come into their program suffer from anxiety, social and even depression issues.

The Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas says that they've seen a rise in cases of kids suffering from mental health problems, and now they are stepping up to provide services to those kids who may not have access to them otherwise.

Boys & Girls Club leaders say that kids who come from a military background tend to have a much higher chance of developing mental health problems, and those problems can often times stem from military parents who may be facing their own mental health issues.

"The ramifications from PTSD and depression and just the anger - anger issues - those are the things that affect their children, and they come out again at school and also in the after school program," counseling services coordinator Jo Newton said.

Newton was brought on last month to head this new counseling services project, and she will also serve as a supervisor over interns from the University of Mary Hardin Baylor and Texas A&M University-Central Texas who will be offering counseling to kids who need it, all free of charge.

"This is a great avenue for kids to receive services who really need them because it is affecting their academics, their social, their everything," Texas A&M University-Central Texas counseling psychology graduate student Fran Hoffman said. "If we don't step in and do this now, we're going to see larger consequences down the road."

With over 10,000 kids currently enrolled in the Boys & Girls Club program across 26 sites in Central Texas, and over 2,000 who use the program daily, officials say they are willing to offer these services as long as they may be needed.

"We're with them from 6 to 18," Newton said. "We would love for them to begin Boys & Girls Club at 6 years old, and we partner with their parents to raise them to do the things they want to do and be a success and a good citizen in the long run.

Newton and the Boys & Girls Club of Central Texas team are planning to introduce the program starting in January, and that's when those kids can begin having both individual and group counseling sessions.

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