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A woman and her children receive support from a Samaritan Center counselor

Samaritan Center Supports Mental Health of Children and Teens

Project Overview

Samaritan Center ensures that children from low-income families receive high-quality and affordable mental health care. The center’s Children and Teens Behavioral Health Program provides individual, family, and group counseling, as well as parent coaching and education to improve youth mental health and help families stay together.

A family supported by the Samaritan Center
The Samaritan Center team works to prevent childhood trauma by educating parents, caregivers, and teachers, and by building up skills in children that increase their resilience.

Our services change lives so children and teens can thrive in school, at home, in our community, and most importantly – within themselves.

Cindy Long, Samaritan Center CEO

How it Helps

Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) are traumatic events that have been proven to have lasting negative effects on health and well-being. Children may be at higher risk of developing mental illness due to certain factors in the household, such as living with parents who have substance abuse problems and/or mental illness, or growing up in single-parent households due to incarceration, deployment, or death of a parent.

Untreated trauma and childhood mental illness results in academic difficulties for children, lost productivity for parents, more children in foster care, increased deaths by suicide, substance abuse, and increased involvement in the criminal justice system.

Samaritan Center offers evidence-based treatment to prevent adverse childhood experiences, build resilience in children, and treat the impact and symptoms of trauma, neglect, and abuse in children, teens, and their parents. There is a strong focus on childhood trauma, parent-child attachment styles, and infant brain health to further improve the mental health of children, the likelihood of families staying together, and the overall health of children.

An Evidence-Based, Whole-Family Approach 

Samaritan Center offers individual counseling, family counseling, couples counseling, support groups, and skill-building workshops. By working directly with parents, Samaritan Center’s counseling services help prevent abuse and further trauma, and teach parents to alter their parenting styles and build resilience in their children. Parent workshops are offered using the principles of Trust-Based Relational Intervention®, which is attachment-based intervention.

For teens who have experienced ACEs, these services empower them to begin healing, overcome destructive behaviors, learn coping skills, and increase their overall health to reach their full potential. The integrative medicine program provides treatment for the physical symptoms that often accompany stress and mental illness such as chronic pain and issues with sleep.

Samaritan Center partners with various local nonprofits and schools to reach underserved populations, and services are available in Spanish.

Broadening Access to Mental Health Services   

Segments of the population have limited options for affordable mental health treatment, including uninsured families and those who have insurance but cannot afford the high deductibles and copays. In 2021, 57 percent of families served by Samaritan Center were living at less than 200 percent of the federal poverty line. Their service model is designed to ensure all families are able to access critical mental health services.

With offices in Austin, Georgetown, Dripping Springs, Wimberley, San Marcos, and Blanco, Samaritan Center helps families throughout Central Texas. Samaritan Center is also set up to provide telehealth visits when transportation issues or other issues arise, with counseling available over a secure HIPAA compliant platform.

Samaritan Center has a long history of success in Central Texas, providing mental health services in the region for more than 45 years. Expanding access to quality mental health care can be life-changing for individual children, teens, and families, and transformative for our community as a whole.

Foundation Project Lead