SAN ANTONIO — Marc Mendiola can’t believe he is spending the final weeks of his senior year at South San Antonio High School at home. The student is trying to make the best out of a tough situation.

What You Need To Know

  • New program started in August

  • At one point had 1,300 participants

  • Still serving about 100 people since schools closed 

“I go about it by saying, ‘Okay, so, what can I do to improve it?’ Because I can’t change anything,” said Mendiola.

He’s not only working to improve his own outlook on life, but the outlook of others in the South Side community - a task that’s been trying for the teenager during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Mobile Mental Wellness Collaborative is a first-of-its-kind mental health service program offered in the district.

“We are trying every day to make sure we inform our students and my own friends, to make sure they get the help and support they need,” Mendiola said.

It was the brainchild of Mendiola and his peers inspired by the lack of mental health resources previously available.

Six agencies are part of the collaborative: Jewish Family Service San Antonio, Children’s Bereavement Center of South Texas, Communities in Schools, Clarity Child Guidance Center, Rise Recovery, and Family Service Association.

“We are offering individual counseling to anyone in need. We provide group counseling and we provide education,” said Talli Dolge of Jewish Family Service San Antonio.

Dolge says some organizations tend to students at school while others work at the district’s CARE Zone, based out of Athens Elementary.

“But now, we’ve also created this program that is still seeing virtually so many students and families,” she said.

More than 1,300 students, their families, and district staff have used the resources since the program launched last August. And since schools closed due to COVID-19, more than one-hundred clients are continuing to receive help.

“The need is very active right now,” said Susan Arciniega, a district mental health behavior specialist.

Arciniega says most calls are filled with grief. Many students miss their friends, teachers and school experiences. For Mendiola, he is also missing out on his senior graduation and prom.

“You’re really not going to have a proper closure,” he said.

Still, he hopes the collaborative will help bring some closure for his classmates during this time.

“Having [the program] there is the best thing ever,” Mendiola said.