Discover the Difference: Meeting Social, Emotional Needs of Students

by Diocese of Des Moines | November 14, 2020

Woman talking

The Diocese of Des Moines is pleased to announce expanded mental health andnull counseling services are now available at its schools through a partnership with Catholic Charities. Ten schools in total will take part in this collaboration including Dowling Catholic High School, Holy Family Catholic School, Holy Trinity Catholic School, Sacred Heart Catholic School, St. Anthony Catholic School, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic School, St. Joseph Catholic School, St. Teresa Catholic School, St. Augustin Catholic School, and St. Pius X Catholic School.

“Stress and anxiety are part of our daily lives, especially in the wake of COVID-19, Yet, many parents may not know where to turn for help when this stress and anxiety gets to be too much,” shared Donna Bishop, Superintendent of Schools. “As Catholic schools, we are focused on whole-child health and learning. This partnership with Catholic Charities helps ensure we can meet not only the educational and spiritual needs of our students but their social-emotional needs as well.”

nullMental health programming and services are a vital part of whole-child health. According to the National Association of School Psychologists, the need for mental health services for school-aged children is on the rise with 1 in 5 school-aged children experiencing a mental health problem. Moreover, a majority of these children fail to receive treatment due to lack of access (NASP, 2020). 

This mental health program benefits students directly by reducing the amount of time a student misses class for appointments. Additionally, schools provide an ideal setting for prevention, intervention, and parent communication since students spend a large portion of their day at school. Through this collaboration with Catholic Charities, services are provided by credentialed, licensed mental health practitioners trained in evidence-based therapeutic practices. Appointments are available during school hours and outside of regular school hours to meet the scheduling needs of families. Additionally, teletherapy is available if in-person appointments are not possible due to COVID-19. 

“We have observed a trend toward students with anxiety disorders, depression nulland other mood disorders, adjustment disorders, ADHD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and other issues related to family conflict and dysfunction, bullying, and school avoidance,” said Scott Caldwell, Director of Programs for Catholic Charities. 

With a focus on the importance of relationships and family, the Catholic Charities team can address a range of behavioral and mental health challenges including (but not limited to) anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders, adjustment disorders, oppositional defiant disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Catholic Charities therapists collaborate with the school and parents for permission by HIPPA privacy practices. Any student or family enrolled at a Diocese of Des Moines Catholic school is eligible to receive services. Catholic Charities accepts most major insurance plans and offers a sliding scale fee for those who are underinsured or uninsured. 

For more information on how these expanded counseling services might benefit your child and family, visit Catholic Charities counseling services.

The Diocese of Des Moines Catholic schools include 16 schools in 23 counties in central and southwest Iowa. Catholic schools in the Des Moines Diocese build Christ-centered, collaborative, inclusive partnerships with parents, students, and parishes to provide innovative academic excellence and inspirational faith formation for students.

To learn about more Catholic schools in the Diocese of Des Moines, visit or email



National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), (2020). School-Based Mental Health Services: Improving Student Learning and Well-Being. Retrieved October 13, 2020 from

Diocese of Des Moines

The Diocese of Des Moines, created in 1911, serves people over a 12,446 square mile area in the southwestern quadrant of Iowa, including 23 counties.