NeighborCare has a wait list
Katherine Poston, Reporter & Designer
The Neighborcare clinic at the high school was established in 2017, providing free, anonymous healthcare to students. The services include crisis intervention, dental care, health education, mental health services, reproductive health, sports physicals, and vaccinations.
The clinic also offers assistance in mental health. However, due to an increase in demand, students were placed on a waitlist beginning in December. Two mental health therapists, Anna Waldman and Marci Napoli, are available to students. Both of them work part-time, meaning their time equates to one full-time mental health therapist.
Some accredit Neighborcare’s popularity to its confidentiality policy, allowing for anonymity of patients in addition to the free health care.
“The fact that it is free is really helpful to kids who could not pay for it, and I think it is a really nice support,” one anonymous student said.
Neighborcare health care manager Stephanie Keller emphasized that the clinic is mindful to ask about the severity of each student’s situation, so they can be sure to provide immediate care if needed. Patients who require urgent care are directed to Vashon Youth and Family Services (VYFS), located on the high school campus. Otherwise, students who sign up for mental health services are placed on the waitlist.
“When kids come in and tell me they need mental health [help], … I always ask them if they are safe and if this is something urgent,” said Keller.
If the issue is not urgent, students can expect a waitlist time that generally spans between one week to one month. Despite the wait time, many students have benefitted from the counseling.
One student’s experience showed a typical example of the process: after being placed on the waitlist, the students then waited for about three weeks. The anonymous student then entered the clinic and asked to speak to someone regarding counseling. After waiting approximately one additional week, they were placed on a regular schedule of counseling, varying between once a week to once every two weeks.
“I think it is a really good support,” the anonymous student said. “It is free and it is also helpful being at the school. It made me feel less insecure about seeing someone.”