Branson Public Schools expands mental health services for students

Local News

BRANSON, MO – In 2018, Branson School District received a two-year, $86,000 grant to expand students’ mental health services. The Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant allowed the district to add a part-time case manager and gave the district funds to provide professional mental health counseling services to students who otherwise could not afford these vital services.

Since that time, the program has evolved. A separate Skaggs Legacy Endowment grant, this one to Burrell Behavioral Health, funds counseling sessions for any uninsured or underinsured student in Stone or Taney counties, including Branson students.

The Branson School District flag

Lisa Furtkamp is a social worker for Branson Public Schools. She believes this program has helped more students receive counseling.

“We don’t necessarily know what the outcome might have been without the intervention,” said Furtkamp. “So that’s where I feel like we’re making maybe a huge difference in a lot of these children’s lives because they don’t have to come to that point to get help where they’re actually making suicidal attempts or have to have inpatient-like treatment.”

Furtkamp works with parents to see that necessary paperwork is filled out, helping to expedite students’ services. She even goes as far as meeting the parents to pick up paperwork or arrange rides for the families for in-person intakes.

“The more children that we can get to live productive lives, the better society will be,” said Furtkamp.

For children who do not qualify for Medicaid, do not have private insurance or are underinsured, Skaggs Foundation’s grant to Burrell Behavioral Health fills in that gap. The grant provides a funding source for services for those students, ensuring no student is denied services due to the inability to pay.

Director of Community Relations for the Skaggs Foundation, Mindy Honey, says everything they fund is health or wellness related to helping the residents of Stone and Taney County.

If you can change that student’s opinion or life or stop them from making self-harm or hurting themselves or acting out in class,” said Honey. 

“You’re impacting that student, and you don’t know what kind of impact you’re making in the future.”

In 2020, Skaggs Foundation awarded 25 Skaggs Legacy Endowment grants, including the mental health grants to Branson School District and Burrell Behavioral Health. 

Skaggs Foundation is accepting grant applications and letters of intent now through 5 p.m. April 30. To learn more, visit SkaggsFoundation.org.

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