SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The effort to make mental and behavioral health less of stigma at schools is the goal of the “youth mental health conference” held by Burrell Behavioral Health.
Board member Phyllis Wolfram says behavioral health conversations are very important to have, especially in a school setting.
“This has been I think the first conference here in Southwest Missouri that has brought together mental health providers, as well as educators, to really come together and talk about what’s needed for our students,” Wolfram said.
Keynote speaker Heather Forbes says there is still a stigma in schools about mental health.
“The situation a lot of our kids are coming from, is putting them in a place that they’re stressed out, they’re overwhelmed, and they’re coming into the classroom without the skillset of knowing really how to behave,” Forbes said.
Burrell Behavioral Health President CJ Davis says that’s why they are providing services directly to students.
“It takes a long time to get into an outpatient clinic to see a provider. Sometimes 30 days, 45 days, you can imagine when a Burrell Behavioral health or a mental health expert’s embedded in the school district, they can get services within days, within hours, and sometimes minutes,” Davis said.
Lessons to educators are improving so that they can know how to help students with a mental health condition instead of punishing them.
“Our children, when they feel connected, when they feel belonging, a sense of community, then they have the ability to not only do well behaviorally but also academically,” Forbes said.
An award was also given out at the conference called the “Youth Mental Health Advocate of The Year” to the principal of the SCORE campus at Nixa schools, Cheryl Hudson.