Mental health resources available before school starts

Local News

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Picture this: You’re a young kid, or a parent. The school year is fast approaching, and things are going to look entirely different. Whether it be having to wear a mask, social distancing or going to school two days a week. This can be mentally draining for a child, and/or their parents. Luckily, there is help available to those who need it.

Burrell Behavior Health offers therapy. Licensed providers provide individual and family-group therapy. Support specialists also are available to work with kids on social, coping and communication skills. This can be done in a one-on-one setting, or through a small group setting. Another option is psychiatry. Amy Hill, assistant director of school-based services, says this can also be done on Zoom.

“If [kids] are doing online learning, we’re going to continue providing those services to them via Zoom or through the telephone,” Hill said. “If they do choose to go to school two days a week and they want to continue service with us on the three days that they’re home, we will certainly look into that as well.”

Burrell also provides services to kids in the evenings, more so than it normally would during the school year.

“Maybe they’re at the babysitter during the day, and mom and dad don’t come home until the evening,” Hill said. “We really have kind of opened up just our scheduling altogether, and have looked at ways that we can get in there and continue to meet their needs for sure.”

Parents who are interested in accessing these services are encouraged to reach out to their child’s school counselor or administrator. They can also access Burrell’s website, or call its main line: (417) 761-5000 (southwest Missouri), 573-777-8300 (central Missouri) or 479-575-9471 (northwest Arkansas). Its crisis line is also available 24/7: Southwest Missouri – 800-494-7355 and Central Missouri – 800-395-2132.

Burrell works with all funding sources, like Medicaid and private insurance. Along with grants, they have a sliding scale fee, and work with families on payment.

“Money should never be a reason why a kiddo can’t get service,” Hill said. “We firmly believe that all people who need mental health services should have access to those services regardless of their ability to pay.”

Before seeking services, Hill says parents should pay attention to a change in their kid’s behavior. This can mean:

  • Change in sleeping patterns
  • Change in eating habits
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities

Mercy also has a virtual mental wellness kids program. Through the program, kids who need to see a mental health specialist have immediate access via a video visit. But, more often than not, providers can help without the need for a video call. For more information, click on this news release.

The Ozarks Counseling Center offers talk therapy for older kids, and play therapy for youth. Executive Director Andrea Bishop explains what parents should share when calling for treatment.

“We’re interested in of course the symptoms that the child or adolescent is experiencing,” Bishop said. “So that we can match the child to a therapist who would be right for their needs. And then during the therapy process we’ll help the child communicate to the parent what’s going on if it’s not readily apparent.”

Ozarks First reached out to CoxHealth, and learned it is not doing anything different at this time.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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