Local health outlets working to help prevent youth suicide amid online learning

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — As more kids learn online or quarantine at home, mental health providers across Missouri want people to know that help is available.

This week our David Chasanov spoke with a 10-year-old who, like many, wants life to go back to normal.

Camden Dinsmore studied fully online from March until August. His mom says the switch caused changes in his mood.

Before his learning method changed, Camden didn’t enjoy online school.

“It gets lonely,” Camden said. “This is my mom, and that’s all I had. And my cat.”

When SPS offered a blended learning option he immediately said yes.

“I can see some of my friends and we’re gonna do Pokemon card trading,” Camden said.

“He is so much happier being able to have that little bit of interaction,” Camden’s mom, Sandy, said.

Not having that interaction can be problematic. One in five children is already facing mental health conditions.

Sara Wilson with Burrell Behavioral Health says suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 10 to 24.

“With the devastating impact of the pandemic there’s even more reason to be concerned and alarmed about that,” Wilson said.

The Missouri Suicide Prevention Network hopes to remove the stigma associated with this topic.

Samantha Sherman says the Community Partnership of the Ozarks also acts a place people can turn to.

“We have a variety of different resources specifically for adults so they are educated and know how to help youth,” Sherman said.

Adults can enroll in CPO’s youth mental health first aid training.

“Which I recommend anyone go through so that you’re able to learn how to recognize the signs and symptoms that a youth is struggling and then you learn the steps to help them,” Sherman said.

The Jordan Valley Community Health Center has options too.

“Here we can typically see somebody within just a few days,” said Dr. Salvador Ceniceros with the Jordan Valley Community Health Center. “We have psychologists and therapists to help with talk therapy. We also have the medication side.”

Burrell also provides therapy and medication management.

Along with that, some visits can happen on the phone or Zoom.

“There are services,” Sherman said. There are supports. You will be able to get through this.”

Wilson said don’t be afraid to ask someone for help and that what you may be feeling is only temporary.

To learn more:

Jordan Valley Community Health Center: Call 417-831-0150 or visit jordanvalley.org.

Community Partnership of the Ozarks: Visit cpozarks.org/mentalhealth or call 417-818-2020 and ask for Samantha Sherman.

Burrell Behavioral Health Crisis line: 1-800-494-7355

Connection Center for walk-in assessment: 1300 E. Bradford Parkway, Building A

More information on school suicide prevention, on behalf of MSPN’s Lauren Moyer:

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