Springfield Public Schools & Burrell Expand Mental Health Care for Students

by Springfield Public Schools Communications

Springfield Public Schools has announced it will partner with Burrell Behavioral Health to expand school-based mental health services for many of its students. The announcement comes during National School Counseling Week, an annual opportunity to recognize the educators and mental health professionals who care for the wide-ranging needs of students.

Beginning this spring, Burrell will focus on staffing the Hillcrest High School attendance boundary, which represents approximately 4,000 students. Burrell estimates that 5 to 10 percent of those students will be served (200-400). Schools impacted by this work include: Bowerman, Fremont, Hillcrest, Pleasant View, Reed, Robberson, Truman, Watkins and Williams. Onsite therapeutic and case management services for students will be provided, as well as training and consultation for school faculty, as needed.

“We have spent a great deal of time gathering feedback from our students, staff, parents and community regarding how to provide additional support to address the many needs within our classrooms today,” said Dr. Mike Dawson, chief learning officer for Springfield Public Schools. “Those important conversations led to the identification of budget priorities for the 2018-2019 school year, including enhanced safety and security training and additional resources in support of mental health. This partnership is the result of that important process.”

C.J. David, Burrell CEO (Photo courtesy Burrell Behavioral Health)

“When it comes to youth behavioral health disorders and suicide, the statistics in our state and our country are staggering and sobering,” said Dr. C.J. Davis, president and CEO for Burrell Behavioral Health. “Offering access to services in local school buildings ensures immediate professional resources for educators, students and their families, which reduces stigma and can ultimately save lives.”

“Our SPS counselors do amazing work each and every day to meet the needs of all students in our schools,” said Rhonda Mammen, director of counseling services for Springfield Public Schools. “Their critical work makes an impact on the social/emotional, career and academic development of every learner in their school community. By partnering with Burrell’s team, we are able to boost supports for time-intensive concerns, including serious mental health issues. We look forward to working together in the best interests of our students.”

In 2018, the rule for Medicaid eligible services for Missouri students was revised and expanded to allow behavioral health services to be reimbursed in schools. This significant change opened the door for providers to assist students by providing services within the school setting for a range of mental health issues.

Burrell’s school-based services department partners with nearly 30 school districts across central and southwest Missouri with the goal of increasing rapid access to mental health care. As part of that work, Burrell has collaborated with Springfield Public Schools for more than 10 years, currently with seven providers embedded to provide assessments and support district-wide. Today’s announcement expands that partnership.

Burrell therapists and caseworkers practice trauma-informed care, which recognizes that people often have many different types of trauma in their lives and need support and compassion from those around them. Burrell providers assist with diagnosing and treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, and more.

Overview of Need for Increased Mental Health Support from the National Alliance on Mental Illness and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

–One in five people will have a diagnosable mental illness at some point in their lives. Fifty percent of those people will demonstrate warning signs in their child and adolescent years.
–Approximately 1 in 5 youth, aged 13-18, experiences a severe mental disorder at some point during their life. For children aged 8-15, the estimate is 13%.
— Fifty percent of those with a diagnosable behavioral health issue never seek treatment.
–There currently is an 8-10 year gap between warning signs of a mental health need and their first intervention.
— 2% of Missouri high school students seriously considered suicide in 2015.
— 5% of Missouri high school students reported feeling sad or hopeless in 2015.
— 45,000 children and adolescents in Missouri are estimated to struggle with anxiety.

Reader Comments