(Springfield, Mo.--05/08/28) Some are calling mental illness a silent epidemic--especially among children-- and behavioral health professionals are working with area schools to spread awareness and help students.
As concerns grow about mental health issues impacting young people, research shows one in five children have some sort of mental health condition.
"We have had I think over years had a disconnect between mental health services and providing those services in the school setting," explains Phyliss Wolfram, School Administrator.
With a lack of mental health professionals placed in schools, Wolfram says the responsibility to address the needs of children with social and emotional challenges falls on other school employees.
"Knowing what to expect, how to look for the unexpected, and be prepared for that. It’s never an easy job and it takes a whole community of people meeting the needs of our kids."
That's why Burrell Behavioral Health is expanding access to mental health services to provide a lifeline in schools for Missouri youth who are facing challenges or are in crisis.
Elizabeth Avery, Vice President of School Based Services, Burrell Behavioral Health, tells FOX5," when you look at the financial impact that it has on a community and all those different dynamics that’s why prevention works, and getting support to students at a younger age is so important because we can then increase the likelihood of resiliency in the future."
Avery says one key to prevention of youth violence is cultivating a sense of connection and community for student.
"How do we approach meeting the needs of our students locally on a multi tiered system? So what can we do to provide individual one on one support, how can we look at working with groups of students, as well as whole school intervention."
Health professionals like CJ Davis, CEO & President, Burrell Behavioral Health, says there is no shame in having a mental health condition, and the sooner someone gets help, the better off they will be.
"What I tell people all the time is don’t blame the behavior, blame the story that put that kids behavior together. So what we want to do is get in front of the behavior and understand the story and intersect with that kids story as early as possible," explains Davis.
Planning is underway and programs will be rolling out for the 2018-2019 school year.