Better Mental Health Care

1 decade 11 months 43 minutes ago Monday, November 19 2007 Nov 19, 2007 Monday, November 19, 2007 7:31:04 AM CST November 19, 2007 in News

Teachers, administrators and counselors from around the state gathered in Columbia to talk about prevention and intervention before its too late.

MU's School of Education and the Center for the Advancement of Mental Health Practices in Schools, led the meeting.

The group wants teachers and counselors to spot problems earlier problems like depression and anxiety, and react before the problems become critical.

Right now some symptoms go unaddressed before they become serious.

"I know of a number of kids who are on suicide watch right now, in schools here in Missouri, that are in fourth grade and less," said James Koller with the MU College of Education.

That's part of the reason he and others want to change the way Missouri schools deal with mental health problems.

One school counselor says Tuesday's meeting was needed.

"Kids come to schools without checking their problems at the door, so to speak," said Hallsville school psychologist Sara Gay.

"And so, I think it's high time we as schools understand how to best meet these students needs," she said.

Gay sees kids in Hallsville facing issues typical in elementary school.

"There are kids with depression, anxiety, self-esteem issues, victims of bullying," said Gay.

Gay wants to see her students treated as whole kids, having their mental issues addressed as well as academics.

Koller says he wants to see changes made at a systemic level, which will take time.

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