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Youth Mental Health: Closing the Gap

With traumatic life events, rising depression and anxiety rates and suicide being the second leading cause of death among adolescents, caring for our children’s mental health is more important than ever.

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It’s an especially challenging time to be a kid. With traumatic life events, rising depression and anxiety rates and suicide being the second leading cause of death among adolescents, caring for our children’s mental health is more important than ever. Many of us feel ill-equipped to identify mental health challenges or know how to help. In fact, according to national studies, the average delay from the time youth begin to exhibit mental illness symptoms and the time they begin to receive care is 8-10 years.

Parents, caregivers, teachers, school administrators, and family members have great influence over the youth who are in your life. Vice President of School-Based Services at Burrell Behavioral Health Amy Hill says “You can use your influence by recognizing signs of mental health illness or trauma and be prepared to know what to do next.”

According to Hill, there may be signs that let us know when our kids need support for their mental wellness. Here are some signs to be aware of:

  • Changes in sleeping or eating patterns
  • Changes in mood
  • Losing interest in activities they normally enjoy
  • Starting or increasing substance use

If you notice any of these signs, seek support to understand what to do next. One free resource is Burrell’s crisis hotline available 24/7. The number for the mid-Missouri area is 1-800-395-2132.

Knowing how to close the gap of time between when youth show signs of mental distress or illness and the time they receive care can and will save lives. That’s why Burrell Behavioral Health is bringing a Youth Mental Health Conference titled “Closing the Gap" to the Midwest. Providing up-to-date information, trauma-informed best practices and practical solutions on how each of us can use our influence to close this unreasonably large gap. This event will bring hundreds of educators, administrators, community leaders and behavioral health professionals together for a day of conversation, learning and actionable takeaways.

In addition to world renowned keynote speakers Rick Lavoie and Dr. Lori Desautels, breakout sessions will include conversations centered around school systems, behavioral health professionals, challenging situations and more.

Join us on Thursday, October 20 at the Holiday Inn Executive Center to be a part of the change in closing the gap.

To purchase your tickets, visit burrellcenter.com/conference.

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24-Hour Crisis Line

Call our toll-free, 24-hour telephone line for help with your immediate crisis situation.

Southwest Missouri: 1-800-494-7355

Central Missouri: 1-800-395-2132

National Help Line: Call or Text 988