Investing in Mental Health Resources for Rural Students

The Looser-Flake Foundation provides more than $ 150,000 to schools in Mercer and Sherrard counties to increase mental health resources.

“Children particularly tend to show symptoms of mental health problems, depression, anxiety, usually in school performance. Dr. Derek Ball of the Illinois Association for Marriage and Family Therapy explained. “One of the key roles that schools play for us in our society is that they are the ones that see children first – they see the difficulties in children first – being able to deal with problems early is really the key. most effective treatment. “

Kelly Thompson, spokesperson for the Quad Cities Community Foundation, described how local schools could benefit from increased access to mental health services. “This will not only double the time staff can devote to serving students in each school district, but it will also provide 3 years, essentially to ensure that service is consistent and that students can rely on over the years. coming years. Thompson said.

Mercer County is categorized as a “health worker shortage area” with one mental health care provider per 7,800 residents – a ratio considered low compared to state and federal levels. The foundation’s grant is part of a larger initiative to increase the accessibility of mental health programs to students in rural areas.

The grant will provide care gradually over the next three years and a foundation spokesperson said it is expected to fully fund increased mental health resources through 2024.

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