“Nearly 18% of Missouri adults experienced a form of mental illness, & more than 14% of Missouri adolescents (ages 12 – 17) experienced a major depressive episode”
October 10th is World Mental Health Day, which along with other objectives, is designed to make Americans mindful of the desperate need for mental health care across the country. Missouri is one of the states which is in need, and to that end, LFCS (The Lutheran Family and Children’s Services) is offering a great range of cutting-edge programs in Missouri, including accessible mental health services for more than 4500 children and families.
“24% of children in St. Louis City are projected to have a mental health challenge that qualifies them for a diagnosis”
The irony is that, regardless of America’s frequently publicized, serious mental health issues, only a small percentage of sufferers will actively try to find out more about their condition, and get the support they need. This is due to the prejudice of having a psychological, rather than a physical condition; the shortage of services available, and their lack of funds and necessary insurance coverage. Michael Kreitler, MA, LFCS’s behavioral health expert, noted: “Data shows that there is a need for mental health services and that disparity in mental health care means that low and moderate-income individuals, couples, and families have challenges finding affordable, quality services”.
On an Admirable Mission
Taking a full-on positive approach that will achieve results, The Lutheran Family and Children’s Services is on a mission fight the current status quo of inaccessibility to mental health services. This strategy involves the implementation of low-cost or free services, in community spaces, churches and schools, across the state. – Quite a Herculean task, that requires a lot of funding, and voluntary help from members of the community.
What Do the Programs Include?
School-Based Community Prevention: This initiative, which will cover 19 schools in St. Louis County and St. Louis City, is geared to help the youth and children from high school down to 3rd grade. A spokesperson stated that this: “is an evidence-based combination of curriculum delivered in a group or classroom setting, and individual follow-up sessions designed to engage at-risk youth in activities to increase positive life skills and decrease the likelihood of risky behaviors such as bullying, drugs, alcohol, and violence which can lead to mental health issues”. If the participants can be mindful of these risky behaviors at a young age, then this could have a huge impact later down the line.
Outpatient Therapeutic Counseling: This program, which is available in 13 locations, and 60-plus schools, is open to families, couples, children and adults, irrespective of their ability to pay. The areas covered, comprise: Cape Girardeau, St. Charles County; Jefferson County; Franklin County; and St. Louis County and St. Louis County City. The problems addressed during interventions comprise: mental health issues including anxiety and depression; difficulties with school/work; behavior/mood disruption; and social, family, and marriage relationship problems.