Therapy will now be offered as a service at two Boys & Girls Club of Springfield units.
Leaders with Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield and Burrell Behavioral Health signed a memorandum of understanding on Thursday to expand clinical behavioral health services. A licensed Burrell clinician will be located on-site at the Musgrave and Fremont units to provide individual and group therapy.
Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield Chief Executive Officer Brandy Harris said the timing of the agreement is perfect.
“We’re about to enter our school year program, and it is very clear that in our kids and our families and our staff the mental health needs are skyrocketing,” Harris told the News-Leader after the signing. “The timing of this is incredible.”
The club has had a longtime partnership with Burrell Behavioral Health with community support services, but this agreement takes it to a new level, Harris said.
“There is a lot of work that’s gone into this agreement from both sides,” Harris said.
With the help of a mental health committee, both organizations were able to determine how to best serve the children and families at Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield.
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“We pride ourselves in providing a safe, positive environment for kids, and safety is so big,” Harris said.
Having a safe environment doesn’t just mean in the physical sense.
“We want to provide an infrastructure and stability for kids at all levels,” she said. “Our reach can be so much more. Parents can become familiar with Burrell employees as part of a Boys & Girls Club family.”
Due to the challenges surrounding COVID-19, no one is exempt from feeling the effects.
“It is clear that the mental health need, right now, is the highest it’s ever been,” Harris said.
Burrell Behavioral Health President and CEO C.J. Davis said getting mental health services directly to and for children can help in the long-term.
“On average, when a kid first has a symptom of mental health, they have to wait six to eight years to get treatment,” Davis said.
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Part of Burrell’s mission is to go where the people are most comfortable or already have connections.
“Think about all the kids who come through here that are receiving academic support, relationship support, recreation support and, of course, the other piece of that is emotional support,” Davis said about Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield.
Having direct access to a trained therapist may help fight through the stigma surrounding mental health as well.
“I often tell people when a parent asks me, ‘When should I have my kid evaluated or seen?’ Well, as soon as you have that question, you should have your kid evaluated or seen,” Davis said. “The way we look at behavioral services we also mimic them to how we access physical medical services.”
For example, Davis said if a child is limping, their parent may not rush them to a hospital immediately. They may wait a few days to see if the limp subsides. If the problem persists, parents or caregivers all too often think the child will grow out of it or get better on their own.
“Unfortunately, what happens is that mental health condition simmers and sometimes gets worse,” Davis said. “The earlier we can intervene, the better off the kid’s prognosis as an adult.”
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Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield provides activities for over 13,000 local youths each year, according to a news release from the organization. The club focuses on five core areas, including the arts, character and leadership development, education and career development, health and life skills and sports, fitness and recreation.
Visit bgclubspringfield.org to learn more.
Burrell Behavioral Health works with more than 40,000 clients across 25 counties in Missouri and Arkansas. With almost 400 licensed providers, it offers therapy and counseling, addiction recovery, psychiatric stabilization, case management, residential treatment, diagnostic testing and evaluations and developmental disability support.
Visit burrellcenter.com for information.