Oesterlen Mental Health Counseling Reduces Barriers to Treatment

In today’s day and age, convenience is key. Families and individuals are busier than ever and are looking for ways to improve their lives and streamline services. Oesterlen offers many convenient programs that help increase access to treatment including Oesterlen’s school-based mental health services. By removing barriers such as transportation, scheduling conflicts, and stigma, Oesterlen’s school-based mental health services can help students access the services they need with minimal disruption to their school day.  

It is estimated that in the United States, one out of every six children aged 6-17 is afflicted with a mental health disorder annually. Furthermore, the onset of these conditions generally occurs before the age of 14. In many cases, children with mental health issues are left undiagnosed, untreated, or not adequately cared for, which can have a detrimental effect on their educational development. Recognizing and treating mental health conditions in children early on can be beneficial for both the child and their family.

Oesterlen offers mental health counseling services in partnership with the Springfield City School District at all three middle schools, Schaefer, Roosevelt, and Hayward, as well as at Simon Kenton Elementary. Youth who are dealing with trauma, stress, emotional or behavioral issues such as aggression, or struggling with schoolwork, are screened by their school and referred to Oeserlen. Oesterlen counselors conduct an assessment for each child and develop an individualized treatment plan to better equip youth with the skills needed to navigate interpersonal interactions leading to improved performance in both home and school settings. There is a great need for this type of support, and partnering with Oesterlen provides continuity of care during winter, spring, and summer breaks.

Oesterlen Mental Health Counselor, Jason Griffith, provides a safe place for kids to open up and share what is going on in their lives. “People do not understand what words do to kids,” said Griffith. “Some kids do not come from the best home environments and the most empowering words they hear come from the schools. About 99.9% of what they hear from teachers is positive and that puts a smile on their faces. Kids need to be applauded more for their successes rather than having their failures highlighted. They need more pats on the back.” Griffith believes kids will be more successful in school if they receive positive feedback. He uses techniques to empower the children he works with to motivate them to want to achieve more.

Schools offer a distinct advantage for identifying, preventing, and intervening in mental health problems among youth since they are already spending much of their productive time in educational settings. Oesterlen is proud to partner with the Springfield City School District to increase the availability of appropriate mental health services while reducing barriers and ensuring equitable access.

“The ability to provide school-based mental services for our students through our partnership with Oesterlen has been invaluable,” said Dr. Martin Johnson Springfield City Schools District Coordinator of Psychological & Mental Health Services. “Oesterlen’s presence in our schools not only allows for increasing access to mental health care for our students that may not have been previously available, but also benefits them by increasing their engagement in learning and helping them to gain a better sense of connectivity and belonging at school.”

Oesterlen’s Brooker Community Counseling Center has been providing outpatient counseling for youth and adults in the community and beyond for over 50 years.  Oesterlen’s professionally trained and licensed clinicians offer a wide range of expertise in mental health issues and trauma-informed treatment through in-person and telehealth appointments. Individuals seeking information about Oesterlen Mental Health Counseling can contact (937) 399-6101 ext. 141.

If you, a family member, or a friend are experiencing mental health challenges, please reach out to Oesterlen to learn more about the continuum of services Oesterlen provides. For more information please visit www.oesterlen.org or call 937-399-6101.