So you know how we invest your sales tax dollars, we’re proud to put the spotlight on some of the many Jackson County organizations we fund.
“Suicide is 100% preventable.” That’s the driving force that motivates the staff at ReDiscover Mental Health, their school counselors, case managers, and behavioral health partners. For over 50 years, they’ve served the Kansas City area as a nonprofit that provides comprehensive programs for youth and children whose lives have been affected by mental illness and/or substance use disorders.
One youth who received services as a part of the Zero Youth Suicide program recently shared this with the ReDiscover team: “Without this program I would’ve never seen my life past 16. Now I am able to identify skills and realize that mental health isn’t scary or stuffy.”
And that’s exactly how the ReDiscover team feels about mental health: there is no shame in receiving help. Mental health is something every person needs. Working to overcome the all-too-common negative connotations surrounding mental health, the ReDiscover team is compassionate about health care, and demonstrates their passion toward people through customized, insightful — and even fun — therapy. They want to meet people right where they’re at, and help them live happy, healthy lives.
Providing Support and Preventing Loss of Life
ReDiscover offers a broad list of services, from parenting classes and prevention education to counseling, case management and crisis intervention services. Children’s Services Fund (CSF) has partnered with ReDiscover since 2018 to fund their Zero Youth Suicide (ZYS) program and, more recently, school-based mental health services. Both areas show just how important a holistic approach is to solving mental health challenges for youth and children.
School-based Mental Health Services
Offered at no cost to school districts, ReDiscover places school counselors in area elementary, middle and high schools to provide in-school mental health services. When teachers or school staff see signs a child or teen is struggling, they assign them to groups and the school counselors are able to enroll them in ReDiscover to get them the help they need.
ReDiscover serves a broad range of individuals and families, including those with limited financial means or without insurance. When cost becomes a challenge, ReDiscover bridges the gap and connects families of children who qualify for Medicaid assistance with those funds.
What have caseloads looked like in recent years? “The pandemic pushed people to a breaking point. More individuals are reaching out for help like they wouldn’t have before,” expressed Emma Ehle, Brand Strategist at ReDiscover. Prior to COVID, it was typical to receive 6-10 new referrals each week. Now, that number has risen to 15-20. Not only has the caseload increased, but the age of children experiencing mental health struggles leading to suicidal ideations has dropped to as young as age 9.
Zero Youth Suicide
Formed as a collaboration among behavioral health providers with special emphasis on those at higher risk of suicide, the goal of the Zero Youth Suicide initiative is to drastically reduce suicides and suicide attempts in youth ages 9-24 by focusing on prevention and early intervention. The program as three specific goals:
- Improve the system of care for suicidal youth who use hospital emergency rooms, in-patient psychiatric facilities and/or crisis hotlines.
- Enhance and expand early intervention and prevention efforts in schools.
- Strengthen prevention efforts for youth who are not in school by providing training and outreach to youth-serving organizations.
Case managers at ReDiscover realize managing mental health is a constant stream. Feelings of being overwhelmed or suffering from dissociation can come at any time, but they want youth to understand they are not alone. They don’t have to feel helpless, but instead can take a step back, see their situation from another perspective and handle it with hope.
In order to do that, case managers are willing to go to great lengths — even in silly ways — to help teens and kids see they have someone on their side, and get them excited about their mental health. One case manager strikes deals with his kids, promising to dress up in a costume when they reach one full week of no self harm.
Throughout therapy, case managers work to educate and model coping skills, providing opportunities for innovation. These skills could be as simple as drinking a glass of ice water, going for a walk, or placing an order at a busy coffee shop, making eye contact and engaging in small talk.
All of these efforts are made to help youth adopt coping skills to abstain from suicidal ideations. Once that milemarker is reached and case managers are confident they have the tools necessary to sustain their lives for the days, weeks, and months ahead, they are considered graduated from the Zero Youth Suicide program. In 2021, ReDiscover reached 1000 graduates.
Growth For Now and the Future
The ReDiscover team is grateful for the funding support from CSF. Enabling the addition of more therapists has been a big game changer, and what their team is most excited about. Looking ahead, the benefit of receiving CSF funds will help them continue to be innovative in their approach to mental health, offering the best service to the youth and community of Jackson County.
To learn more about ReDiscover Mental Health, their services, or volunteer program, visit rediscovermh.org.