BOONE COUNTY – Boone County School Leaders and the University of Missouri Research Faculty will sign a memorandum to increase mental health support for local schools and families on Friday afternoon.
According to a press release, several MU teachers who run the Center for Excellence in Family Access (FACE) plan to outline services that will support about 24,000 school-age children and families.
FACE principal investigator Aaron Thompson said bringing together the Boone County center and schools is an opportunity to hold important conversations that advocate for the well-being of children in schools.
“These are our children, this is our community,” Thompson said. “This is a great need in all communities and I think in particular over the last year, we have seen this need grow.”
The Center for Excellence in Family Access (FACE) will sign the memorandum with Boone County School Leaders.
Thompson said the memorandum will support children and families during and after immediate crises in school settings. It will also provide support to small groups, individual counseling and other support points based on individual needs. He says he will also bring services in school settings to community-based settings.
“It’s about social, emotional and behavioral health,” he said. “We can positively affect any student we come in contact with or a family who may be in crisis at midnight.”
A Rock Bridge High School senior prioritized mental health support during the pandemic by creating a virtual meditation for his classmates. He said having more of these outlets at local schools is exactly what students need right now.
“The pandemic is stressful at many different points,” Vignesh Kumar said. “We can’t rely on the stress relief outings we’ve done before. The extracurricular activities or sports you had may no longer be safe, or the people you visit regularly to talk about feelings may not be as safe. accessible “.
Kumar also said he hopes an increase in resources will help students see self-care as a common ground.
“I think we tend to portray self-care as something that is of lower priority, which is that whenever you are in danger you need attention,” he said. “That’s really not the case. I hope that through these resources provided by the districts and the university, students will begin to see that self-care is something we all need.”
The memorandum of understanding will be signed Friday at 1 p.m. at the Boone County government center.