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Utah School Mental Health Collaborative

Initiative aimed at connecting kids with the treatment they need
Posted at 5:02 PM, Sep 29, 2023

Many teens deal with mental health struggles – either anxiety or depression or something more. Often those things go undiagnosed and untreated.

But there’s a program in Utah trying to help change that.
 
“I think everyone is experiencing some form of impact to our mental health and our youth are really experiencing those things,” said Dr. Aaron Fischer when speaking about new statewide initiative called the Utah School Mental Health Collaborative.

Fischer continued, “We have such an issue with children being able to address their wellness and their mental health.”

This program is now in its third year helping with screenings in schools and connecting kids to services.

“We really want to make sure that wherever the kids are getting their education that they’re able to address these issues,” said Fischer.

Dr. Mike Franz, Executive Medical Director of Behavioral Health for Regence said, “Utah continues to have one of the highest prevalence of behavioral health conditions in pediatrics in the country.”

Franz said unfortunately the majority do not get treatment.

“That’s over 100 thousand Utah kids and that’s enough to fill up 14 hundred school buses. We’ve got to get those kids connected to appropriate treatment.”

“Students are struggling and the best way we can help them is to know they are struggling, because many are struggling in silence,” said Fischer.

They hope to make screening for mental health issues as commonplace as screening for vision, hearing, and reading in schools, addressing any potentially issues early.

“The quicker we can get students into services, supporting them and their families, the more we can do to prevent later issues,” said Fischer.

Click here to connect to the Utah School Mental Health Collaborative. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.