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Friday, June 21, 2024

KidsMatter 2 Us – Exploring teen mental health… from the other side of the desk


While mental health issues in teens have been well-documented in recent years, one effect of the mental health crisis has been a shortage of behavioral health professionals available to work with those who seek help. Behavioral health professionals include psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, licensed clinical social workers, licensed mental health counselors, and other counselors and clinicians. According to the American Psychological Association (apa.org/news/press/releases/2022/11/mental-health-care-strains), many psychologists and other behavioral health care providers no longer have the capacity to see new patients.

One solution is to provide adolescents with insight into a career in behavioral health and give interested students a head start toward achieving that professional goal.

KidsMatter is grateful for the grant from Edward-Elmhurst Health Community Investment Fund and the support of, College of DuPage (COD), Naperville Unit School District 203, Indian Prairie School District 204, Edward-Elmhurst Health, Linden Oaks Behavioral Health, First Student, and other key partners that have supported the launch of a SpringBoard Series program focused on healthcare careers.

This summer, 80 area high school student participants are receiving college credit for a Survey of Healthcare Careers course offered through COD or a certificate for a Pharmacy Technician Prep course through COD’s Continuing Education program. These classes provide students with an opportunity to learn more about healthcare careers, get a head start on a Pharmacy Technician credential, gain work readiness experience, and if they choose, start a pathway to a healthcare career. 

The summer courses include field experiences and job shadowing that give students a firsthand look at healthcare workplaces throughout the community in order to learn more about the actual work these professionals do. Some students also will have the opportunity to be trained and certified in Teen Mental Health First Aid.

We are very grateful to all of the partners who have made the inaugural SpringBoard Series possible. Recently I received this note from a student, “Thank you so much for these opportunities!”

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Nina Menis
Nina Menis
Nina M. Menis serves as CEO & Executive Director of KidsMatter. Nina grew up in Naperville and enjoyed raising a family in Naperville. Nina has worked in advancement for both public and private P-20 educational institutions and area nonprofits for more than 30 years. Contact Nina (pronounced nine-eh) at nina@kidsmatter2us.org or (630) 864-3974.