Mission Possible: The Best Champs Holiday Party Ever!

ScriptPro, a Kansas City-area company that provides pharmacy software, robotics and management programs, has taken on a new task this quarter.


The company’s employees, part of a program called Community Connection, are putting on a holiday party for the SHS Champs program.

“We love giving back,” said Erin Pagel, Manager of Strategic Pharmacy Services at ScriptPro, “and it’s important to our employees to give back locally.”

The Community Connection team surveyed the approximately 800 ScriptPro employees and found a passion for children’s needs, fighting hunger, supporting cancer research and caring for animals.

The team partnered with Harvesters, Kansas City’s community food network, in the first quarter of 2018; with PurpleStride, a non-profit that raises funds and awareness of pancreatic cancer, in the second quarter; and with KC Pet Project in the third quarter.

For the fourth quarter and the holiday season, the company looked for a way to support children in need. Since the company already had a connection with SHS – the  Swope Health Services Pharmacy uses ScriptPro products – it was an easy decision to host the party for the kids in the Champs program.

Scriptpro planning team

The ScriptPro-SHS planning team at an October meeting, from left: Joi Franklin, Electrical Quality Assurance Technician II at ScriptPro; Amy Kuhnlein, SHS Manager of Development and Community Affairs; Kristen Meschede, Customer Communications Manager at ScriptPro; Elgie Hurd, SHS Supervisor, CPRP; Tiffany Clinton, SHS Supervisor, CPRP; and Erin Pagel, Manager, Strategic Pharmacy Services at ScriptPro.

Champs is a monthly youth group for children aged 5 to 17 who are enrolled in the Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program (CPRP), said Tiffany Clinton, Community Support Supervisor.

The program serves an average of 50 children each month with different life-skills topics and age-appropriate activities.

The children in the Champs program face numerous challenges, including physical and verbal aggression, impulsivity, maintaining focus in the classroom, suspensions, struggles with depression, and homicidal or suicidal thoughts, Tiffany said.

Some children are in the family court system and others have received inconsistent care with medication and treatment plans. Some have been hospitalized for mental illness and related issues.

“These kids face issues no child should have to face,” Tiffany said.

ScriptPro’s Community Connection team agrees, and intends to create a memorable and fun celebration for the Champs kids.

For the party, the team will convert the activity rooms in Building C into a “Winter Wonderland,” with a Christmas tree and activity stations featuring cookie and cupcake decorating, ornament making, making and decorating goodie bags and other crafts.

The team’s plans include a Karaoke station, a snowman bowling game (think of a snowball knocking down snowman pins), and a station for temporary tattoos. A costumed Olaf, the snowman from “Frozen” movie fame, also will be at the party on Dec. 19, 2018.

There will be a photo booth, and kids can use the photos to create personalized ornaments to take home. The celebration will include a meal, as well as personalized holiday gifts for each.


Kaitlin Xouris, ScriptPro Digital Brand Strategist, is participating in ScriptPro’s Toy Drive for SHS Champs participants and Toys for Tots. There’s a competition at ScriptPro to see which member of the leadership team can bring in the most toys. In early December, Bill Thomas, ScriptPro’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, was in the lead over Lindsey McDonald, Director of Product Configuration Management, Field Operations, and Tony Goble, Vice President, Customer Service. The winner of the competition gets the honor of dressing as Olaf, the snowman from Frozen, for one day.

The ScriptPro team held a friendly competition among departments to see which could bring in the most toys for the Champs program, Erin said.

“We want to make sure every kid gets at least one gift, if not more,” Erin said.

Putting on such a celebration takes a lot of volunteers. Erin noted that the team is working in three shifts: the first has employees who are doing the advance work of creating craft kits, baking the cookies and cupcakes for decorating, and designing the decorations for the activity room.

A second shift will handle the transformation of the room and set up all the activities. And the third shift will host the party and then clean up after the event.

More than 30 employees signed up to participate in the first week alone.

“We are so excited to partner with ScriptPro for this event,” Tiffany said. “The amazing generosity and spirit of the ScriptPro team will help create a special holiday event for our kids.”

Would you like to support the Champs program? Donations are always welcome, either in cash or assistance with programming items – like hygiene kits, daily planners, or craft supplies. Contact Shantelle Wells (816-599-5252, SWells@swopehealth.org) or Jaclyn Powell (816-599-5243, jrpowell@swopehealth.org) for more information. 

Swope Health Earns New Certification in Federal Program, Expands Behavioral Health Access and Services

Quietly, after more than a year’s worth of planning, Swope Health Services launched a transformational program to improve access to mental health services.

SHS Behavioral Health is now a designated Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic. SHS is one of 15 agencies in Missouri named to participate in a two-year demonstration project, directed by the federal government. There are a total of eight states participating.

The point of the demonstration project? To make it easier for the community to access a broad spectrum of behavioral health services.

“This is all about giving our patients easier access to new services,” said Mark Miller, SHS Vice President of Behavioral Health. “Our goal was to make it seamless, so patients wouldn’t have any disruption in care. Instead, they now see more things they didn’t know they could get from us.”

For example, some of the differences patients can see are:

  • reception area

    As part of the new designation as a Certified Community Behavioral Health Clinic, SHS opened a new Behavioral Health Children’s Services Clinic. The center offers new services for children in a newly renovated space.

    The Behavioral Health Children’s Services Clinic at SHS Central, a new space that integrates children’s psychiatric services, therapies and programs, with added security in separation from adult programs. The new space features a bright lobby and reception area, a community conference room, children’s play area plus access to all the children’s services. This new space opened Jan. 16, 2018.

  • A new service focused on Children’s Substance Abuse.
  • The new Opioid Clinic, launched in Fall 2017.
  • A new program focused on Hospital Discharge Coordination. In this program, SHS undertakes outreach to hospitals to coordinate transition of care for SHS patients.
  • Enhanced staffing, with the addition of three new Children’s Therapists, five new Care Coordinators and other positions behind the scenes.

Some of the biggest changes actually are occurring behind the scenes, Miller noted.

For example, one part of the new CCBHC program revises the entire financial model, moving from charging a fee for every service to a single rate that covers all the services a patient chooses.

There is an emphasis on value, making sure clients are receiving as much support as they need.

“This model gives us a little more freedom to support our clients,” Miller said. “We’ve enhanced both the quality of care and the access to care.”

CCBHC infogrph

Credit: Center On Integrated Health Care & Self-Directed Recovery

SHS has been operating under this new model for about six months, and is reviewing data from the program to assess performance.

The Behavioral Health team is using the data to guide changes and where needed, make additions to the programs.

“With the new qualitative data, we’ve had some ‘a-ha’ moments,” Miller said. For example, based on data, the team has reorganized some functions and realigned some services for maximum impact.

“We are becoming more savvy in decision-making and understanding the impact of our decisions through the data,” he said. “The data helps us respond to community needs and guides how we solve problems.”

Since this is a pilot program, SHS is in a position of leadership to influence the ultimate design of the program. It’s expected that this program will be rolled out across the state.

This experience gives SHS the opportunity to influence related and complementary programs, such as those run by Jackson County or Kansas City, while also expanding access to quality Behavioral Health programs.

“We’re ahead of the curve,” Miller said. “We’ve enhanced the access to our care and we’ve enhanced the quality of our care.”

Help for Opioid Addiction at SHS

Dr Reddy

Dr. Nallu Reddy is in SHS’s new induction room for medication-assisted treatment of opioid addiction.

Swope Health Services is launching a new program to provide medication-assisted treatment for opioid addiction.

The program addresses the increasing need for focused medical assistance in breaking the cycle of addiction to pain relievers, whether prescription or illicit drugs.

“There is an opioid epidemic across the country,” said Mark Miller, Vice President of Behavioral Health Services. Nationally, 90 people die every day from opioid overdose, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And, the American Society of Addiction Medicine estimates that about 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids.

The Kansas City metro area ranks roughly in the middle of the pack in opioid prescriptions and concentration, as measured by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We recognize this is a crisis and people are dying,” said Dr. Nallu Reddy, SHS Chief of Psychiatry. “Our number one goal is to help people stay alive.”

Supported by state and federal grants, the new SHS program will offer suboxone, a prescription medication (also known as naloxone), which helps patients manage an opioid addiction by blocking the opioid receptors in the body.

Anyone who is struggling with opioid addiction resulting from either prescription pain medications or illegal narcotics like heroin is welcome to contact SHS Behavioral Services at our Central Facility (3801 Blue Parkway, Kansas City, Mo.). Walk-in hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday or you can call 816-922-1070 for an appointment. These services may be covered by insurance.

To be admitted to the program, a patient must be healthy enough to take the opioid-blocking medication, willing to adhere to program requirements and committed to the initial two- or three-day induction process. The medication-assisted treatment is complemented by therapy, counseling and transportation services as well.

SHS has three medical doctors certified and licensed to provide the special medication-assisted treatment. Patients are expected to stay in the program for a month and then be assessed for next steps in treatment. Each patient receives an individual treatment plan – some patients may be tapered off the medication and others may need continued access to the medication.

Some background:

  • What are opioids? Broadly, the term covers prescription pain relievers, including the synthetic drug fentanyl, as well as illegal drugs like heroin.
  • How did we get to an opioid crisis? According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the problems began in the 1990s with the pharmaceutical companies marketing of prescription opioid pain relievers. Providers began prescribing them more at greater rates until it became clear in opioid overdose deaths that the drugs were highly addictive.
  • How bad is it? It’s the deadliest drug crisis in American history. The New York Times reported: “Overdoses killed more people last year than guns or car accidents, and are doing so at a pace faster than the H.I.V. epidemic at its peak.”
  • How do we address the crisis? Nationally, new programs promote greater access to treatment and recovery, and availability of overdose-reversing drugs. Just this summer, the state of Missouri began the creation of a statewide prescription drug monitoring program.

If you have questions about the program or opioid addiction, contact SHS Behavioral Services at the SHS Central Facility at 816-923-5800. Walk-in hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. 

How Resilient Are You?

ResilientKCYou know how some people seem to be capable of facing whatever life brings? That’s what it means to be resilient.

Not everyone has the same ability to bounce back from adversity or trauma. Science has proven that some adverse childhood experiences can damage self-esteem and willingness to bounce back. And, the more adverse experiences a person has during their childhood,  the more likely their risk for negative health outcomes later in life like diabetes, heart disease, alcoholism, drug use, depression, obesity and cancer, to name a few.

But there’s also evidence of good news. We are all capable of learning skills to develop resiliency.

That’s the focus of a new program, Resilient KC, a partnership between Trauma Matters KC and the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce.  Resilient KC is collecting Adverse Childhood Experiences and Resiliency scores from people in Greater Kansas City, now through the end of June 2017.

If you are 18 years or older, you can help develop the area’s Resilience Score by participating in a survey about adverse childhood experiences (ACE). By collecting ACE data from the Kansas City region, the program will be better able to provide more resources for people who need help.

“As we continue to learn more about adverse childhood experiences, we understand how they truly impact us into adulthood,” said Jasmin Williams, Project Coordinator for Resilient KC. “Resilience skills can help children and adults overcome adversities. Everyone can learn how to develop greater resiliency. ”

Here are three ways you can participate and learn about your own resilience.

1.Take the survey. Your anonymous answers will be combined with others from adults in the KC region, and with results from 14 other cities across the nation. This study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson and Health Care Foundation of Greater Kansas City, will provide data to guide development of new resources and support in the community. You’ll receive a score from the survey and information to understand what the score means.

2.Come to the Resiliency Rally, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 13 at Arrowhead Stadium, to find resiliency resources and learn resiliency skills. This event is organized by Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce, along with Sesame Street in Communities, Healthy KC, the Black Community Fund, Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, REACH Healthcare Foundation, RideKC, Cornerstones of Care and the Truman Medical Centers.

This family-focused event is free, and includes free food, music and activities. Free transportation is offered from the Don Boscoe Community Center, Greg Klice Community Center and Southeast Community Center, starting at 9:30 a.m. and every half-hour until 1:30 p.m. The last return shuttle from Arrowhead leaves at 2:30 p.m.

The rally features Cookie Monster, from Sesame Street. The first 50 people to attend will get a Sesame Street plush toy and the first 100 will get a free T-shirt.

“We’re expecting a large and diverse community turnout,” Williams said. “We want everyone to get connected to resources and services you can take home and use.”

More than 50 organizations will participate – including the SHS Outreach & Enrollment team. The different organizations offer tools and skills to help parents work with children with experiences involving incarceration, divorce and grief, as well as overall health and wellness.

3. Share your story in the “Our Stories Matter” campaign. You can participate by sharing your personal story on Facebook, Twitter (@ResilientKC) or LinkedIn. Sharing real-life experiences helps raise awareness of the impacts of adversities and trauma on the greater community. It also encourages sharing coping skills and developing ways to build personal resilience.

The SHS Outreach & Enrollment team  will be at the Resiliency Rally, sharing information and giveaways. Come talk with us at the Rally!

#ShareYourTruth: It’s OK to Get Help

Mental Health AwarenessGreen is the color of springtime and hope. That’s why you’ll be seeing it just about everywhere during the week of May 1-5 at Swope Health Services as we celebrate Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week.

This national recognition is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that leads public health efforts to advance the behavioral health of the nation. The agency’s mission is to reduce the impact of substance abuse and mental illness on America’s communities.

“We want to remove the stigma of seeking help,” said Kortney Carr, Director of Children’s Behavioral Health Services. “We want to spread the word about what we can do to help with depression, anxiety, fitting in and being comfortable in your own skin.”

For the third consecutive year, the Children’s Behavioral Health Services team has sponsored a full week of activities to help raise awareness and spread the word, said Ashley Daniels, Community Support Supervisor and part of the committee organizing the week’s events.

“Our lineup is bigger than ever,” said Ashley. “We’re excited to share information and encourage others to help spread the word.”

Indeed, we encourage anyone participating in the week or in the SHS-sponsored activities to use the hashtag #ShareYourTruth on the various social media platforms

Ashley Daniels

Ashley Daniels, Community Support Supervisor, orchestrated the events for Children’s Mental Health Awareness week. Some of the items available include green ribbons, wristbands, pencils and a variety of buttons.

Want to participate? Here’s the lineup of events:

Monday, May 1: Stop by the information tables in the main lobby of Swope Health Central for a chance to meet members of the Children’s Behavioral Health Services staff. You can pick up information on mental health and buy buttons, stickers and green ribbons to commemorate the week. All proceeds will be used to buy supplies for Children’s Behavioral Health activities.

Tuesday, May 2, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.: Join in a celebration with families of children in SHS programs. You’ll find refreshments and festivities in the activity room in Building C. Participants will get a “passport” to visit a series of tables operated by SHS and community support agencies including the Metropolitan Organization to Counter Sexual Assault (MOCSA), Solace House Center for Grief and Healing and Aim4Peace, a Kansas City public health program. Participants who get stamps from all the tables are entered into a drawing for prizes.

The evening program includes “Shining Star” Awards and Success Stories, followed by The Battery Tour. This local band is fronted by the artist AY who performs in a personal and expressive style, emphasizing connections with his audience. The band will lead a discussion before performing.

Wednesday, May 3, Noon: Youth Mental Health Awareness Committee Members will create and distribute cards with positive messages and special green stickers to help raise awareness.

Thursday, May 4, is Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day. Join in the Parent Workshop from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. with families enrolled in SHS programs. The workshop features activities in parenting, emphasizing self-care and resiliency, how to redirect and reward, and other interpersonal tools and skills. The program includes separate activities for kids. Refreshments will be served.

Friday, May 5: Come celebrate with us at the Kansas City Public Library at the Lucile H. Bluford Branch, 3050 Prospect Ave., and the Southeast Branch, 6242 Swope Parkway. From 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., you can meet with SHS staff and learn about our programs as well as examine selected books from the branches to support self-care and awareness of behavioral health for children and adults.

The week’s activities align with national programs focusing on the importance of integrating behavioral health and primary care for children, youth, and young adults with mental health or substance abuse disorders. Come join us – and plan on wearing green!

Would you like more information on our Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Programs for children or adults? Please stop by or schedule an appointment at 816-825-6099.

A New Location to Serve You: Announcing Swope Health Maple Woods!

Swope Health Services is expanding again!

You’re invited to join us for the ribbon-cutting celebration to open our newest clinic, Swope Health Maple Woods, at the Northland Human Services Building, 3100 N.E. 83rd St., Suite 101, Kansas City, Mo.

The celebration is hosted by the Northland Chamber of Commerce at 4 p.m., Thursday, April 13. Light refreshments will be served and the facility will be open for tours.

Northland Human Services BuildingThe new facility will be open Tuesdays, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., inside the Tri-County Mental Health Clinic.

With two exam rooms and a lab, SHS Maple Woods will offer Tri-County clients treatment for acute and chronic illnesses, physical examinations for adults, preventive health education, laboratory services, pregnancy testing, prenatal care and family planning.

“We anticipate this primary care clinic will serve as a model for others to help break down the barriers that have prevented mental health consumers from receiving appropriate and timely medical care,” said Mark Miller, Vice President of SHS Behavioral Services.

Integrating primary care directly into a mental health center will ensure patients receive a holistic continuum of care on site. SHS and Tri-County expect the clinic to support improved preventive care and disease management and, ultimately, reduce acute hospitalizations.

In addition to the on-site services, SHS clinicians will be able to refer patients for dental care, medical procedures and specialists, if needed, said Kenneth Thomas, M.D., SHS Chief Medical Officer.

Tri-County Mental Health opened in 1990 providing comprehensive behavioral health services to nearly 400,000 people in Clay, Platte and Ray counties.

ReceptionExam Room 2

7 Tips to Avoid Stress This Holiday Season


Andrea Buford, MSW, LCSW

Depression and stress often show up at this time of year, but they don’t have to, says Andrea Buford, MSW, LCSW, Director of Clinical Operations in Behavioral Health at SHS.

The holiday season brings expectations that you should be shopping, decorating, cooking, organizing activities, traveling, seeing family and so on.

“The pressure to do all of it can be a bit much,” Andrea said. “Don’t feel like you have to be perfect. It’s OK to say ‘no.’ You don’t have to get caught up in it all.”

Andrea offers some tips to avoid stress this holiday season:

1. Make a plan – “If you’re going to be traveling, give yourself plenty of time,” Andrea said. “Accept that the even the best-laid plans don’t work the way they should. Just stay calm and relaxed.”

2. Set a budget – “Don’t try to keep up with the Joneses,” she said. “Set a limit and don’t go over it. Remember, what’s important is the time you’re spending, not the money.” She notes that sometimes the best gifts are the simplest – a handwritten letter, a family recipe, a homemade ornament or favorite food.

3. Do for others – “One of the best ways to feel good is to help someone else,” Andrea noted. For example, one of Andrea’s friends has a tradition with his children — every year, they must choose one gift that they can’t open. That’s the one that they take to Children’s Mercy and give to a child there. It’s a lesson in how giving makes you feel good, while making someone else feel better, too.

4. Ask for help – It’s OK to ask others to contribute to the meal or to help out with cleaning or shopping or caring for family. And be willing to help others if they ask or seem overwhelmed.

5. Don’t let tensions escalate – You’re likely to encounter a lot of people in a variety of circumstances like at parties, dinner, shopping, in traffic, at events. “Accept differences,” Andrea said. “Be kind, take a deep breath. Let that person get in line in front of you, hold the door for someone else.” A smile can go a long way toward reaching an understanding.

6. Take time for yourself – “You can give yourself permission not to be joyous. It’s OK to say no and step back,” Andrea said. Remember to take care of yourself – eat right, don’t overindulge, get rest, stick to your exercise routine. Andrea likes to quote Dr. Seuss: Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.

7. Be aware of depression – Feelings of persistent sadness, or a sense of being hopeless, helpless and worthless are signals of depression. Other signs are changes in sleeping or eating, and prolonged restlessness or irritability. If you’re experiencing these serious feelings, a behavioral health professional can help with therapy, coping techniques and medication. It’s OK to seek help. That’s why we’re here.

For more information or to make an appointment, please call our Behavioral Health department at (816) 922-1070. Same-day visits are available. 

Bullying and Children: We’re Here to Help

By Colleen Innis, MA, Child Behavioral Health Project Coordinator, CPRC Children

Bullying among school-age kids is real. It can be more than just someone talking mean – a child who is the subject of bullying behavior can be suffering from trauma.

We’re here to help. At SHS Children’s Community Psychiatric Rehabilitation Program, we want to create awareness and empower parents and students to act against bullying.

What is bullying? Bullying consists of aggressive behavior that involves unwanted and negative actions. It involves a pattern of behavior, repeated over time. And it involves an imbalance of power, leading to forms of abuse.

bullying-hurtsThere are several forms of bullying behaviors:

  • Verbal bullying: Using bad names, spreading lies and rumors, putting down others
  • Physical bullying: Hitting, kicking, pushing, throwing objects and taking things by force
  • Social bullying: Causing embarrassment in group setting, creating exclusion or isolation
  • Sexual bullying: Unwanted touching, inappropriate comments, jokes and photos
  • Cyberbullying: Negative and embarrassing comments or photos spread through social media, texting or Internet and mobile apps
  • Racial Bullying: Derogatory comments, embarrassment and physical aggression toward individuals from a different race

Kids who suffer from these kinds of behaviors might not seek out help, but you can watch for some key signs. You might see responses like nightmares, mood swings, fearfulness, stress and panic attacks.

You can watch for changes to eating and sleep patterns, style of dress and appearance. Some might try substance abuse or self-harm. Others might turn aggressive and hurt others or have angry outbursts or try to take weapons to school. Some might just refuse to go to school.

When you see behaviors that you can’t explain, reach out. Your response can make all the difference in empowering your child:

  • Listen non-judgmentally and be reassuring: “It’s not your fault” or “Thanks for telling me and giving me a chance to help you.”
  • Validate their feelings: “I can see how this is difficult for you. It makes sense for you to feel this way.”
  • Provide support and help identify options to solve the problem: “What do you want to do next?”

The harmful effects of bullying might be a contributing factor to the increase of suicide rates in our nation and in KC Metro Area. About 450 Kansans and 950 Missourians die of suicide each year, and the rates have risen since 2008.

If you notice a child experiencing emotional distress from the effects of bullying, and having difficulty managing at home and school or in the community, please seek professional help. The child could benefit from participating in Swope Health Services Outpatient Services (therapy or psychiatric) and CPRC Services that offer additional support from a caring adult.


Refer a child for a walk-in assessment, Tuesday – Friday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., or call Colleen Innis at 816-918-6130.

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon Hosts Mental Health Roundtable at SHS

GovNixon (3)Last Thursday, August 11, more than 75 police officers, sheriff’s deputies, court officials and mental health professionals joined Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon at Swope Health Services.

A roundtable of 10 Jackson County law enforcement and mental health professionals assembled to discuss how the governor’s mental health initiative is working to strengthen public safety.

Swope Health Services, which provides mental health services for individuals of all ages regardless of income, hosted the event.

Gov. Nixon noted how his 2013 strategic mental health initiative provided new Community Mental Health Liaisons to work with police departments and the courts. The goal of the liaisons, he said, is to facilitate access to care and improve the coordination of mental health services.

The governor introduced Cheryl D. Reed, SHS Community Mental Health Liaison, to kick off the discussion of how the program is working.

Cheryl, who is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a Master’s in Social Work, noted that she attends municipal court about three times a week. She is there to screen offenders who’ve been identified by either a judge or an attorney as needing mental health support. Cheryl assesses them for eligibility in Jackson County Mental Health Court, which then provides treatment and resources. If the individual successfully completes the six-month treatment, charges can be dropped.

“I get around 75 to 100 police reports that are specifically around people with mental health issues,” Cheryl said. “I try to follow up on all those reports and help get people engaged in our services.”

GovNixon (2)She continued: “Sometimes we get some really high users of
9-1-1 that are really problematic and we will go to their homes. I go with a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) officer to the home to try and engage them in the services.”

Cheryl noted that another part of her work is to engage police officers on dealing with clients with mental health issues.  “I try to educate them about resources that will help them deal with people with mental health issues,” she said.

In the roundtable discussion, other participants shared stories of how an intervention and treatment kept a client out of trouble. Others addressed the cost savings that accrue from keeping people out of jails.

Gov. Nixon praised the work of the roundtable and the audience. “I appreciate the leadership that we have here on the ground,” he said.

The local collaboration between mental health and police departments creates a durable program that can make a significant difference in the community.

For more information about SHS Behavioral Health Services, contact us at 816-922-1070.

What You Need to Know About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSDWhat do you know about Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD?

PTSD is often associated with battlefield experience in the military, but trauma can affect any one.

“No one is immune from trauma,” said Deborah Lidzy, Crisis Response Specialist in Adult Behavioral Health at Swope Health Services. “Trauma does not discriminate in any way.”

PTSD can occur after you have experienced a traumatic event. Traumatic events are anything shocking, scary or dangerous where you feel like your life is in danger or you have no control over what is happening.

Trauma can be caused by sexual abuse, physical assault, serious accidents, like a car wreck, natural disasters like fire, tornado, flood or earthquake, or combat exposure.

Not everyone who experiences a trauma will have symptoms of PTSD, Deborah said, but repeated traumas may increase the likelihood of having post-traumatic stress.

The main symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Not sleeping or re-experiencing the event in bad dreams, frightening thoughts or flashbacks
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
  • Negative changes in beliefs and feelings, like feeling negative about yourself, or feeling guilt, blame or lacking interest in enjoyable activities
  • Hyper-vigilance — being jittery, tense, or constantly on the lookout for danger

“It’s normal to have a stress reaction after a trauma,” Deborah said, “but if these behaviors interfere with your life, it’s time to seek help.”

The most effective treatment is a combination of counseling and medication. Counseling involves meeting with a therapist to understand how your trauma changed your thoughts and feelings, and to learn new ways of coping.

“The more you talk about the situation, the emotion gets less and less,” Deborah said. “The only way around the fire is through the fire.”

SHS provides trauma-informed care that is customized and personal to each patient.

“The most important thing is to get started,” Deborah said. “It’s better to deal with it right away and don’t let it build up. We can help you deal with it, work through it, learn some coping skills.”


National Center for PTSD

National Institute of Mental Health — PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder guide

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

RESPECT Institute

Have you struggled after a trauma? Or do you know someone who may be suffering after a trauma? We are here for you. Please call 816-923-5800 and visit our Behavioral Health services for support.