Carthage School District Starts Program aimed at Preventing Suicides

Carthage high school building

Some students in Southwest Missouri will soon have access to more medical and mental health services.

For several months, the Carthage School District has been working to expand health services at the high school — and part of the plan brings hope for preventing suicides.

Carthage has had two suicides in the past 12 months.

During their meeting on Monday, the district approved two agreement’s to create a Mercy health clinic- and an Ozark Center mental health clinic – at the high school.

Carthage Superintendent Mark Baker:”If even one child is effected positively by this, than it’s gonna be worth the time and effort that we put into it.”

The clinics will be open for all students and staff in the district.. and they’ll be able to schedule appointments around class times — making it more convenient to receive care.

Carthage Superintendent Mark Baker hopes the new services will aid students struggling with mental health issues and thoughts of suicide.

Baker:”I think one of the key points is it’s just somebody there to offer support in the profession. Our counselors do a great job, there’s no doubt about that, but sometimes the details go above what we’re trained to do, and now having that expert on our property will definitely help us out.”

The new programs are thanks to changes made by the Missouri Department of Mental Services in April, that made it so that mental health professional’s can use schools as places of service.

Del Camp, Ozark Center:”This is probably one of the most exciting opportunities that have come down in a very long time.”

According to Del Camp at the Ozark Center — programs like this can help de-stigmatize mental health.

Camp:”Stigma related to mental health keeps a lot of people feeling as though, somehow, it’s their fault. I think any time you reduce the barriers to accessing mental health services, you get a better outcome.”

Baker hopes breaking down those barriers will help students in the long run.

Baker:”Kids need help. And we hope this proposal will allow kids the open freedom to discuss it, and provide some assistance to our adults also.”

The district hopes to have the clinics open in the next couple of months.

The Ozark Center tells us it’s working with other districts in the area to start similar programs.

For more information about the Mo DSS change, and programs at CHS — follow these links:

Mo DSS Changes:

New Carthage High School Programs: