Sen. Krist and Sen. Walz discuss mental health issues in Grand Island

    Sen. Krist and Sen. Walz stop by GIPS to discuss mental health issues

    Many of us may not realize it, but many young people are sometimes suffering in silence from mental health issues.

    On Friday, Senator Bob Krist along with running mate Senator Lynne Walz spent the afternoon speaking with folks at Grand Island Public Schools about some of the issues regarding mental health.

    "You can do everything you can do certainly, but if you're not getting the support from the state or department of health and human services than you've done everything you can," Krist said.

    Mental health in Nebraska schools is an issue Krist and Walz say they plan to take seriously.

    "We know it’s an important issue. It's a very important issue in matter of fact across the state. So we want to continue our efforts in helping schools and families find resources for their kids regarding mental health," Walz said.

    Dawn Deuel-Rutt, a social worker at Grand Island Public Schools said she's one of about 17 social workers in the district.

    She said each of them work in different capacities to meet the needs of students.

    "So it could be something from helping them make a referral to a rehab or first development, so they can get connected to a career plan or help with disabilities services all the way to mental health needs. We have students that have very serious mental health needs that we need to work on levels of care. We also have other social workers in the district that work with a range of one to two thousand students, and then they're doing more of basic interventions. A lot of suicide prevention work, a lot of mental health crisis work and attendance," Deuel-Rutt said.

    Krist and Walz hoping to gain insight from school professionals about what they can hopefully do if elected.

    "We wanted to hear all the things that are working and then the kinds of things that we can do to make it better in our administration when we succeed in January," Krist said.

    This past legislative session, Walz's bill to tackle mental health was vetoed by the governor.

    "It would've allowed a social worker in each of the educational service units across the state that would directly work with the schools in identifying kids that have behavioral and mental health issues and then finding them resources in the community," Walz said.

    The two running mates say it’s critical to implement these resources, especially here in rural Nebraska.

    "We've initiated a lot of programs state-wide, trying to reduce the limitations, the justice by geography and the services by geography across the state and making sure we are getting out there by either telehealth," Krist said.

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