Governor Ricketts held a news conference in May to acknowledge Mental Health Awareness Month and to celebrate the many accomplishments of the System of Care initiative. Among those who spoke at the press conference was a mother from northeast Nebraska whose adult son desperately needed mental health services as a child but none were available that could meet his needs. She has become a strong advocate for mental health services for children and youth and serves on the Leadership Board for the System of Care initiative. A Jennifer Jackson involved with the Dakota County Connections Collaborative spoke about the efforts underway to make early intervention services available to youth and their families and how schools are working with the collaborative to identify youth with behavioral health issues and to connect them to services. Nebraska Children President and CEO Mary Jo Pankoke talked about NC’s role as a private partner and how private dollars are being used to fund community-based prevention services across the state. “We know that by making supports and services available in the community, we can reach kids and families early and prevent problems from escalating to the point that more intrusive and more expensive interventions are needed,” she said.
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