February 5, 2015

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – More than 100 area professionals representing 16 Southern Illinois counties gathered in the O’Neil Auditorium on the John A. Logan College campus Thursday morning to learn more about how they can help children combat trauma.

According to Ginger Meyer, clinical director for the Children’s Medical and Mental Health Network – an offshoot of the SIU School of Medicine – Thursday’s training session was a primer for an 18-month-long learning collaborative organized by the University of Missouri.

The goal of the network is to increase the number of mental health professionals in the region by 50 at the conclusion of the training.

Members of the collaborative will learn about Trauma Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, an evidence-based treatment used to help children who have suffered one or more traumatic experiences.

Meyer said she looks forward to the day when frontline workers can provide more than enough mental health services for the children of the region.

“We have a few pockets of certified clinicians who we are able to refer abused and neglected children to, but there are not nearly enough,” she said. “My thought is that someday soon a child in any of the Southern Illinois counties will be able to access trauma treatment and begin to heal.”

Meyer thanked Jo and Glenn Poshard with the Poshard Foundation for Abused and Neglected Children (housed at Logan) for contributing $100,000 to help make the collaborative a reality.

“Without their support, we wouldn’t be able to provide the learning collaborative so quickly and for as many people who will be trained to be trauma informed.”

The SIU School of Medicine Rural Health Initiative has provided the matching funds to support the Children’s Mental Health Resource Network.

“Families in Southern Illinois have little access to mental health care, so increasing the availability and access of these services will do great things to help traumatized children,” said Robert Wesley, executive director of SIU School of Medicine’s Regional Medical Programs.

Jo Poshard added that the Foundation views the training as a way to have a broad range and long-term effect in helping traumatized children.

“We believe our investment will help to profoundly change the lives and future of abused children.”