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A Focus on School Mental Health

In June, we wrapped up our three-year focus on school mental health culminating in two BHECN events.

The School Mental Health Summit brought together 150 stakeholders from across Nebraska to discuss best practices and solutions for behavioral health programs in our schools. This effort will be carried forward by our partners, Dr. Dan Schnoes, CEO of Educational Service Unit #3, and The Kim Foundation's Executive Director, Julia Hebenstreit. I’d like to thank them for their support and leadership in this important initiative!

We also hosted a free conference in Kearney, "Managing Mental Health in the Classroom" providing classroom interventions and strategies for 150 educators, providers and administrators.  

School mental health is an effective pathway to increase mental health and substance use services across the state. Whether behavioral health providers are embedded in the school or whether teachers are trained to be sensitive to trauma and common childhood disorders, we rely on school professionals as partners. Our keynote speaker, Dr. Sharon Hoover, co-director of the national Center for School Mental Health, applauded school leaders, advocates and providers on their vision to provide evidence-based behavioral health care to all Nebraska communities. 

You can read more about these programs in our newsletter, and as always, if you have any workforce news to share with BHECN, we'd like to hear from you! 

Howard Liu, M.D.
BHECN Director

The 2017 School Mental Health Summit gathered stakeholders from across Nebraska who have an interest in sharing best practices and learning new strategies to advance mental health processes and services in schools. More than 150 participants attended the event on June 9th, including school personnel and administrators, mental health professionals, and state and public officials.

Read more. 

Ambassador Spotlight:
Meet Kristen Hembree, PhD, Licensed Psychologist
Dr. Kristen Hembree has been interested in psychology since she was in high school. She has always had a passion for working with children, and this passion led her to eventually study school psychology in her graduate training. 

Dr. Hembree is an assistant professor in the Psychology Department at the Munroe-Meyer Institute and conducts clinical work in integrated pediatric primary care at Dundee Pediatrics. Dr. Hembree also played an integral role in the creation of the High School Alliance Behavioral Health curriculum. 

Ambassador Career Engagement Award Recipients

BHECN has launched the Ambassador Career Engagement Awards, providing funding to promote behavioral health care professions to Nebraska youth.

With seven award recipients selected, programs will be offered to high school and college students spanning the state, including communities in all behavioral health regions.

“We were so pleased with the response and appreciate everyone who took the time to apply,” said Ann Kraft, Ambassador Program coordinator. “There were so many great program ideas - it was tough to choose, but we are excited to have seven programs providing robust behavioral health career education in their communities.”

Read more about the selected programs.

Managing Mental Health in the Classroom 

On June 23, BHECN welcomed more than 150 educators, providers and administrators to the "Managing Mental Health in the Classroom" conference, held at the University of Nebraska Kearney. 

Participants learned about intervention strategies with individual students and with classrooms. Expert speakers provided research-based discussion relating to suicide prevention in schools, prevention and intervention of bullying, classroom and teacher initiated interventions and school-wide behavioral interventions. 

Presenters included UNL doctoral students Ana Damme and Zach Myers;The Kim Foundation project coordinators Janae Shillito and Jill Hamilton; UNO Associate Professor of Special Education Dr. Philip Nordness; and BHECN Clinical Director Dr. Joe Evans.  (Pictured below)

Upcoming Training Session:

Trauma 101 & Recovery – Train-the-Trainer Workshop – August 2*

  • Attendees of this workshop will be prepared to provide an "Orientation to Trauma-Informed Care" training for staff within their agency/coalition.

When: Wed., August 2, 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Region 3 Behavioral Health Services

4009 6th Ave., Suite 65

Kearney, NE, 68845

Cost: $25 (Includes training manual, flash drive and lunch)
Who should attend? Selected staff within the agency/coalition (one per provider agency/coalition) who meet the required criteria listed in the link below.

Register by July 24 - learn more at this link:

*Note: Advanced registration is required; must have previously attended a Trauma 101 training session.

NebraskaBehavioralHealthJobs.com makes it easy to post and find job openings for a variety of behavioral health careers in Nebraska. Here are some of our most recent job postings:

Mental Health Practitioner – Nebraska State Penitentiary

Staff Psychologist  – Boys Town

LMHP – Mary Lanning Healthcare

Outpatient Therapist South Central Behavioral Health Services

It's totally free to search for jobs, and free for employers to post new job openings! For more behavioral health jobs info, subscribe to  The Connection newsletter.

BHECN Updates
BHECN’s Director, Dr. Howard Liu has been awarded a scholarship to pursue an executive M.B.A. in health administration at the University of Colorado-Denver's business school. Dr. Liu is the 2017 recipient of the Canedy Award, established by orthopaedic surgeon Jim Canedy, M.D.  Read more. 
BHECN's Mission
The Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), pronounced “beacon”, was established in 2009 by a legislative bill to address the shortage of behavioral health professionals in rural and underserved areas of the state. It is a unique partnership among the state legislature, academic institutions, and community partners
to create a statewide workforce solution to increase the number of licensed behavioral health professionals.

View our video to learn more about our mission, programs and initiatives.

 402.552.7697 | bhecn@unmc.edu