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Interdisciplinary Approach to Meeting the Behavioral Health Needs in Rural and Underserved School Districts of GA - Dr. Lateshia Woodley Kennesaw State University


Behavioral health disorders and challenges manifest early in childhood and affect

children across diverse sociodemographic profiles. Over seven million children in the United

States are affected. Moreover, stigma, absence of qualified professionals, and other barriers to access care (e.g., due to transportation, distance, absence of childcare for parents) have created insurmountable obstacles for children, youth and their families to address behavioral health challenges. Sadly, nearly 60% of the 3.8 million adolescents ages 12–17 who reported a major depressive episode in 2020 did not receive any treatment. Capp et al. (2021) found that nearly 62% of families in the United States faced food insecurity and nearly half of all families needed some type of behavioral health services during the pandemic. Additionally, teachers and service providers in school systems are often not utilizing trauma responsive curriculum and strategies due to lack of appropriate trainiallenges are exponentially exasperated in rural and underserved school districts.

This article describes the initial implementation of an interdisciplinary School Based

Behavioral Health Professional Pipeline project (involving social work and pre-service teacher.

GA SSW Association Journal Final (1)
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students) that is attempting to address the behavioral challenges.


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