Tri-County Mental Health Services offering behavioral health services for the Kansas City Northland community. Prevention, assessment and treatment services for individuals and families throughout Clay, Platte and Ray counties of Missouri.


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Several members of Lawson Cardinals (Community) In Action attended the Northland Youth Leadership Summit recently hosted by Tri-County Mental Health Services at the Pleasant Valley Baptist Church in Liberty. The day included a keynote presentation, workshops and strategic planning time to help the students develop prevention programs specific to their schools. The group included (from left, back row) Sadie Hendrickson, Ellie Smith, Andrew Stephens, Annalisa Harris, Adones Eskew, Grady Blair, Keaton Porth, Chase Chadwick, Ethan Bowers, (front row) Ashlyn Staton, Corrine Benedict, Sydni Swafford, Corinne Siebert, Devynne Miller, Dawson Morris, Lucas Pollard, Carissa Dunn and Megan Stewart.

Lawson Community In Action Featured at Northland Coalition Meeting

Lawson CIA was the feature of the “sparkling moment” at the Sept. 20 meeting of the Northland Coalition.

The goal of CIA is to create healthy and safe environments in which youth in their community can thrive.

Community prevention specialist Kara White of Tri-County Mental Health Services, which offers administrative support to the group, made the presentation, highlighting the coalition’s past successes as well as future plans.

Two of the past programs presented were the Trading Card Mentoring Program and the Natural Highs campaign.

In the Trading Card Mentoring Program, senior students who were involved in school activities signed pledges to remain substance free. Trading cards featuring each student with a list of their school activities and why they chose to live a healthy lifestyle were distributed to fifth grade students when mentoring students visited their Character Crew assemblies.

The main purpose of the program is to change youth perceptions that “all” high school kids drink and smoke, and that you have to do so to be considered “cool” and accepted. 

Pre-post evaluations of the program have consistently shown positive results in impacting perception.  During the 2016-2017 school year, prior to monthly visits with the trading card seniors, only 16 percent of the fifth grade students could name eight high school students they knew who didn’t use alcohol. After the program, 88 percent could name at least that many.

Additionally, prior to the program, 32 percent of the grade school students reported thinking most high school students smoked. At the program’s conclusion, that number dropped to 12 percent.

Also, before the mentoring program, 48 percent of the fifth grade students could name a student they viewed as a role model, but, after the program, that number rose to 90 percent.

The other featured program focused on healthy ways to handle stress.  The campaign began with a survey of students to discover the most common stress factors they faced.

Following the survey, the results were communicated to let the students know how many of their peers also felt the stress of a particular factor such as concern about grades, parents’ expectations or future plans.

Next, posters, table tents and daily announcements educated the students about how stress can affect health.

During the campaign, several area schools pooled their resources to bring in psychologist and comedian Matt Bellace, Ph.D.  to make a presentation on “Natural Highs”.

Student members of CIA then presented a week of “Natural Highs” to show healthy coping skills, with each day of the week focused on an aspect of stress and positive ways to address it. Students were asked to present images of themselves engaged in achieving a “natural high” through a physical or creative activity.

The campaign concluded with students using a shredder to shred their stress concerns and receiving a piece of chocolate as reward.

Anyone who lives or works in Lawson and would like to join CIA in their prevention efforts is encouraged to contact Kara White at 816-877-0401 or karaw@tri-countymhs.org for more information.

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