In partnership with the Jewish Heritage Fund for Excellence, Kentucky Youth Advocates hosted a virtual behavioral health summit on May 11th. The Closing the Gaps in Behavioral Health Care for Kids summit brought together over one hundred youth, parents, and professionals from various sectors including educators, mental health professionals, legislators, juvenile justice system staff, child advocates, child welfare system representatives, Kentucky’s philanthropic community, and more.

The event featured a data presentation on the recent research conducted by KYA and supplemental data from Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) providing context to the level of need for an improved behavioral health care system for youth in Louisville.  

Participants heard from a panel of experts including DeShara Doub, a mental health practitioner in Louisville, Lisa Orr, a Unit Manager with Seven Counties Services, and Maria Gurren, a Public Protection Coordinator with the Public Corrections Commission. The panel discussed a complex case study (included in the PowerPoint slides) that represented common concerns of marginalized communities in Louisville.  

Summit participants heard about common barriers that youth in Louisville face when trying to access needed behavioral health services. Participants then engaged in small group discussions to outline existing work that is being done to help reduce barriers and brainstormed tangible solutions to help improve the overall behavioral health care system for Louisville adolescent youth. Participants also talked about action items and commitments they could take away from the event to begin working toward the identified solutions.  

Beatrice Roussell, Louisville native and a college freshman at Colorado College, closed out the event with a call to action for participants and advocates to come together and begin working toward solutions to help improve behavioral health care for youth in Louisville.  

Following the event, a group of participants joined a virtual coffee hour on May 12th to reflect on what they heard during the summit and further discuss solutions and opportunities to connect with others.  

You can view the PowerPoint slides from the event, the participant networking list, and learn more about the research presented on the infographic and full report published by KYA.