Mental health clinic gives Springfield teens more counseling options

The Mobile Mental Health Resource Clinic is helping teens and hoping to reduce the number of suicides in Lane County. The program provides more counseling options for students. (SBG photo)

SPRINGFIELD, Ore. – The Springfield community is taking action to support teen mental health. The new Mobile Mental Health Resource Clinic began in February and provides counseling services for teens.

“I think there's a lot of kids that struggle and just kind of keep it in and don't know who to talk to about it,” said Anais Rowell, a high school junior.

The Mobile Mental Health Resource Clinic project facilitator, Bren Kleinfelder, said she came up with the program idea when she worked as a teacher. She saw only one counselor advising the entire student body.

“Inadequate supports and funding to actually meet the case load, which is huge,” Kleinfelder said.

She said she partnered with CAHOOTS, a mobile crisis intervention service, to provide the free counseling.

“Combined with the wave of youth suicides there's been in Lane County over the past year - made it seem all of the more needed,” said Brenton Gicker, a nurse and mental health crisis worker.

The school-based model can help reduce absences and boost academic success.

Confidential walk-ins make the teens feel comfortable.

“Once it's accessible, teenagers will go and like actually use the help,” said Sheysha Whitworth, a high school sophomore.

The resource clinic is set up at the Academy of Arts and Academics, but counseling and medical services are available to all teens in the Springfield School District.

“Giving them an opportunity to talk to somebody who maybe isn't a family member or isn't a teacher,” Gicker said.

Kleinfelder said they will assess the program for the next two months, then decide their next move.

She intends for the Mobile Mental Health Resource Clinic to spread to other school districts.

For others looking for mental health support, CAHOOTS is available 24 hours a day in Eugene and 16 hours a day in Springfield.

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