This morning, DHHS, behavioral health, the department of education and many other agencies convened in Lincoln to kickoff planning for the System of Care. The goal of the system is to provide more streamlined, organized access to mental and behavioral health services for families in need.

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That’s Jacob Rusher preparing for his speech on the power of youth voice. Jacob currently works for Lutheran Family Services as a Family finding specialist.

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Jacob Rusher speaking to 200+ behavioral health stakeholders about the power of youth voice.

Later in the day, the group broke out into specialized areas to begin planning core strategies, including culturally and linguistically appropriate systems and services, financing strategies, policy, prevention, and social media/communications.

Each group had representatives from the behavioral health care system, youth with system experience and family members of those who have accessed behavioral health services in the past.

“This is going to be hard work,” said Scot Adams, Director of DHHS Division of Behavioral Health, “but it is going to be good work.”

The directive from Adams and other planners was that we will take nearly a year to work together, plan together, and create solutions that will truly fix a fragmented system and best serve those in our state who need behavioral health services.