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Behavioral Health Field Trip Reveals New Careers

By:  Tristan Johnson, Junior

Nearly 1 in 5 people in the United States suffer from a type of mental illness. To help with this increasing problem, especially around the rural areas in Nebraska, Nebraska passed LB 1083. Nebraska then set up BHECN (Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska). BHECN's purpose is to recruit, retain and increase competency of the state's behavioral health workforce. It was set up in response to Nebraska passing LB1083 which formally moved the state away from institutional care delivered at three state-run Regional Centers, toward a community-based approach focused on maintaining wellness and recovery through resources in a person’s home community.

Morgan Eggleston and Tristan Johnson attended a conference in Kearney on Friday, April 10th and Saturday, April 11th, that addressed the need of more people in the behavioral health workforce, especially in Nebraska. At the conference, there were numerous people from various fields in behavioral health. From psychologists, to psychiatrists, to substance abuse counselors. They had the opportunity of talking to many people. A very important piece of information we learned was the amount of college that was needed for each profession.

On Friday evening they heard a man speak about his own stuggle with mental illness. They saw personally how behavioral healthcare can help people out in almost whatever situation they are in. On Saturday morning Morgan and Tristan had over 8 choices of sessions we could go to that educated us on specific types of behavioral healthcare.  Some of the topics they went to included recovery, self-harm and cutting, suicide, teen depression, and body image and eating disorders. They got to talk to people that dealt with these daily.

"By going to this conference, I was able to narrow down my career choices. It gave me insight into what it would be like to work day-to-day in behavioral healthcare," said Tristan Johnson. 

Morgan Eggleston said, “I am not sure what field I want to be in yet, but this gave me an interesting perspective on behavioral health.”

We would definitely recommend the BHECN conference to any high school student who thinks they may be interested in behavioral health.