Nebraska School Mental Health

A Supportive Resource and Compassionate Voice for Lives Touched by Mental Illness and Suicide.

Nebraska School Mental Health

The Nebraska School Mental Health Initiative was launched to promote strong mental health services in our schools; to provide resources and training to increase access; and to promote early intervention and wrap around services for youth and families.

Members of the steering committee work together to improve our schools' social and emotional climate by providing a networking platform for community members to collaborate and create change.

The Nebraska School Mental Health Initiative was originated by the Behavioral Health Education Center of Nebraska (BHECN), which concluded their three-year focus in 2017 with the School Mental Health Summit. The initiative is being led by steering committee partners with Educational Service Unit #3 and The Kim Foundation through 2020.

2019 Nebraska School Mental Health Conference
Advancing H.O.P.E – Health, Opportunities, Partnerships & Equity

Tuesday, June 11 - 9:00am-3:45pm / 4:30pm-6:00pm
Wednesday, June 12 - 8:00am-12:00pm
**A more detailed agenda will be available soon!**

Younes Conference Center, 416 Talmadge Road
Kearney, NE 68845

Registration is $50.00 per attendee.

Register Today!

For questions, please reach out to Julia Hebenstreit at jhebenstreit@thekimfoundation.org or call (402) 891-6911.

Room blocks are available with a discounted rate at the hotels below. You will need to call the hotel and state you will be attending the Nebraska School Mental Health Conference to receive the discount.

Fairfield Inn & Suites: (308) 236-4200
LaQuinta Inn & Suites: (308) 237-4400

Breakout sessions will be offered both days with a strong focus on effective school-based mental health models, collaboration, program sustainability, self-care, and much more! Three nationally renowned speakers will serve as keynote speakers including:

Scarlett Lewis

Scarlett Lewis founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement after her son was murdered during the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. Shortly after his death, Scarlett decided to be part of the solution to the issues that we're seeing in our society—and that also caused the tragedy. She created the Movement and became an advocate for social and emotional learning (SEL) that teaches children how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy relationships...

  • Click here to read Scarlett’s full bio.

    Scarlett Lewis founded the Jesse Lewis Choose Love Movement after her son was murdered during the Sandy Hook tragedy in December 2012. Shortly after his death, Scarlett decided to be part of the solution to the issues that we're seeing in our society—and that also caused the tragedy. She created the Movement and became an advocate for social and emotional learning (SEL) that teaches children how to manage their emotions, feel connected, and have healthy relationships.

    Scarlett works to promote the Choose Love Enrichment Program, a no cost, comprehensive SEL program that empowers educators and their students to choose love for themselves and others. This program teaches children how to handle adversity, have courageous conversations, and to respond with love. The Choose Love Enrichment Program has been downloaded in all 50 states and in more than 67 countries. This program includes the best of what is statistically effective and being taught in classrooms today that can reduce and prevent mental illness, substance abuse, bullying, and more.

Scarlett Lewis

Sharon A. Hoover, Ph.D., is a leading figure in advancing school mental health (SMH) research, training, policy and practice at national, state, and local levels. Dr. Hoover is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After providing direct mental health promotion and treatment service for several years in the Baltimore City Public Schools, she was appointed as...

  • Click here to read Sharon’s full bio.

    Sharon A. Hoover, Ph.D., is a leading figure in advancing school mental health (SMH) research, training, policy and practice at national, state, and local levels. Dr. Hoover is a licensed clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. After providing direct mental health promotion and treatment service for several years in the Baltimore City Public Schools, she was appointed as Director of Research for the national Center for School Mental Health (CSMH, www.schoolmentalhealth.org) in 2002. In 2010, Dr. Hoover became the CSMH Principal Investigator and Co-Director. She currently leads CSMH efforts to establish and disseminate national performance standards for quality and sustainability of comprehensive SMH systems (www.theSHAPEsystem.com). Dr. Hoover has led and collaborated on multiple federal and state grants, with a commitment to the study and implementation of quality children’s mental health services.


    Trauma-responsive schools and trauma exposure among youth and families has been a major emphasis of Dr. Hoover’s research and clinical work. Since 2004, she has worked with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network, Treatment Services Adaptation Center for Resiliency, Hope and Wellness in Schools, to train school district and school leaders, educators and support staff in multi-tiered systems of support for psychological trauma. She has trained school and community behavioral health staff and educators in districts across the United States, as well as internationally, including consultation on building trauma-responsive, school-based mental health systems in Canada, China, Northern Ireland, South Korea, and Ukraine. As an advisor to the World Health Organization, Dr. Hoover has provided consultation and technical assistance on comprehensive school mental health in several countries, including developing and implementing a curriculum for teachers throughout the Middle East on supporting student mental health. Dr. Hoover serves as a Resource Specialist for the National Resource Center on Youth Violence Prevention and Mental Health Promotion, providing technical assistance and resource development for Safe Schools/Healthy Students grantees across the United States. In addition, she serves as a national consultant to the National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, providing support to Promoting Student Resilience grantees in urban school districts impacted by community violence.

    Dr. Hoover has also led work on collaborative and integrated mental health care in primary access points, including primary care centers and schools. Dr. Hoover developed and studied two national training efforts, one conducted in collaboration with the School-based Health Alliance and one with the National Association of School Nurses. These studies documented change in school health providers’ behavior and student mental health outcomes, and demonstrated policy implications related to task-shifting and public health approaches to children’s mental health.

    Sharon A. Hoover, Ph.D.
    Center for School Mental Health, Department of Psychiatry
    University of Maryland School of Medicine
    737 W. Lombard St., 400, Baltimore, MD 21201
    shoover@som.umaryland.edu
    (443) 801-3254
    Twitter: @drsharonhoover

Scarlett Lewis

Ferial Pearson was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the oldest of four girls and the first in her immediate family to go to college. After graduating from Peponi School in 1997, she left Africa to attend Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in 2001 in Communication Arts Literature Teaching, and where she met her husband, Daniel. She was offered the opportunity to teach in Omaha at Omaha South High School, where she taught English and Reading for ten years.

  • Click here to read Ferial’s full bio.

    Ferial Pearson was born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya. She is the oldest of four girls and the first in her immediate family to go to college. After graduating from Peponi School in 1997, she left Africa to attend Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in 2001 in Communication Arts Literature Teaching, and where she met her husband, Daniel. She was offered the opportunity to teach in Omaha at Omaha South High School, where she taught English and Reading for ten years. During her time there, she also served as the Gay Straight Alliance and Unity Club sponsor, and received national awards for her work with students and in the community. These included the National Education Association's Virginia Uribe Award for Creative Leadership in Human Rights in 2012, the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network's Educator of the Year Respect Award in 2011, and she was the Nebraska representative and finalist for the National Council of Teachers of English Academic Freedom Award in 2012. Locally, she has been awarded the 2011 Omaha Education Association's Human Relations Award, the 2012 Promising Professional Award from the University of Nebraska at Omaha, and RESPECT's 2011 Anti-Bullying Award and a TOYO (Ten Outstanding Young Omahans) Award in 2014. She also earned her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Graduate Certificate in Urban Instruction from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2009. Ferial left Omaha South High School to work as a Talent Advisor for the Avenue Scholars Foundation and taught for them at Ralston High School for two years until 2013, during which time she created the Secret Kindness Agents project, which became the subject of a book, a TEDx Talk, and was the focus of her dissertation. She currently is an Assistant Professor at the University of Nebraska at Omaha in the Teacher Education Department. In 2016, she was the recipient of the Kennedy Center’s Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher award. In 2017, she earned her Ed. D. in Educational Leadership. She lives in Ralston, Nebraska with her husband Daniel, son Ilahi, and daughter Iman.


Presented by:

The Kim Foundation ESU 3

2019 Sponsors:

Platinum Sponsor
Project Harmony

A special thank you to BHECN for making this conference possible.
Behavorial Health Education Center of Nebraska

2018 Nebraska School Mental Health Forum
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