GRANDVIEW, Mo.-- Access to mental health services is a need in many communities nationwide.
According to JacksonGov.org , 30,000 Jackson County residents are impacted by mental health challenges.
Children experience trauma every single day. It is a problem the Grandview C-4 School District is facing head on.
"We know that we have a significant issue that we're not meeting their needs," said Dr. Kenny Rodrequez, Superintendent of Grandview C-4 School District.
Starting this week, the district is offering free mental health screening for elementary students. During the 2016-2017 school year, the district received 45 hotline calls, 11 were referred for suicide assessment.
"Our goal on this initiative was to start where we believe a lot of concerns begin," said Rodrequez.
Any 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade student can be seen with their parents permission.
The district partnered with Cornerstones of Care . The organization will come into the schools and use what they call, a universal screening tool."
"That tool is just a series of questions, it helps us kind of identify any challenges that a youth might be having or anything that they're struggling with or they're just concerned about," said Denise Cross, Cornerstones of Care CEO.
Cross believes the sooner they can identify any problems that students may be facing, the faster kids can get back to just being kids.
"It's about kind of identifying those issues that may be causing a child to struggle or be upset and then how do we help them resolve or work through that," said Cross.
Throughout this week, 130 students will be screened. Rodrequez said that is about 10 percent of 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the school district.
"Our hope is that we we will get more and more parents to know, hey it's okay, it's not a judgment, it's not about any of that, it's really just about providing supports to your kids," said Rodrequez.
The school district plans to continue with mental health screening for students during the next school year.