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Everything Elizabeth Avery does points back to her ultimate professional goal: that every student and teacher feels safe and supported in schools.
In spring 2018, Avery moved to Springfield to work toward this vision through developing a school mental health department at Burrell Behavioral Health. Since then, more than 100 providers were hired to provide behavioral health services – for the first time – to roughly 2,000 students in Missouri. In total, Avery’s department serves around 4,500 kids. And their efforts are paying off. Last school year, 73% of surveyed students reported decreased symptoms of anxiety and a 60% increase in functionality.
Avery also is committed to meeting the needs of her 350 employees spanning 25 counties and two states. She says she’s creating a work environment where they feel valued and safe.
What is your proudest moment? The Youth Mental Health Conference that Burrell hosted this past October. We sold out. More than 450 people came together to learn how to better meet the needs of youth in our communities.
What is your best productivity hack? I block time in my schedule to catch up on any outstanding to-do items. This gives me the ability to focus on tasks that need to be addressed in order.
What is your favorite hobby? Spending time with my amazing son and husband. I also enjoy spending time outdoors, reading and music.
Urban Studios LLC, a natural light photography studio and pop-up event space, opened; the Missouri State University Foundation became the new owner of event venue The Old Glass Place; and Polk County’s dining scene expanded with the opening of Flat Creek.