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Child services advocate Shelby Whitmer discusses school to prison pipeline

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Shelby Witmer, a seasoned family and child services worker with over 25 years of experience in education, recently addressed the critical issue of how poor mental health contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline. Witmer emphasized the need for new systems to support vulnerable and misunderstood children. With a strong focus on mental health advocacy and creating trauma-informed communities, she highlighted the work of Mental Health America of Lancaster County (MHALC). At MHALC, the commitment to helping individuals achieve mental well-being is paramount. The organization advocates for a holistic approach to health, emphasizing the importance of nurturing the mind, body, and spirit. While many people focus on physical health through diet and exercise and spiritual health through personal beliefs, mental health often remains neglected. Witmer pointed out that neglecting mental health undermines the ability to achieve one’s full potential.

MHALC’s mission is to promote optimal mental health through advocacy, education, and support. Witmer's visit underscored the organization's dedication to fostering a community where mental wellness is foundational. She called for greater awareness and systemic changes to better support children at risk of entering the school-to-prison pipeline, stressing that mental health care is essential for a healthy, thriving society. Through their work, MHALC aims to create a society that values and actively supports mental well-being, recognizing its critical role in overall health.

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