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Healthy Minds: Mental Health & Schools

The Ball Conference Center

Healthy Minds: Mental Health & Schools

The Ball Conference Center

One in five children ages 13-18 has or will have a serious mental illness. Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death in youth ages 10-24. Can school-based mental health services help address this issue?

On May 8, 2018 in Olathe, KS, our panel of experts discussed current models for providing mental health care in schools, how these models could be changed to better serve students, the stigma of mental health services among students and educators, and possible ways forward in providing mental health services in schools.


Steven Arkin has been a staff neurologist at St. Luke’s Hospital Kansas City for 24 years. He is an associate professor in the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine and is Co-founder of the SPEAK UP Foundation, an organization that advocates for mental health wellness in schools and communities. He attended Rush Medical College of Rush University in Chicago, interned at Northwestern University, and completed his residency at the University of Iowa. He and his wife Karen have two children.

Matt Arnet, LCPC, is the Clinical Director of Outpatient Services for KVC Kansas. As Clinical Director, he oversees the day-to-day operations of the outpatient therapists, medication management providers and master’s level psychologists for the Metro and East regions in Kansas.

Matt began working for KVC as a Therapeutic Case Manager in 2007. When the Outpatient department was formed in October of 2007, Matt was one of the initial eight in-home clinicians. He worked as the Intake Coordinator for the Independence, Missouri School-based Therapy Grant in 2010, before returning to Kansas Outpatient in 2011. In 2012, Matt was promoted to Outpatient Supervisor before being promoted to Outpatient Director in 2013.

In addition to duties with Outpatient, Matt is an internal consultant for Trauma Systems Therapy (TST), completing staffings for children in Family Preservation and Out-of-Home Care.

Matt received his Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2001, and his Master’s in Counseling Psychology from Avila University in 2006.

“I love hearing my patients’ stories and becoming a part of their journey. Whether we have only a single encounter or build an ongoing therapeutic relationship, I honor the privilege to meet and know them.”

Alexander Gianikas is licensed by the state of Kansas. He earned a Master of Social Work from Loyola University in Chicago, Ill., and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida State University in Tallahassee, Fla.

Mr. Gianikas has been practicing in the mental health field since 2009. He specializes in the treatment of minority and higher risk populations, LGBTQ issues, mood disorders, substance use and eating disorders.

He serves people of all ages at our Olathe Clinic.

Paul Giffin has served as a school counselor for 10 years at Santa Fe Trail Middle School in Olathe. Previously, he was a counselor at Atchison High School for 3 years and taught in the Kansas City, KS, School District for 10 years in both traditional and alternative settings.

He received a BA in Political Science from The University of the South and an MS in School Counseling from Emporia State University. He was recognized with an “Educator Excellence Award” from the Olathe Public School Foundation and “The Army of One Award” from the Leavenworth U.S. Army Recruiting Station.

He been married to his wife Maria for 23 years and has a 20 year old son Pierce, who attends KU and studies Physics and Mathematics.