Director, School-Based Services and
Child & Adolescent Services | Centerstone
Everyone deserves a ‘do-over.’
For Beth Hail, it was a change of heart regarding her profession. For the young clients and families with whom she works, it’s a second chance to find the support and balance they desperately need.
Enrolling at Western Kentucky University with an intention of focusing on technology, Hail soon realized something was missing. “After one year in computer science, I knew I couldn’t do it,” she recalled. “I know people who work in jobs they’re not passionate about, and it’s miserable.”
But what was her passion? That summer after her freshman year, she had a bit of an epiphany. “I realized my heart belonged to the social work field,” she said. Looking back, Hail said her path was clear all along … she just didn’t immediately recognize it at age 18.
Part of a boisterous, happy household of four girls in Hopkinsville, Ky., Hail loved to accompany her mother to the retirement home she managed. Working there weekends and summers, Hail was fascinated by the relationships and family dynamics. Both her parents, she noted, played a major role in her ultimate choice of profession.
Watching her mother’s compassion and interaction with the residents and families at the retirement home left a big impression on Hail. “Many of my professional ethics are modeled after her,” she said.
Hail continued, “My father also had much to do with my work ethic. He raised four daughters and always encouraged … and insisted … that we be independent, hard workers.” Hail added she watched the veterinarian accept garden vegetables as payment when farmers couldn’t afford the bill. “I loved this about him … he was the social worker for the animals and their owners,” she said with a smile.
Unfortunately, she noted, families are too often faced with similar dilemmas. Do they take their children to the therapist this week or put food on the table? “It is frustrating when a child or family needs a service that they can’t access due to lack of funding or inability to pay,” she said.
Happily, Centerstone’s school-based services take some of the oft-cited barriers to care … like transportation issues … out of the equation. Not long after completing her master’s degree, Hail began working as coordinator at the Murrell School at the Dede Wallace Center, now Centerstone. “That’s when I fell in love with the partnership between education and behavioral health,” she recalled.
Within a couple of years, Hail became program manager for school-based services. At that time, she had oversight of five schools and 10 staff members. Today, the programs cover 15 counties with more than 140 school-based therapists working with students and their families.
When she and her colleagues encounter adolescents, they are often experiencing some of the biggest challenges of their young lives. Helping them discover strengths and talents to navigate tough situations is a thrill, Hail noted. A problem-solver by nature, she also enjoys exploring solutions and choices. “My ultimate goal and desire is for families to have the tools and coping strategies to lead healthy, productive lives,” she said. Hail, added she is excited about the promise technology holds in the behavioral health field, particularly as a tool for a younger population that embraces the digital world.
Whether online or in the next room, everyone needs strong support systems. Hail counts colleagues who share her passion, friends, family … and Luna, her Giant Schnauzer, among her supports. Although she has no biological children, Hail has helped co-parent her nephew Dylan since her sister died when he was just six years old. Today, she proudly noted, he is a freshman at the University of Tennessee.
Hail wants for her clients the same things she wants for herself, Dylan, and her friends. “I want people to enjoy life, have healthy relationships, and be positive community members,” she stated simply.
After all, everyone deserves a do-over when it comes to finding happiness.