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School-Mental Health System Integration & Lessons Learned Nancy Lever, PhD Center for School Mental Health Analysis and Action, Baltimore Maryland Susan Tager, BS Maryland Coalition of Families for Children’s Mental Health, Columbia, Maryland Karen Weston, PhD & James R. Koller, PhD Center for the Advancement of Mental Health Practices in Schools University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri Edwin Morris, PhD & Andrea Hoffelt, BS University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri Carl Paternite, PhD Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio Dawn Anderson-Butcher, PhD & Aidyn Iachini, MA College of Social Work, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
Overview of Presentation • History • Overview of Each Project • Panel Discussion • Successes, Challenges, Lessons Learned • Question/Answer
History Call for proposals April 2005 from the U.S. Department of Education “Grants for the Integration of Schools and Mental Health Systems will provide funds to increase student access to high-quality mental health care by developing innovative approaches that link school systems with the local mental health system.”
Required Project Components • Enhancing collaboration between schools and mental health systems to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment for students • Enhancing crisis intervention, appropriate referrals and ongoing mental health services • Training for school personnel and mental health providers • Technical assistance and consultation to the school system, mental health agencies and families • Providing linguistically appropriate and culturally competent services • Evaluating the effectiveness of increasing student access to quality mental health services
Three State Collaboration • Maryland, Missouri, and Ohio connected through National Centers (Center for School Mental Health Analysis and Action, The Center for the Advancement of Mental Health Practices in Schools, the Center for School-Based Mental Health Programs), The IDEA Partnership Seed Grants to advance a shared agenda, and various other initiatives • Wrote support letters for one another, discussed ideas for grant proposals, and agreed to collaborate with one another if funded
All Three Projects Are Funded! • Twenty projects were funded, September 2005-March 2007 • Collaboration across the states continues through conference calls, meetings, and sharing of resources
Overviews from Each State • Maryland • Maryland School Mental Health Alliance • Missouri • Moberly Community Coalition for Children and Families • Ohio • Ohio School Mental Health Integration Grant
Successes • Development of Trainings and Resources • Formation of Alliances and a Structure to Connect the Work • Community Partners Rallied Around the Schools and Districts to Support Behavioral/Mental Health • Families are Engaged As Advocates • Less Fragmentation and More Unification for Community Agencies and Schools • Both Academic and Non-Academic Outcomes are Being Incorporated into Schools
Challenges • Sustainability • Geographic Dispersion • Limited Professional Development Time Available • Buy-in (school systems and individual schools) • Coordination with Existing Groups • Incorporating the Work into the School Environment/Culture (not an add-on) • Different visions and accountabilities for local, state, and national initiatives
Lesson Learned • School implementation and district implementation are very different processes each with a different focus • Buy-in at all levels of the system and in-person introduction and ongoing connections is critical • Sustainability is a challenging and ongoing process that begins at the start of the project • The efforts of a relatively small scale project can be a catalyst for larger scale efforts
Lessons Learned (Continued) • The “goodness of fit” between liaisons and their pilot sites is critical to implementation of the work • Family connectedness to schools is an important component that takes time and expertise from family advocates and advocacy groups • Alignment with existing organizations, fostering relationships, avoiding duplication of efforts, and filling in gaps in services is essential