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The Mental Health Initiative: Elementary School Based Prevention and Early Intervention. A collaborative effort between: The Care Foundation Bentonville Public Schools Springdale Public Schools Ozark Guidance. Children learn best when physical, emotional and social needs are met.

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the mental health initiative elementary school based prevention and early intervention

The Mental Health Initiative:Elementary School Based Prevention and Early Intervention

A collaborative effort between:

The Care Foundation

Bentonville Public Schools

Springdale Public Schools

Ozark Guidance

Children learn best when physical, emotional and social needs are met.

Patterns of school failure often begin in the first three years of school.

primary project
Primary Project

Primary Project is a school-based early detection and prevention program. It provides children with positive one-on-one attention at school in a play room with a trained child associate for 30 minutes once a week for a period of 10-12 weeks. Play is how children learn about the world, solve problems, and communicate feelings.

mental health initiative
Mental Health Initiative
  • Primary Project
  • Case Manager
  • U of A Internship
  • Mentor Program
  • Mental Health Services
primary project1
Primary Project
  • Questionnaires are given to all K-3 teachers to fill out. After the questionnaires are scored an assignment conference is held with the classroom teacher, Wellness Team members, principal, and school counselor. Children are chosen for the project based on their questionnaires and the input from the assignment conference.
  • Children chosen for Primary Project are not at high risk or who have significant issues.
reasons children are selected include
Reasons children are selected include:
  • Increase self-esteem
  • Make friends easier
  • Learn to take turns
  • Develop social skills
  • Increase attention
  • Gain confidence
  • Participate more in class
primary project certification
Primary Project Certification
  • The Primary Project at both sites obtained national certification from Children’s Institute in April 2007
  • This certification process included interviews with parents, staff, teachers, and administrators, as well as an inspection of playroom facilities
community resource and referral
Community Resource and Referral

Community resource and referral services are designed to provide targeted individualized assistance to students and families. Provision of these services are designed to assist families in accessing basic economic and health care needs, to provide linkages with community agencies, and to facilitate/coordinate services with community organizations.

services may include assistance with



School supplies



ARKIDS 1st applications

Camp War Eagle

Credit counseling

Support groups


Legal Aid



Holiday assistance

Mental health referrals

Services may include assistance with:
  • The parent component is designed to facilitate home/school involvement, enhance the home/school connection, increase communication with the school, and assist and support educational achievement.
  • Parenting classes are offered at no cost each semester. They are offered during the day and evening.
  • Classes are also offered in Spanish.
parenting topics include
Parenting topics include:
  • Helping children cooperate
  • Discipline that makes sense
  • Encouraging your child and yourself
  • Behavior charts
  • Praise vs. encouragement
  • Cooperative divorce
mental health education
Mental Health Education

In-service programs are provided to teachers and staff. These programs are designed to increase staff’s awareness of the symptoms and treatment of mental health disorders. It serves to normalize mental health and well being.

mental health education topics include
Mental Health Education topics include:
  • ADHD vs. Anxiety
  • Praise vs. Encouragement
  • Positive Behavior Plans
  • Child Abuse and Detection
  • Parent/School Connection
  • Asperger’s Syndrome

This program is designed to serve economically disadvantaged or psychosocially at risk children in 3rd, 4th and 5th grade. Connections is considered the “sister program” to Primary Project. The Mentor/Volunteer Coordinator matches children with appropriate mentors as well as recruits mentors from the community.

The coordinator for Connections also assists teachers and parents with the Big Brother/Big Sister program and the HIP program.

school based mental health internship
School Based Mental Health Internship

Ozark Guidance sponsors four 2nd year MSW interns from the University of AR. The internship program is designed to provide specialized training in the area of school-based mental health. Each intern can provide counseling services for individual students and families. They also facilitate therapeutic groups.

group topics include
Group topics include:
  • Social skills
  • Anger management
  • Divorce
  • Grief and loss
  • Problem solving
  • Self esteem
school based therapist
School Based Therapist
  • The School-Based Counseling Services provided by Ozark Guidance in the area's schools help students in kindergarten through high school who are faced with emotional and/or behavioral problems that are keeping them from doing well in school. Through individual, group and family therapy, support services, and case management, the School-Based Counselors help children and families reduce the barriers to learning and improve the emotional and behavioral development of the child. By placing counselors in the schools, Ozark Guidance is able to serve children in a familiar place and with less interruption to their school day. This also helps reduce the costs and travel time by family members.
teacher child rating scale t crs
Teacher/Child Rating Scale (T-CRS)

The T-CRS consists of 32 items assessing different aspects of a child’s socio-emotional adjustment. Items are grouped into the following four empirically derived scales:

  • Task orientation
  • Behavior control
  • Assertiveness
  • Peer social
definition of at risk
Definition of “At Risk”
  • The T-CRS operates on a scale of 1-99
  • Children who score in the (16-30) range in any of the four categories are considered to have “mild to moderate adjustment issues”
  • Students who score 15 and below at least one category may be eligible for groups or individual counseling
key areas we hope to impact
Key Areas We Hope to Impact
  • T-CRS pre and post test scores
  • Absences
  • Discipline
  • Grades
  • ITBS
  • Teacher Satisfaction

Outcomes are computed as an independent research project through National Office for Rural Measurement and Evaluation Systems (NORMES). All results specific to Primary Project are completed by Children’s Institute.

Approximately 5000 children were screened in 8 schools
  • 40% of all children were identified as having mild to moderate adjustment issues, that will interfere negatively with their daily functioning
  • 28% of all children were identified as needing formalized mental health services
mhi project results
MHI Project Results
  • At risk students showed significant improvement on post test scores
    • Social and emotional functioning improved from pre to post test scores
  • Grade point averages increased
  • Disciplinary actions decreased
  • Teacher satisfaction improved
  • ITBS scores showed improvement
  • Absenteeism was reduced
primary project results
Primary Project Results

The results from Children’s Institute program evaluation from the 04/05 (spring only), 05/06 and 06/07 school years showed clinically significant positive outcomes in T-CRS post scores in task orientation, behavior control, assertiveness, and peer social skills.

According to the NORMES,

“Overall, it appears that the majority of the goals of the Mental Health Initiatives School Based Mental Health Program (identify at-risk children, reduce ineffective functioning of at-risk children, provide social service interventions, and support mental health education) have been effective.”

utility of system of care
Utility of System of Care
  • Research based
  • Collaborative in nature
  • Low cost
  • Outcomes
  • Best practice
  • Portability
  • Use of licensed professionals and paraprofessionals

Through continued collaborations between community and mental health agencies, together we can ensure that children’s educational, physical, and social/emotional needs are nurtured.