The County Schools Mental Health Coalition: A Model for Community-Level Impact

Abstract

This paper describes a school-based mental health model for identifying, intervening, and referring students who are at risk for, or are exhibiting, mental health problems. This paper describes the County Schools Mental Health Coalition as a model for improving mental health outcomes for youth. The County Schools Mental Health Coalition, referred to here as the Coalition, is a multidisciplinary collaborative among six independent school districts and private schools residing in one county, and school psychology and social work faculty researchers from the local university. The Coalition was formed to overcome several barriers to children and youth receiving mental health supports. The barriers include lack of systems to adequately identify students early before mental health issues become severe, and lack of provision or access to evidence-based practices and interventions (EBPs) to ameliorate concerns or promote positive youth development. The manuscript describes how the Coalition has sought to overcome the barriers to support youth in county schools grades K to 12 through the creation of a tiered comprehensive system of early identification, prevention, and implementation of EBPs. The process and procedures utilized within this comprehensive data-based model are detailed, including how universal screening data are used at the county, school district, school, grade level, and individual student levels. In addition, case examples of universal, selective, and indicated interventions within this model are provided. Implications for research, practice, and policy will be discussed.

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Funding

This project was funded by the Boone County Children’s Services Fund.

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Correspondence to Wendy M. Reinke.

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The authors do not have any conflict of interests to disclose.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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The manuscript describes a program evaluation that used measures that were collected as part of routine clinical practice. Thus, informed consent for the evaluation aspects of this project were not needed as these were archival data collected as part of standard care.

Additional information

The research reported here was supported by the Boone County Children Services funds. The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not represent views of the County.

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Reinke, W.M., Thompson, A., Herman, K.C. et al. The County Schools Mental Health Coalition: A Model for Community-Level Impact. School Mental Health 10, 173–180 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12310-017-9227-2

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Keywords

  • School mental health
  • Universal screening
  • Evidence-based practice
  • Prevention