System, Agency, and Stakeholder Collaboration to Advance Mental Health Programs in Schools

  • Nancy A. Lever
  • Steve Adelsheim
  • Christine A. Prodente
  • Kristin V. Christodulu
  • Melissa G. Ambrose
  • John Schlitt
  • Mark D. Weist
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)

The U.S. Surgeon General's report on mental health underscores that prevention and treatment are both needed to help reduce social, emotional, and behavioral problems in children and adolescents (U.S. DePartment of Health and Human Services, 1999). The report also emphasizes that schools are a‘major‘ setting for identifying mental health concerns in youth. Schools are one of the most universal, natural settings and provide unparalleled access to youth (Weist, 1997). In fact, it is estimated that one-fourth of the U.S. population can be found in schools {Jamieson, Curry, & Martinez, 2001)

Considering the extensive mental health needs of today's youth, it is not surprising that any single agency or organization would have difficulty meeting the rising demand for services. There is growing acceptance that collaboration among school and community health, primary care, mental health, and education is crucial for effectively delivering services to youth and their families (Dryfoos, 1994- Flaherty et al., 1998). As reflected in other chapters in this book, expanded school mental health (esmh) programs are built around these school—community Partnerships (Weist, 1997). By blending the Partners' skills and resources, students and families are afforded a richer array of mental health services (Acosta, Tashman, Prodente, & Proescher, 2002). However, collaboration among people of different backgrounds and disciplines and between agencies and programs from throughout the community and state is by no means easy. In this chapter we provide background to and ideas and examples of effective school—community—state collaboration to advance mental health in schools

Throughout the chapter, we use the term stakeholder to refer to individuals, agencies, and groups who have some stake or investment in the development, implementation, and evaluation of a given endeavor. For expanded school mental health, key stakeholders include the following groups: youth, parents or guardians, teachers, administrators, school and community mental health and health staff, local and state government officials, staff from other child-serving agencies, community leaders, faith leaders, businesses, civic organizations, funders, and advocates (Kretzmann & McKnight,1993;Nabors et al., 1998; Waxman,Weist, & Benson, 1999)

There is some literature emphasizing the need to work with diverse stakeholders and multiple community and state organizations to develop or improve child and adolescent mental health programs (U.S. DePartment of Health and Human Services, 1999; Nabors, Weist, Holden, et al., 1999; Weist, 1997). However, examples of and explicit guidance for this work are lacking. Within this chapter, the definition of, barriers to, and components of successful collaboration at multiple levels will be explored. Specific use of these collaborative strategies in developing and improving expanded school mental health programs will then be addressed. The chapter concludes with two examples—one focusing on state-level collaboration to advance school mental health in New Mexico and a second focusing on the experiences of a program in Baltimore in its efforts to connect with diverse stakeholders to enhance resources and to improve quality


Mental Health Adolescent Mental Health Mental Health Program Mental Health Concern School Mental Health 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy A. Lever
    • Steve Adelsheim
      • 1
    • Christine A. Prodente
      • 2
    • Kristin V. Christodulu
      • 3
    • Melissa G. Ambrose
      • John Schlitt
        • 4
      • Mark D. Weist
        1. 1.New Mexico DePartment of HealthSanta Fe
        2. 2.Partial Hospitalization ProgramMedical College of Ohio, Kobacker CenterToledo
        3. 3.State University of New YorkAlbany, Albany
        4. 4.National Assembly on School-Based Health CareWashington20001

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