Mobilizing Research to Inform a School Mental Health Initiative

Baltimore's School Mental Health Outcomes Group
  • Eric J. Bruns
  • Christine Walrath
  • Marcia Glass-Siegel
  • Mark D. Weist
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)

The Need for a Local Research Consortium on School Mental Health

Baltimore is in the fortunate position of having a national center on school mental health programs, several major universites, and a history of cooperation between the city health department, mental health core service agency, and the public school system. Along with the other 23 jurisdictions in the state, Baltimore also has a local management board (LMB), whose mission is to facilitate coordination between public and nonprofit entities toward improving the health and well-being of children and families (see Cole & Poe, 1993). One of the innovative mechanisms that has emerged from the City’s increasingly coherent collaborative on behalf of young people is a network of expanded school mental health (ESMH) programs. Baltimore’s ESMH network is spearheaded by 12 different mental health provider agencies, which have agreements to provide comprehensive mental health services in 86 of the city’s 183 public schools. In this partnership model, mental health clinicians, each employed by one of the mental health provider agencies, work on-site in the schools, most on a full-time basis. As full partners in the school, the mental health clinicians provide a continuum of mental health services including prevention, mental health assessment, early intervention, and a range of treatment services, including individual, family, and group therapy (see Flaherty & Weist, 1999; Weist, 1997). These services are available to any student in need and primarily serve students in regular education, providing a resource for early identification and intervention before more serious problems develop. Through these interventions, as well as teacher consultation and support, ESMH services provide a method for addressing students’ emotional and behavioural concerns without intervention via the special education system. Clinicians also serve on a variety of school teams and committees intended to increase coordination of services and resources available to students in a particular school (Paavola, Carey, & Cobb, 1996)


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Armbruster, P.,& Lichtman, J. (1999). Are school-based mental health services effective? Evidence from 36 inner city schools. Community Mental Health Journal, 35(6), 493–504.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bruns, E. J., Walrath, C, Siegel, G. M., & Weist, M. D. (in press). School-based mental health services in Baltimore: Association with school climate and special education referrals. Behavior Modification.Google Scholar
  3. Cole, R., & Poe, S. (1993). Partnerships for care: Systems of care for children with serious emotionald isturbances and their families. Interim report of the mental health services program for youth. Washington. DC: Washington Business Group on Health.Google Scholar
  4. Flaherty, L. T., Garrison, E., Waxman, R., Uris, P., Keyes, S., Siegel, M. G., & Weist, M. D. (1998). Optimizing the roles of school mental health professionals.Journal of School Health, 68{10),420–424.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Flaherty, L. T., & Weist, M. D. (1999), School-based mental health services: The Baltimore models, Psychology in the Schools, 36{5), 379–389.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Jennings, J., Pearson, G. & Harris, M. (2000). Implementing and maintaining school-based mental health services in a large urban school district Journal of School Health, 70(5), 201–296PubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Kutash, K., & Rivera, V. R. (1996). What works in children's mental health services? Uncovering answers to critical questionsBaltimore, MD: Paul H. Brookes.Google Scholar
  8. Nabors, L., Weist, M. D., & Reynolds, M. W. (2000). Overcoming challenges in outcome evaluations of school mental health programs. Journal of School Health, 70(5), 206–209.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Paavola, J. C, Carey, K., &Cobb, C. (1996). Interdisciplinary school practice: Implications of the service integration movement for psychologists. Professional Psychology: Research and Practice, 27,34–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Sutton, J. M., &Fall, M. (1995). The relationship of school climate factors to counselor self-efficacy.Journal of Counseling and Development, 73(3), 331–336.Google Scholar
  11. Walrath, C, Bruns, E. J., Anderson, K., Glass-Siegel, M.t &Weist, M. (in press). The nature of expanded school mental health services in Baltimore. Behavior Modification.Google Scholar
  12. Waxman, R. P., Weist, M. D., & Benson, D. M. (1999). Toward collaboration in the growing education-mental health interface. Clinical Psychology Review, 19, 239–253. Weist, M. D. (1997). Expanded school mental health services: A national movement in progress. In T. H. Ollendick & R. J. Prinz (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology(Vol. 19, pp. 319–352). New York: Wiley.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Weist, M. D. (1997). Expanded school mental health services: A national movement in progress. In T. H. Ollendick & R. J. Prinz (Eds.), Advances in clinical child psychology(Vol. 19, pp. 319–352). New York: Wiley.Google Scholar
  14. Weist, M. D., Nabors, L. A., Myers, C. P.,& Armbruster, P. (2000). Evaluation of expanded school mental health programs. Community Mental Health Journal, 36, 395–412.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Bruns
    • Christine Walrath
      • 1
    • Marcia Glass-Siegel
      • 2
    • Mark D. Weist
      1. 1.Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public HealthBaltimore
      2. 2.Baltimore Mental Health Systems, and Baltimore Public School SystemBaltimore

      Personalised recommendations