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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)

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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

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