Chicago Public Schools and Lurie Children’s Hospital expand partnership to support youth mental health – The Southland Journal

Chicago Public Schools and Lurie Children’s Hospital Expand Partnership to Support Youth Mental Health (Chicago, IL) – Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Center for Childhood Resilience (CCR) at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Chicago are developing a comprehensive, collaborative system to better identify and respond to children K-12 students who need mental health support. The expansion from 200 CPS pilot schools to all schools in the district is intended to strengthen the district’s response to a growing national youth mental health crisis, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We are extremely fortunate to expand this proven mental health model with a world-class children’s hospital,” said CPS CEO Pedro Martinez. “We know that this collaborative work with Lurie Children’s Hospital will help our students heal so they can get back on the path to learning and thriving.

The School-Based Behavioral Health Team (BHT) model, developed at Lurie Children’s and led by CCR Executive Director Colleen Cicchetti with CPS colleagues, aims to maximize resources and collaboration, provide early identification of students with behavioral health needs and connecting students to evidence-based interventions. Already tested in more than 200 CPS schools, the district will begin expanding these teams to all 515 schools in its network next August with the goal of reaching all schools by the 2023-24 school year.

The expansion of effective trauma-focused behavioral health teams is a key initiative of the district’s healing-focused framework, the implementation of which is formalized as part of the comprehensive Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Policy recently. adopted by the district. CPS will use a variety of funds, including federal COVID-19 relief funds to support the SY 2023 expansion, but a final budget for the full expansion is still being developed.

The feasibility and implementation of the BHT model was recently highlighted in the journal Psychology in the Schools by senior author Tali Raviv, PhD, psychologist and Associate Director of CCR and Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

“We know that up to 50% of adolescents will experience a mental health problem, but only around 20% of these young people receive care from a specialist mental health provider – and those who do cannot receive that care. only after their symptoms have reached a crisis point,” said Dr. Raviv. “We are excited to continue working with CPS to establish the Behavioral Health Team model in many more schools, so that every child who needs help can be identified as early as possible and connected to the appropriate supports.”

These teams are intended to support identification and appropriate referral for a range of common mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, trauma-related symptoms, disruptive behaviors, coping difficulties, peers, attention problems and substance use. The resources available at school and in the community and the severity of a student’s symptoms determine whether services are provided at school, in the community, or a combination of both. BHTs monitor student progress and make any necessary adjustments.

Since 2009, Dr. Raviv and his colleagues at CCR have been training school staff on the implementation of BHTs and providing ongoing consultation to build sustainable mental health capacity within schools.

At the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Academy for Social Justice, Principal Jasmine Thurmond has seen her students’ behavior and well-being improve since implementing the behavioral health team model over the past few years. last two years. The model creates the time and space for team members to collectively address the individual behavioral and mental health needs of students at her school, Thurmond said.

“The BHT model has had an indelible impact on the climate and culture of our school because we have been able to support our most vulnerable students and their families,” Principal Thurmond said. “Students feel included, welcome, they feel they can succeed even if they haven’t succeeded in the past. They feel loved, they feel compassion, they feel a sense of belonging.

Partnership with CCR at Lurie Children’s Hospital will help inform, co-construct, assess, facilitate professional learning and mentoring of BHT members on specific trauma-informed interventions and trauma-centered practices healing to ensure successful wellness outcomes for students.

BHTs meet regularly and include school mental health professionals alongside other school and community personnel such as administrators, teachers, nurses and community partners. They work most effectively when the whole school community works to improve the implementation in an atmosphere of trust and integration of the development of social-emotional skills.

“Collaboration between school, family and community systems is key to the success of the BHT model,” Dr. Raviv said. “Our continued partnership with CPS will ensure that more students have equitable access to mental health care, especially now when the need is so urgent.”

Additionally, the long-term collaboration that has piloted and refined this model is an example of how school-community partnerships can address unmet needs and advance strategies that can be replicated and scaled to helping students thrive and succeed in Chicago and beyond.

Chicago Public Schools and Lurie Children’s Hospital Expand Partnership to Support Youth Mental Health

Comments are closed.