brings mental health consultations to public preschools
Department of Health and Human
Services gives $375,000 to local children’s mental health network
May 6, 2009
(Athens, OH) –
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Rural
Health Policy awarded $375,000 to the local rural health network,
Integrating Professionals for Appalachian Children (IPAC).
grant, “Building capacity: Raising resiliency,” focuses on two
goals: bringing childhood mental health consultations to public
preschool classrooms and implementing a workforce development
will improve early outcomes in children’s mental health and increase
the capacity of early childhood health professionals,” says
Jane Hamel-Lambert, Ph.D., IPAC president and director of
interdisciplinary mental health education at the Ohio University
College of Osteopathic Medicine (OU-COM).
The first part
of the grant, the Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation (ECMH)
Program brings together an interdisciplinary team of IPAC
participants – ECMH consultants from the Tri-County Mental Health
and Counseling Services, Inc., a pediatric neuropsychologist and the
IPAC “family care navigator” – to provide mental health
consultations for preschool-aged children in Athens County.
Care Navigator program provides a point person to help parents and
caregivers make decisions related to children’s mental health, find
treatment providers and reduce barriers to care. The current family
care navigator, Sue Meeks, R.N., is a nurse coordinator for
OU-COM’s Office of Community Health Programs.
The grant also
funds the Early Childhood Workforce
Initiative, which offers teachers and other school employees
training and consultation services related to early childhood mental
health. The program provides on-site instruction and coaching
to all 19 Athens County public preschools, including special
education programs. Other services include collaborative peer group
supervision, learning communities, journal readings and program
consultation by state and national experts.
“These and other efforts broaden the ECMH consultation and treatment
agenda, placing it within the greater public health agenda,” says
Sherry Shamblin, an ECMH consultant with Tri-County Mental Health
and Counseling Services, Inc., and a founding IPAC board member.
creating a strong community-university partnership, we have been
able to leverage funding and resources on behalf of young children
and families in our region,” Shamblin says. “IPAC serves as a model
for collaboration in our state by creating a strong
grant proposal expands the work of IPAC, a regional network of
organizations committed to improving children’s mental health. This
non-profit network includes local families; fourteen community
agencies in Athens, Hocking, Meigs and Vinton Counties; and several
Ohio University departments and clinics.
“IPAC works to provide coordinated and comprehensive care for
Appalachian Ohio children through early screenings, increased
referrals and better collaboration,” says John Borchard, B.S.N.,
R.N., director of program development for the Southern Consortium
for Children and chair of IPAC’s board of directors. “This new grant
will help us get the best and earliest care to children in our