Comprehensive Children's Mental Health Services in Schools and Communities: A Public Health Problem-Solving Model

Comprehensive Children's Mental Health Services in Schools and Communities: A Public Health Problem-Solving Model

Comprehensive Children's Mental Health Services in Schools and Communities: A Public Health Problem-Solving Model

Comprehensive Children's Mental Health Services in Schools and Communities: A Public Health Problem-Solving Model

Synopsis

Despite the growing emphasis on a population-based training and service delivery model for school psychology, few resources exist to provide guidance concerning how such services might be conceptualized and put into place. In this book, the authors propose a public health model for comprehensive children's mental health services that expands, rather than replaces, the traditional model of school psychology. The background and theoretical perspective for this public health model are discussed as an important way to solve problems and accomplish goals in schools, after which the authors outline and develop a clear, practical procedure for implementing and evaluating programs based on public health ideas. A case study in one elementary school walks readers through the stages of applying a public health model, detailing the key steps of each stage. Finally, the authors consider the changes to the role of school psychologist that will be required to practice a public health problem-solving model. An accompanying CD contains sample forms, handouts, and other valuable materials that will be of use to school psychologists implementing this public health model in their schools.

Excerpt

Imagine a pediatric health care system where nobody receives treatment until their physical state is so bad that they are incapacitated. No checkups, no diagnosis or treatment of minor symptoms, no visits to the doctor’s office. Symptoms that might indicate a more serious condition are ignored, covered up with a bandage, or dismissed as growing pains or laziness or immaturity. When illnesses are finally diagnosed, they have become so severe and disruptive that patients must be removed from their normal environment and placed in hospitals for intensive care—but only after diabetes has been diagnosed or a life-threatening asthma attack has occurred. in this system, insurance companies and caregivers are not concerned about routine wellness checks to monitor growth, there are no vaccines, and families are not informed that these things could be related to problems later on. No education about healthy diet and exercise is provided, and there are no walking trails, fun runs, or nutrition programs. Instead, the only approach is to treat those individuals who demonstrate such advanced and chronic levels of disease that their lives, and those of their families, are disrupted.

In many ways, this scenario describes our present approach to addressing children’s mental health needs. Every day, children come to school unable to focus on academics because of family and peer conflict, environmental stressors, and increasing rates of mental health problems. According to a report from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (1999), about 20% of children will experience some sort of . . .

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