Creating School and Mental Health Partnerships

What is “Systems of Care“? 

System of care refers to a spectrum of effective, community-based services and supports for children and youth with or at risk for mental health, substance use, child welfare, juvenile justice, medical, developmental, social or other challenges facing children and their families. It is organized into a coordinated network that helps build meaningful partnerships with families and youth, and addresses a child’s cultural and linguistic needs, in order to help them function better at home, in school, in the community, and throughout life.

The NYS Mental Health Advisory Council hosted a webinar for school personnel to explain the Systems of Care framework and how it applies to school districts. Angela Keller, Project Director of NYS Systems of Care Pilot from the NYS Office of Mental Health, reviewed the Systems of Care framework and what schools need to know about becoming active partners locally. Examples from NY counties were provided. Ms. Keller reviewed the highlights of the Medicaid services transformation for children, youth and young adults and their families.

The webinar recording can be found here and the slide deck can be found here.

The New York State Office of Mental Health has created two documents to help schools understand the child mental health care system and to encourage relationships with community based providers to provide mental health services in schools.


Project TEACH:  Connecting Primary Care with Child Psychiatry

Primary care physicians (PCPs) such as pediatricians and family practice doctors are often the first place families go to seek help or information about emotional or behavioral concerns with their children.  PCPs provide mental health support and can prescribe medications, but they may not have access to consultation or the training needed to make decisions for children with mental health needs.

Project TEACH provides rapid consultation, education and training, and referral/ linkage services to pediatric primary care providers (PCPs) statewide who provide care for children and adolescents with mental health disorders. Additionally, other prescribers who are providing ongoing treatment to children, such as Child and Adolescent Psychiatrists, General Psychiatrists and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners, may request a second opinion through consultation.

Parents and families are encouraged to share information about Project TEACH with their pediatrician and/or PCPs.

Contact Your Regional Representative

The MHANYS network of affiliate members is committed to fostering relationships with schools.  Our members provide an array of services, including counseling, peer support, advocacy, referrals and family engagement.  Contact information for members of our affiliate network is available HERE or contact one of our Regional Representatives to learn more.

Parents and families can find their regional representatives here.

National Association of School Psychologists

The Coalition for Community Schools and the National Association of School Psychologists outline strategies that characterize a strong school community partnership that supports the mental health and well-being of students, families and the entire school community.  Visit their guidance document here to learn more.

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