1. MCH Workforce Development
  2. Highlights

Highlighting Mental Health

The Division of MCH Workforce Development (DMCHWD) supports programs that address the mental health of children and adolescents. DMCHWD is pleased to share highlights from our awardees.

Centers of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CoE) Highlights

Mental Health and Well-Being Socio-Ecological Model

Center for Leadership Education in Maternal and Child Public Health, University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (UMN)

There are many ways to understand mental health. It's not just about illness—we all have a state of mental health all of the time. A public health approach to mental health helps improve the mental health of all children and families, not just those with diagnoses. The "socio-ecological model" (the Ecology of Human Development) was developed by Urie Bronfenbrenner in the late 1970s, as a way to recognize that individuals affect and are affected by a complex range of social influences and nested environmental interactions.

Similarly, the Mental Health and Well-being Ecological Model was created through a partnership between the UMN COE, Extension Family Development, the Minnesota Department of Health's Child and Family Health Division and the UMN Office of Human Resources to visually illustrate the individual, family, organization, community and societal factors that influence mental health and well-being. It considers the whole person and mental health across the lifespan.

The influence of all contexts, systems and environments on an individual and family must be recognized to completely understand and support healthy development among individuals and families. This model was created to help shift the narrative (1) about mental health and mental illness from an individual issue to include the social and environmental responsibility of others, and (2) from one focused on illness to mental well-being, or flourishing. The context that the socio-ecological model provides helps us to consider the range of strategies available to promote healthy development and mental well-being.

A focus on mental health promotion acknowledges the presence of disorders but recognizes the importance of supporting healthy mental functioning for all. This model is a work in progress intended to help with "big picture" rethinking about mental health. It is being utilized in an MCH Foundations course and in trainings with Extension, county public health and board staff (among others). Visit the website to access the model, a two-page handout, the reference list, a text-only version of the model and get background on the literature review. Email us to let creators know how you'll use it!

Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP) Highlights

HealthySteps Supports New Mothers Experiencing Postpartum Depression

Building Resilience in Children (BRIC) Program at Maimonides Health

Strong relationships with consistent, and contingently responsive caregivers are the primary buffers against the negative effects of toxic stress and adversity in early childhood.  Unfortunately, not all new caregivers have the resources or support to fill this important role. While many new mothers experience the baby blues, a mild bout of depression, for a few weeks after giving birth, 10 to 20 percent of new mothers will experience a more severe form of depression known as postpartum or perinatal depression.

HealthySteps at Maimonides Medical Center works to identify and support new mothers experiencing postpartum depression by universally screening all mothers at the 1 month well child visit within our primary care practices.  The HealthySteps model capitalizes on the universally accessed and positively regarded nature of primary care to improve outcomes for young children and families by bringing together the expertise of a child development expert and the pediatric primary care provider.  Together, these providers utilize their skills to foster healthy relationships and ensure that all babies have a strong start during a critically important time in their life.

When I first met Azzory, she was sitting calmly in the exam room with her 1-month old baby on her lap.  Her pediatrician introduced me and explained that Azzory had expressed feelings of sadness and low interest and motivation on her postpartum screen. We spoke that first day about her experiences in the postpartum period, her fears, anxieties, and moments of joy as well in caring for her son.  I have been working with Azzory and her son for two years now and have watched them grow into a loving and caring dyad.  I recently asked Azzorry about her experiences with HealthySteps and here were her responses:

  1. What was it like to be in such a vulnerable state as a new Mom and to open up about it at the pediatrician's office?

    It was very hard for me being a new mom in such a vulnerable state because I was not sure if I was going to be judged, or looked down on as a new mom with problems. It was a rough time in the beginning financially , and emotionally. I did not know who to turn to for emotional support at home. Opening up at a pediatrician's office helped ease my stress, and anxiety. Also made me feel supported ,and gave me a sense of purpose again, which was very helpful. I am forever grateful.

  2. What have been some of the biggest challenges you've had as a parent that HealthySteps has supported you with?

    Learning how to express my feelings in a better tone of voice, instead of sounding angry , or harsh when it comes to talking to others. My provider has supported me by giving me advice on different strategies in finding communications with others in a healthy manner. Also she has supported me in reminding me of all the good things I do for others ,and for myself. I forget sometimes, and the fact that she listens when we have our sessions means a lot to me.

  3. Looking back now at yourself, the immediate postpartum period, how have you grown and how has that impacted your relationship with your son?

    I feel that I have grown a lot because I know what tools to use when it comes to parenting which I am still learning, understanding myself more, and my son. Also I have grown more in becoming more gentle slowly towards myself which was very hard for me for years, being a boy mom brought that back, and the joy I have with my son it shows which is very important to me. I want my son to grow up and be proud of me as his mom, which is my goal.

Mobile Hope Clinic

Center for Trauma Counseling, Inc.

Expanding access to services for ALL is a crucial component to expanding mental health awareness & wellness.

Center for Trauma Counseling, through support from HRSA, successfully launched Palm Beach County's (PBC) first mobile mental healthcare unit in May 2021, the Mobile Hope Clinic (MHC), a 40ft. bus customized to provide on-site mental healthcare services to residents who face great obstacles in obtaining services otherwise due to economic, transportation, linguistic & other barriers.

Our first MHC community partnership was developed with the Boys & Girls Clubs of PBC (B&G) in May 2021, providing services to children & youth participating in the summer programs at the Boca Raton & Delray Beach locations. Initial services ran for 10 weeks from May to August & were a resounding success! Flagship services were successful & the MHC was invited back in the fall to provide an additional 6 weeks of services. The MHC added two additional partner locations in fall 2021 with the Healthcare District of PBC & Aid to Victims of Domestic Abuse of PBC (AVDA). At these first MHC partner locations we provided 31 underserved children, youth & their families with free mental healthcare services!  

Due to overwhelming positive response, the MHC is continuing & expanding services to our B&G community partner in 2022, adding two additional B&G partner locations in West Palm & Riviera Beach! Our partnership with AVDA also continued into 2022, in service to children sheltering with their mothers at the AVDA domestic violence shelter & transitional housing units.

Client Spotlight: 8-year-old female receiving services aboard the MHC through the B&G community partnership. Client was referred for services by her mother for misbehavior & anger issues. Client reported adjustment issues related to her step-father leaving & her mother stepping up to keep the house functioning. Client mentioned getting attention she needed when she would misbehave & get in trouble. By her 3rd session, her mother reported a major positive change in her behavior. Client reported that having a place to express herself means that she does not have to misbehave at home or school.


SYHealth Mental Health Awareness Month

Centro De Salud Comunidad De San Yasidro Inc (San Ysidro Health)

As a trusted community partner for over 50 years, and with 109,000 patients under our care throughout San Diego County, San Ysidro Health (SYHealth) has seen an increase in the mental health related resources patients are seeking, especially in the past two years. With the support of training, education, and resources, SYHealth has been able to identify patients at higher risk of mental health illness using different screenings such as ACES (adverse childhood experiences) and the Pediatric Symptom Checklists (PSC-35, PSC-17, Y-PSC).

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many individuals and families found themselves isolating to protect themselves. As a result, the COVID-19 pandemic had a great impact on mental health and increasing the prevalence of depressive symptoms, social anxiety, and more severe symptoms (i.e., suicidal ideations/thoughts) that have gone undiagnosed. Now that daily routines are being reintroduced, parents are once again seeking medical care for their children and screening of mental health related symptoms are being done. Multidisciplary teams across SYHealth are  working together to support the family's well-being, having frequent and consistent follow-ups using a patient-centered medical approach, facilitating behavioral health referrals and ensuring patients have everything they need to support their continuum of care.

SYHealth is the proud home of the LUNItA Program for Children and Families, which is a care management and support system aim to address childhood obesity in children 6 to 11 years of age by increasing access of pediatric preventative services including assessment by the behavioral health team. The LUNItA Program offers a culturally and linguistically appropriate program for the families in need, the care coordination curriculum has incorporated behavioral health education due to the increasing demand for services and needs. Once a trained mental health coordinator determines a patient's needs in behavioral health, such as anxiety or depression, coping skills are taught to children and families whilst waiting for the complete assessment and treatment by the behavioral health specialist.

Improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve, with access for all provides the foundation to the continuous care being provided by the over 2300 members of Team San Ysidro Health. 

Turn 2 Us: Sport Youth Development League – Where learning and growth takes place in the classroom and on the field!

Turn 2 Us

Extracurricular activities have played a vital role in the social growth of children by supporting the development of new skills, promoting self-efficacy and creating new friendships that can serve as a support system.  

NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital's Turn 2 Us (T2U) is a school-based mental health promotion and prevention program, serving the Northern Manhattan community. We aim to empower the entire school community (students, parents/caregivers, and school staff) to engage in healthy lifestyle practices that promote whole health and wellbeing. T2U is dedicated to promoting mental health and academic success in children presenting with at-risk behaviors. The program aims to enhance the mental health literacy of school personnel and caregivers, so they are best equipped to ensure our youths' progress emotionally, socially, and academically. In addition, T2U provides universal services to support the social-emotional learning of all students through workshops and other activities. T2U aims to raise awareness of the importance of mental health even in the absence of a condition and decrease stigma.

One component of T2U is the Sports Youth Development League (SYDL). It aims to assist students exhibiting at-risk behaviors, and to prevent future social and emotional challenges. The goal of the SYDL is to promote academic and social success to enhance students social-emotional development. Through the SYDL, students develop goal setting and goal attainment skills. In addition, students will learn to foster positive relationships with their coaches, peers, and Turn 2 Us staff. In previous years, students who participated in the SYDL demonstrated improved self-esteem, academic success and an improvement in mental health symptoms.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Turn 2 Us SYDL was on a hiatus but is eager to return this Spring for the baseball league.

Pictured: Coach Battaglini and Coach Galvez

Leadership, Education, and Advancement in Undergraduate Pathways (LEAP) Program Highlights

Trainee Spotlight – David Orellana Delgado

Maternal, Child, and Adolescent Health (MCAH) LEAP; University of California, Berkeley

The Fuerte Program: Serving Latinx Newcomer Youth in the San Francisco County

During this academic year, I was an undergraduate research assistant for the Fuerte Program, a primary and secondary school-based prevention program created to support recently-immigrated Latinx newcomer students in the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD). Created as a response to the growing number of newcomer immigrant youth enrolling in SFUSD schools where there is a need to fill the gap and serve this student population, the Fuerte program has three main goals: 1) Improve the mental health literacy of newcomer immigrant youth by educating them about mental health concerns, 2) Determine students that may need help and connect them with the adequate mental health services, and 3) Create a welcoming, diverse, and trauma-informed space for newcomer youth to connect.

Currently, we serve youth from Spanish-speaking, Latin American countries. We have screened 80% of our participants for mental health concerns and of those, 36% of the students needed a referral to mental health services. Students participate in a seven-module Fuerte curriculum, where they learn about mental health literacy and resilience. Participants learn about creating supportive groups, developing emotion regulation skills and coping strategies, connecting to their cultures and their immigration journey, fostering communication, and celebrating growth. Through their participation in the program, students receive support with their identity formation process and adjustment to their new spaces in the United States. We are currently evaluating and assessing the program's effectiveness, and we plan to expand the program to other groups of newcomer youth from Syria and Yemen as part of our multi-year program. We also plan to extend our services to schools beyond San Francisco County, with the goal of serving schools across California, and eventually all of the United States.

Being a part of this project has allowed me to connect with and serve a population that shares a similar background as mine. Providing mental health services and education to this population is crucial for their academic and personal development, and it is important to have safe spaces where youth can open up and have access to resources that will improve their development in the United States.

Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Program Highlights

Kennedy Krieger LEND Virtual Poster Day

Kennedy Krieger LEND

The Kennedy Krieger LEND Program held a virtual poster day on April 5, 2022 highlighting the vital role Kennedy Krieger's trainees play in the institute's research mission. Over 25 trainees participated with topics such as maternal and child health, neurodevelopmental disabilities, and disability advocacy.

Our two poster winners:

Jonathan Safer Lichtenstein, Pre-doctoral LEND trainee in Behavioral Psychology at Kennedy Krieger

"Feasibility and Acceptability of Parenting Interventions Delivered in Spanish to Caregivers of Children with Autism or Developmental Delays"

a poster presentation

We examined the feasibility and acceptability of two stress reduction interventions (psychoeducation/ support groups and Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction [MBSR]) coupled with behavioral parent training (BPT) modified for telehealth delivery in a cohort of 60 Spanish-speaking Hispanic/Latinx caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or developmental delay (DD) as part of a larger, randomized-controlled trial. Results showed that Spanish-speaking participants attended sessions at similar rates and demonstrated preference for psychoeducation/social support groups over MBSR compared to English-speaking participants, while finding BPT strategies generally acceptable.

Alexa Curhan Budavari, MPH, doctoral candidate working under the mentorship of IDDRC co-Director Heather Volk PhD

"Identifying Classes of Neurodevelopmental Perinatal Risk Factors Among Mothers of Children at High Familiar Likelihood for Autism Spectrum Disorder"

A poster presentation

Previous studies have examined the relationship between mothers' medical and mental health conditions during pregnancy and later neurodevelopmental disorders in their children. The current study investigated how groups of mothers with different combinations of neurodevelopmental perinatal risk (NPR) factors, like infection and depression, were associated with neurodevelopmental outcomes in the Early Autism Risk Longitudinal Investigation (EARLI), which is a cohort of pregnant mothers who already had a child with ASD and followed them to 36-months. Using Latent Class Analysis, we identified four distinct groups of mothers that differed based on self-reported NPR factors, and these groups were associated with specific neurodevelopmental impairments in their child. Groups differed based on reported reproductive history, perinatal complications, supplement use, and mental health conditions. High rates of specific NPR factors may serve as targets for intervention, while the association between classes of NPR factors and the child's neurodevelopment demonstrates which children may be in need of tailored screening and early intervention.

Michigan's LEND Program (MI-LEND) Emphasizes Importance of Self-Care for Trainees, Faculty, and Staff


The Michigan LEND Program (MI-LEND) has always highlighted the importance of self-care within the MI-LEND curriculum. As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, trainee self-care has increased in both importance and impact on the LEND training experience.

Since the MI-LEND program began in 2016, most training experiences and content have been delivered through the use of distance learning tools like Zoom and Canvas. Trainees are spread across Michigan which presents geographic barriers to regular in-person events. The COVID-19 pandemic complicated in-person meetings further, pushing all MI-LEND activities to virtual and distance platforms. This experience has been shared by most LEND affiliated programs throughout the country.

The increased reliance on technology to implement LEND activities has raised awareness of the potential for negative impact - or burnout - as its use continues. To address these concerns, MI-LEND has worked to reinforce the importance of self-care. During each of the program's six day-long training events, different self-care activities are used to kick off each session. In addition, the MI-LEND training Director compiled a list of self-care tools which is maintained on the program's Learning Management System (LMS) and UCEDD website and made available to all trainees and faculty.

MI-LEND leadership also made the decision to allow long-term trainees to count up to 10 hours of self-care toward their total hours for their LEND training requirements. The hope is that this change encourages MI-LEND trainees to consider self-care an important part of not only their LEND training, but an essential part of their future work with individuals with disabilities and their families.

Trainee Spotlight – Lauren Halladay

Boston Children's Hospital

At Boston Children's Hospital, I am currently a proud member of interdisciplinary teams comprised of developmental behavioral pediatricians and psychologists. I perform comprehensive psychological evaluations of toddlers, preschoolers, and school-aged children who are referred for developmental, behavioral, and/or emotional concerns. Across my clinical experiences, I have strived to engage in preventative efforts designed to optimize outcomes and foster independence in individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities. I particularly enjoy working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, and complex medical conditions. Volunteering and coordinating undergraduate student involvement at therapeutic equestrian centers initially sparked my passion for promoting self-esteem, physical health, learning, and overall wellness within neurodiverse populations. Subsequent experiences across various positions within K-12, university, research institute, academic medical center, as well as University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), led me to pursue a career that is more focused on conducting evaluations and interpreting data to make differential diagnoses. Through my clinical work, my hope is to continue supporting the mental health needs and promoting overall wellness within the disability community.

MCH Catalyst Program Highlights

Trainee Spotlight – Markolline Forkpa

Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health MCH Catalyst Program

I am currently a second-year graduate student at the Drexel University Dornsife School of Public Health, pursuing an MPH in Epidemiology focusing on a Maternal and Child Health. Since matriculating in September 2020, opportunities for professional growth have abounded. MCH Trainees at Dornsife are privileged to connect with and learn from esteemed public health practitioners while accessing valuable practical experiences afforded to them through Drexel's partnerships with various health promoting organizations across Philadelphia. In the classroom, Trainees are introduced to important concepts such as the social and political determinants of health, and continuously challenged to consider ways social injustices and discriminative policy perpetuate MCH health disparities. As President of the Maternal and Child Health Student Organization (MCHSO), I have had the opportunity to work with the 2022 MCHSO Officers to extend this knowledge and training into events that benefit our community. This year we have hosted several events focusing on wellness and mental health including providing wellness and self-care information at a tabling event for students, a hygiene donation drive benefiting women in South Philadelphia, and a service day packing food for families in West Philadelphia.

Although I have always had special interest in women's health, my interest in maternal mental health grew after observing unique challenges new moms faced amid COVID-19. That social support, in its many forms, is a protective factor against the development of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, is well established in social science literature. Still, social distancing and other conditions triggered by COVID-19 upended more traditional forms of support for birthing people. Recent studies show heightened psychological distress among birthing people after the onset of COVID-19. My Integrated Learning Experience (ILE), "Social Support-Moderated Effects of Adverse COVID-19 Events on Postpartum Mental Health of Greater Philadelphia-Based Women," which is a mixed methods examination of financial disruption, and psychological distress on distant postpartum mental health, really centers the experience of birthing people who were pregnant at the height of the pandemic. Postpartum depression is serious because it not only affects maternal/paternal behaviors but can impair child development as well. It is important for MCH advocates to consider long-term mental health effects of COVID related trauma. This project has afforded me the opportunity to learn more about postpartum depression and its implications on birthing people and their families.

In the last two years, I can truly say I have grown considerably as a leader-growth I attribute greatly to my standing as an MCH Trainee at Dornsife. Altogether I feel more confident as a scholar and dedicated MCH advocate, and welcome opportunities to translate my education into sustainable changes in the MCH landscape, serving communities who need it most.

Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) Program Highlights

Children's Mental Health Matters! Campaign

Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care (BHIPP)

Maryland Behavioral Health Integration in Pediatric Primary Care Telepsychiatry Access Program (BHIPP TAP) is a Pediatric Mental Health Care Access (PMHCA) awardee that provides support to pediatric primary care providers in addressing the behavioral and developmental needs of their patients. BHIPP offers telephone consultation, resource and referral networking, care coordination, telemental health services, training and educational opportunities, and social work co-location in primary care practices in collaboration with Salisbury University (SU) and Morgan State University (MSU).

Each year BHIPP serves as a proud partner with the Children's Mental Health Matters! Campaign by becoming a Community Champion for children's mental health. This initiative is a collaboration of the Mental Health Association of Maryland (MHAMD) and the Maryland Coalition of Families (MCF) with support from the Maryland Department of Health—Behavioral Health Administration. The Children's Mental Health Matters! Campaign brings together non-profits, schools, and other agencies with the following goals: raising public awareness of the importance of children's mental health and substance use, reducing stigma of mental health concerns, and connecting children and families with resources for prevention and support of mental health conditions.

For Children's Mental Health Matters! Week, May 1-7th, 2022, members of the BHIPP Team wore green to show our support as proud community champions!

To further celebrate Children's Mental Health Matters! Week, Maryland BHIPP in partnership with the Maryland Addiction Consultation Service (MACS), hosted a webinar on Approaches to Co-Occurring Substance Use and Psychiatric Disorders in Youth.

Archive: Approaches to Co-Occurring Substance Use and Psychiatric Disorders in Youth

May 6th, 12:30-2:00 pm

This webinar featured a presentation by Dr. Marc Fishman and focused on identifying exacerbating features of common co-occurring disorders in youth, as well as diagnostic and treatment approaches to co-occurring disorders in youth. A full recording of the event, in addition to slides are available.

KSKidsMAP Addresses Physician Burnout through Wellness

KSKidsMAP Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program

In 2020, a national sample of physicians were surveyed for mental health strain. Sixty nine percent felt down or sub-clinically depressed, 21% identified as severely depressed and a sobering 13% of physicians had thoughts of suicide. Prior to the COVID-19 Pandemic, it was reported that 35-54% of nurses and physicians had experienced substantial burnout.1 Kari Harris MD, a Kansas primary care pediatrician, recognized the strain and secondary trauma which results in treating pediatric patients with behavioral concerns. When developing Kansas' Pediatric Mental Health Care Access Program (PMHCA), KSKidsMAP, with colleagues, Dr. Harris worked to integrate pediatric primary care physician/clinician (PCP) wellness into the program's support services.

KSKidsMAP sends resources on coaching, overcoming burnout, promoting resilience, stress reduction, counseling and addiction available. PCPs can request upon enrollment, or by calling the KSKidsMAP Consultation Line. Wellness topics are also included in the KSKidsMAP TeleECHO Clinic curriculum. 

Seeing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on PCPs, KSKidsMAP expanded wellness efforts in 2021. In partnership with the Institute of Physician Wellness, KSKidsMAP hosted a virtual wellness workshop and several coaching session cohorts. Facilitated by a physician wellness coach, the sessions allowed for open discussion and reflection between physicians/clinicians. 

KSKidsMAP sent wellness boxes to enrolled PCPs during Mental Health Acceptance Month in May 2021. The 2022 wellness boxes promote the benefits of sunshine and exercise for physical and mental health, including burnout and fatigue, highlighting Kansas State Parks and outdoor activities made available by the Kansas Department of Wildlife & Parks. Additional information on professional evaluation and treatment will be included.

Participant feedback regarding KSKidsMAP's wellness activities have been positive: "I wish I could have been exposed to these [wellness resources] much earlier in my career;" "I received [the wellness box] on a particularly challenging day of the clinic and it really meant a lot. I very much appreciate that you took the time to do that."

KSKidsMAP values the emotional effort enrolled PCPs put forth in caring for youth with mental illness and will continue supporting practitioners in their own wellness. 

1NIHCM Foundation. Physician Burnout & Moral Injury:  The Hidden Health Care Crisis.  Retrieved March 2021.

Minnesota's Pediatric Mental Health Access Program – a System's Level Collaboration

Minnesota Department of Health

Minnesota's Pediatric Mental Health Access Project brings together partners to access to mental health screening, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment for children and youth with mental health concerns.

Childhood and adolescence lay the framework for lifelong mental health outcomes. During these crucial developmental stages, screening, evaluation, assessment, diagnosis, and appropriate treatment of mental health issues is critical for preservation of emotional well-being later in life. An estimated 20% of Minnesota children and youth (0-17 years old) have a diagnosed mental or behavioral health condition, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only exacerbated many of these mental health concerns. While mental health treatment offers hope for improvement in quality of life and positive outcomes, multiple systemic barriers exist to actual receipt of care.

The main aim of Minnesota's project is to better identify and respond to mental health concerns in pediatric primary care settings – particularly focusing on children and adolescents who identify as Black, Indigenous, or Persons of Color or who are from rural communities. This aim will be achieved through the following goals:

1) Cultivate and support a collaborative leadership structure.

2) Enhance quality and reach of Minnesota's Psychiatric Assistance Line to better provide mental health consultations and referrals via telehealth.

3) Increase the capacity of PCPs to screen for and respond to mental health concerns in children and adolescents in culturally relevant and developmentally appropriate ways.

4) Coordinate and enhance centralized resource directories to increase easeful access to mental and behavioral health services and supports.

Partners central to this work include the Minnesota Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, who will be responsible for coordinating training and technical assistance with pediatric PCPs, and Prairie Care, who is responsible for maintaining the state's Psychiatric Assistance Line.

In May 2022, Minnesota is starting its equity-focused needs assessment, where we will be assessing strengths, weaknesses, gaps, and opportunities related to screening for and responding to mental health concerns in pediatric primary care settings. A major focus of the needs assessment is an evaluation of the Psychiatric Assistance Line. The findings from our needs assessment will lay the framework for implementing our project goals.

Virginia Supports Mental Health Awareness Through Social Media Campaigns

Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP)

The Virginia Mental Health Access Program (VMAP) launched multiple social media campaigns this past Spring to promote awareness of mental health needs in children and families.

March was Social Work Month. Since most of the licensed mental health professionals supporting the VMAP consultation line are Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSWs), VMAP created a campaign to celebrate their work and highlight their ideas for self-care activities.

VMAP also created a communications toolkit for providers, partners, and stakeholders to use throughout Mental Health Awareness Month (MHAM) in May to educate the public about pediatric mental health and the work of the program. This toolkit includes sample social media posts, images, videos from Virginia delegates supporting the program, and a sample announcement to be used on partner websites and/or newsletters. This toolkit is free for anyone to use. In preparation for Mental Health Awareness Month, the kit was shared with all VMAP registered primary care providers and stakeholders.

Sample from the MHAM toolkit (above)

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