Imagine an America where children arrive at their school desks, ready to learn and succeed. They have coping skills to address their everyday worries, concerns and stressors, as well as the more difficult challenges life may present. They have social skills to establish positive relationships with their peers, teachers and parents. They make healthy choices that allow them to focus on their education and prepare for future success. And if a problem arises, they have access to early intervention and treatment. Now, imagine having sustainable funding to make all of this a reality.
Currently, however, barriers, particularly financing issues, restrict the expansion of existing programs and limit the growth of new ones that offer mental health and treatment services to students in a school setting. To shed light on successful models for sustaining school mental health services, the Center for Health and Health Care in Schools at George Washington University looked at three school mental health programs – in Pennsylvania, Washington, DC and Minnesota – that have crafted financial policies and processes that support their work. Their strategies include putting systems in place for billing Medicaid and other third-party payers and supplementing these patient-care revenues with public and private grant dollars and in-kind contributions. In short, they have developed and executed business plans that ensure longterm availability of services.]
The hope is that by highlighting these three programs and sharing their business plans, we will shed light on some best practices that should be considered in searching for strategies to sustain school mental health services.
Support for this publication was provided by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Behrens, Donna; Lear, Julia Graham; and Price, Olga Acosta, "Developing a Business Plan for Sustaining School Mental Health Services: Three Success Storiess" (2017). Center for Health and Health Care in Schools. Paper 9.