A Publication of Mental Health America of Greater Houston
New Center for School Behavioral Health
Pearls of Wisdom
Addresses Student Needs in 18 Public and Charter School Districts
Pearls of Wisdom Highlights • School Behavioral Health Initiative Milestones • The Center for School Behavioral Health • Children’s Mental Health Art Contest • Educator Strategies for Addressing Student Trauma • The Center for School Behavioral Health • BridgeUp at Menninger Pictured: Gwen Emmett, Jenna Bush Hager, Susan Fordice, Heather Simpson
A Focus on Children’s Mental Health
of Greater Houston
Pearls Wisdom of
L U N C H E O N
At some point in our lives, each of us has learned a valuable lesson or gained memorable insight while traveling life’s path. These are the “ah ha” moments that shape our character and change our lives. They are “Pearls of Wisdom.” “We’ll meet teachers and people who will pass on pearls of wisdom unknowingly for the rest of our lives,” said America’s former first daughter and NBC Today show contributing correspondent Jenna Bush Hager who brought focus to the importance of family to the mental and emotional health of children at the Pearls of Wisdom Luncheon on Wednesday, September 14.
As Mental Health America of Greater Houston’s only major fundraising event of the year, the Pearls of Wisdom Luncheon brings together Houstonians to lunch, learn and raise funds to improve the lives of individuals with mental illnesses and to enhance the mental health of all Houstonians through mental health collaboration, education, training, outreach, awareness and advocacy.
"It is better to be yourself than to be afraid."
"Life is a bucket of worms... But tomorrow will always be better than today.”
As one of America’s most famous first daughters, Hager’s life has always been in the spotlight. A strong family influence and many adventures provided Hager with opportunities to receive a wealth of generational guiding advice and life lessons from her parents, grandparents and other family members as well as individuals she has met along the way. Hager shared some of the “pearls” that shaped her into the woman and child and family advocate she is today.
Leading the fundraising efforts for Pearls of Wisdom Luncheon is Heather Simpson, event chair; Gwen Emmett, honorary chair and host committee members Debbie Dalton, Julia DeWalch, Patty Domínguez, Emily Emmett, Ann Friedman, Anne Frischkorn, Fiona Guinn, Leisa Holland-Nelson, Molly Hackett LaFauci, Donna Perillo, Esther Perrine, Mary Eliza Shaper, Diane Scardino, Limor Smith, Adrienne Vanderbloemen and Barby Weiner.
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Picture 1: Anne Vidacovich, Jenna Bush Hager, Limor Smith, 2: Sun Behavioral Health 3: Rev. Leslie Smith II
Deborah Duncan, host of Great Day Houston, emceed the event. Top supporters of the event include presenting sponsor Texas Children’s Hospital and longtime supporters, Joan and Stanford Alexander, The Burguières Family, The McIngvale Family, The Hackett Family, and Connie and Eric Estopinal.
The afternoon concluded with a raffle of a beautiful classic pearl necklace provided by J. Landa. The winning ticket was drawn by luncheon emcee, Deborah Duncan, and won by Ken Janda. Proceeds from this year’s Pearls of Wisdom Luncheon will support professional and community-based initiatives such as those focused on veterans, suicide prevention, women’s and perinatal mental health, aging, and public policy.
It also supports programs including those that are child and family centered, such as the organization’s new Center for School Behavioral Health and the first regional school behavioral health conference for educators, administrators and administrative support services. For 62 years, Mental Health America of Greater Houston has linked people to mental health services; provided education and training for key sectors of the community; removed barriers to mental health care by facilitating change in systems; and advocated for legislative solutions that address the vast unmet need for mental health services.
Find more event photos at: www.mhahouston.org/photos/set/31/ Picture 4: Jenna Bush Hager, Deborah Duncan 5: Jenna Bush Hager, Anne Frischkorn 6: Maureen and Kelly Hackett 7: Michele R. Fraga, Jenna Bush Hager 8: Mathilde D. Leary, Jenna Bush Hager 9: University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work, Jenna Bush Hager, 10: T’Liza Kiel, Ken Janda 11: Patty Dominguez, Barbara Coleman, Pat Banfill and Dolores Warner
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Ringing the Bell for SCHOOL BEHAVIORAL HEALTH
Schools struggle to meet the behavioral health needs of their students. Counselors face difficulties providing appropriate levels of mental health services to students; teachers lack experience in recognizing early signs of mental health issues and oftentimes cannot identify available services in the community; and financial restraints keep many schools from adequately meeting the needs of students with mental health problems who are not eligible for services under federal law. About half of lifetime cases of mental illness begin by the age of 14. Youth with mental and behavioral health issues may experience challenges such as academic underachievement, criminal justice involvement and even suicide.
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More than 233,000 children in Harris County have a diagnosed mental illness. Early identification and treatment of mental health disorders in youth is critical, but most children go undiagnosed until a crisis occurs, which can severely compromise their long-term ability to achieve a healthy and successful life. Clearly, waiting until children are in crisis and need to be hospitalized or incarcerated is not an economical or effective solution to this problem. The Harris County School Behavioral Health Initiative (SBHI) is a collaborative of school district administrators, behavioral health providers, child-serving organizations, education-related agencies, and parents dedicated to improving the prevention, identification, and treatment of behavioral health issues among students.
INITIATIVE MILESTONES Year One (2012-13) The SBHI workgroup developed 37 recommendations aimed at the Texas Legislature and other elected officials, state agencies, school districts, and community organizations. In order to develop the recommendations, the workgroup undertook a number of activities, including the: •
Review of state and federal laws that govern the identification and treatment of students with behavioral health issues, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, as well as relevant state regulations;
Creation of system "maps" of four school districts to determine their policies related to prevention, identification and treatment of mental health and/or substance use issues;
Examination of national evidence-based and promising school behavioral health programs. These included best practices related to prevention, identification, and intervention;
Completion of 32 individual interviews with key community members to obtain their views of how school behavioral health processes are currently working, and
ways in which they can be improved; •
Execution of site visits to locations that have been recognized statewide or nationally for innovative and best practice-based school mental health initiatives; and
Collection of data from 20 Harris County school districts related to special education categorization, racial patterns, and disciplinary placements.
Year Two (2013-14) In the second year of the initiative, a number of positive strides were made in promoting and implementing the recommendations. During the 83rd Regular Legislative Session, Mental Health America of Greater Houston and its partners drafted and advocated for passage of legislation aimed at improving the capacity of schools to address behavioral health issues among students. Of particular significance is that while on average a bill requires three sessions to be passed, two Mental Health America of Greater Houston-initiated bills containing three policy recommendations from the SBHI were introduced and passed in this session, a rare and remarkable achievement. The legislation includes requirements that: 1. Secondary teachers, principals, counselors and other personnel receive training in how to recognize and appropriately respond to signs of mental health issues among students; 2. educator preparation programs include a training component on recognizing and responding to signs of mental health issues among students; and 3. the Texas Education Agency, Department of State Health Services and Regional Education Service Centers develop a best practice-based list of mental health and substance use programs that schools can implement. In addition, appropriations addressing children’s mental health increased by 59 percent, including $5 million to help train educators on how to recognize and appropriately respond to students exhibiting signs of mental illness.
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Additionally, through $75,000 in grant funding, three area school districts began a partnership with Mental Health America of Greater Houston during the 2013-14 school year to pilot projects embodying three additional SBHI recommendations aimed at improving students’ behavioral health outcomes. Channelview Independent School District extended “navigation” and case management services to students and their families throughout all grade levels; Goose Creek Consolidated Independent School District expanded the evidence-based Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports framework to all 25 of its campuses; and Spring Branch Independent School District developed transition service plans to help students returning from alternative schools and juvenile justice placements reintegrate back into the classroom setting.
Year Three (2014-15) To encourage broader and deeper systems change, a SBHI Manager/Trainer was hired to expand the initiative to other Harris County school districts and increase the number of consensus recommendations implemented district or systemwide.
The following goals were achieved: 1. Ten school districts implemented one or more of the consensus recommendations. 2. More than half the consensus recommendations (20) were implemented by one or more school districts and community organizations. 3. More than 500 teachers, administrators and students were educated or trained in a mental health program.
Year Four (2015-16) In Year 4, the School Behavioral Health Initiative (SBHI) expanded to 69 partners, including 15 school districts, 3 charter school districts and a combination 51 child-serving, education, and advocacy organizations; public entities and elected officials; parents and students, all dedicated to collectively impacting the implementation of concrete behavioral health measures in schools. The following goals were achieved: •
In 2015-16, more than 603 Houston-area educators and youth-serving professionals were trained in signs and symptoms of student behavioral health disorders and how to help students experiencing a mental health crisis. Between 2014-16, more than 1,500 educators and other who work with children have been trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA),
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Youth Suicide Prevention, Children’s Mental Health, or the School Behavioral Health framework.
charter school districts are participating. •
The SBHI model and Spring Branch ISD Systems of Care (which was inspired by the SBHI and partially launched through a Mental Health America of Greater Houston pilot grant in 2013-2014) were featured in a workshop at the Advancing School Mental Health National Conference.
Senate Bill 133 expands the availability of Mental Health First Aid training to more school district employees, including educators, school resource officers, administrative staff, school bus drivers, and cafeteria workers.
Senate Bill 674 amends the Education Code to mandate instruction in mental health, substance use, and youth suicide as a requirement for training in educator certification.
Based on the success of the 2013-2014 school-based pilot programs, Mental Health America of Greater Houston awarded two new grants to school districts for the 20152016 school year: o
In the 84th Texas Legislative Session, Mental Health America of Greater Houston partnered with colleagues across the state to advocate for the successful passage of the following 2 bills:
Spring Branch ISD (SBISD) received funds to partner with the Monarch School to train and mentor designated SBISD elementary school personnel in evidence-based strategies for teaching children with serious mental health disorders. Goose Creek CISD (GCCISD) received funds to underwrite Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training for 150 school administrators, counselors, nurses, and alternative school faculty. The grant will also enhance YMHFA sustainability in the district through covering the costs of YMHFA facilitator training for a GCCISD professional, who, once trained, will be able to continue providing the course for teachers and other district personnel.
A Learning Community was established to provide a “deep dive” for SBHI school districts to assess their progress in providing student behavioral health services, learn from local models, share best practices, and set and achieve quality goals for improving the scope and delivery of services in each district. To date, 11 school districts/
In February 2016, Mental Health America of Greater Houston was awarded a three-year, $2+ million grant from Houston Endowment to transform the School Behavioral Health Initiative into the Center for School Behavioral Health. The Center will serve as a “living laboratory” for incubating innovative, cost-effective, and replicable best practices to improve the behavioral health of students by facilitating collective action; providing highly specialized professional development opportunities, technical assistance and community education; as well as conducting research, advocacy, and policy analysis. The Center will support the healthy psychological and cognitive development of children in the Greater Houston Region through services and programs promoting behavioral health, as well as the prevention, early identification, and treatment of behavioral health disorders.
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Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Students The Center for School Behavioral Health
Jamet Pozmantier, Cemter Director
Houston Endowment awarded more than $2 million over 3 years to Mental Health America of Greater Houston in support of The Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston.
to increase the capacity for prevention, early identification, and treatment of behavioral health concerns among students and transform the landscape of school behavioral health in the Greater Houston region.
“Good mental health and resilience are vital in equipping young people with the skills needed to fulfill their potential well into adulthood,” said Elizabeth G. Love, senior program officer at Houston Endowment. “Through this grant of more than $2 million, we are continuing our commitment to ensuring that youth and those who educate them have access to tools and services they need for the best behavioral health experience possible.”
“Most schools in our community lack the resources and knowledge necessary to effectively identify and serve these students,” said Janet Pozmantier, director of The Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston. “This is especially critical when it comes to academic achievement: if students’ behavioral health needs are not addressed, they perform poorly or drop out of school which can have adverse effects on their lives well into adulthood.”
The Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston is an expansion of the Harris County School Behavioral Health Initiative. This award, disbursed over three years, will enable The Center to engage schools and child-serving organizations from every municipality and county in the Greater Houston region. It is expected
The National Institute of Mental Health reports the onset of half of all mental illnesses occurs by age 14 and a total of 75% of these illnesses begin by age 24. According to Texans Care for Children, nine out of 10 students classified as having an emotional disturbance in Texas public
schools were suspended or expelled from school. And, while rates in teen suicide in Texas have gone down in recent years, suicide remains the third leading cause of death in young people aged 15-24 in Texas. “Our schools are a crucial locus for effective behavioral health interventions,” said Susan Fordice, president and CEO of Mental Health America of Greater Houston. “Through The Center, we look forward to collaboratively developing, enhancing, or expanding systems to help improve behavioral health outcomes for all students.” Using the Collective Impact model, The Center for School Behavioral Health at Mental Health America of Greater Houston will serve as a “living laboratory” for incubating innovative, cost-effective and replicable best practices to improve the behavioral health of students, while also providing highly specialized professional development opportunities, technical assistance and community education, stigma reduction and awareness, research, advocacy, and policy analysis.
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The Center supports the healthy psychological and cognitive development of children in the Greater Houston Region through services and programs promoting behavioral health, as well as the prevention, early identification, and treatment of behavioral health disorders.
Colby Hooks Student
Components The Center operates within MHA of Greater Houston and encompasses six major programmatic areas. • • • • • •
The School Behavioral Health Collaborative The School Behavioral Health Learning Community The School Behavioral Health Best Practices Incubator The Stigma Reduction Initiative The Texas School Behavioral Health Annual Conference School Behavioral Health Advocacy and Policy Analysis
Methodology The Center takes to a regional level our collective impact methodology that has been implemented through the Harris County School Behavioral Health Initiative. Currently, this initiative
convenes in collective action a core group of almost 70 organizations including: 18 school districts, 28 child serving organizations, 8 entities providing educational services, 10 advocacy organizations, and the offices of five elected officials. This core group is using as its common agenda the 37 consensus recommendations that were developed through the MHA of Greater Houston
Negotiated Consensus Building process during school year 2012-2013. From the 18 school districts in the collaborative, 11 school districts are engaged in fully or partially implementing 20 of these recommendations; Fort Bend, La Porte, Pasadena, Channelview, Cypress-Fairbanks, Alief, Goose Creek Consolidated, Houston, Spring Branch, Sheldon, and KIPP Houston.
Sophia Petrou, Spring Branch ISD Angelina Hudson Parent
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Elizabeth G.Love Senior Program Officer Houston Endowment
Recommendation for the State Board of Education 1. Adopt comprehensive standards in Social and Emotional Learning for kindergarten through 12th Grade.
These recommendations were developed during school year 2012-2013. Many have been implemented, others are in progress.
Recommendation for Harris County Commissioners Court 1. Increase funding for the Community Youth Services program.
Recommendations for the Texas Legislature 1. Restore the $5.4 billion in education funding cuts made during the 82nd Legislature. 2. Restore the almost $13 million in funding cuts made to Communities in Schools during the 82nd Legislature. 3. Increase funding for substance abuse prevention, intervention and treatment for children and adolescents. 4. Increase funding for children’s mental health treatment services. 5. Designate at least 5% of current funding for children’s mental health treatment services to prevention programs, such as mental health literacy, personal safety, and suicide prevention. 6. Appropriate General Revenue funds to increase grants for school-based health clinics. 7. Require, in educator preparation programs, that teachers receive training in the detection and education of students with behavioral health issues.
Recommendations for the Department of State Health Services (DSHS), in conjunction with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Regional Education Centers 1. Compile a list of the following programs and tools from which school districts may choose to implement: Best practice-based, culturally competent universal prevention (including violenceprevention), mental health promotion and positive youth development programs. Validated mental health and substance abuse screening instruments that school districts can use to identify students with mental health and substance abuse issues. Best practice-based, culturally competent mental health and substance abuse interventions. Recommendations for School Districts 1. Require teachers, nurses, counselors, principals and all other appropriate personnel to receive culturally competent training in how to recognize and appropriately respond to signs of
behavioral health issues in students. 2. Implement best practice-based culturally competent mental health and substance abuse interventions. 3. Implement a best practice-based, culturally competent universal prevention program in each school. 4. Implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS), or programs with similar components, district-wide with fidelity. 5. Implement curricula focused on social skills and good decision-making. 6. Offer opportunities for parents and students to receive education about signs of behavioral health issues in students, as well as parent support groups. 7. Adopt clear and comprehensive policies that ensure students who are identified or referred receive appropriate interventions and/or referrals for services at the lowest appropriate level, including ensuring that: Evaluations for Section 504 services are integrated into the RTI process. The RTI process has sufficient flexibility, including providing parents and external psychological/psychiatric evaluations with a “fast-track” to a special education or Section 504 evaluation. A process exists for referring students with identified behavioral health issues who are not eligible for special education or Section 504 services to appropriate community services. 8. Work with community agencies/ advocates to ensure parents have information about their rights regarding
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Gwen Emmett Board of Directors
Michael Jhin Board Chairman
referral to, and during, the Special Ed/ Section 504 processes. 9. Implement strategies to improve school disciplinary policies, including: Reviewing and revising student codes of conduct to minimize discretionary removals, as well as time spent in out-ofschool placements. Reviewing data on disciplinary placements among campuses and helping campuses with high numbers of placements to develop and implement alternative strategies, including progressive sanctions. 10. Collaborate with out-of-school district placement entities to provide transitional service plans for returning students. 11. Ensure at least one licensed behavioral health professional at each school. 12. Ensure at least one nurse at each school. 13. Create a dedicated “navigator” position in schools to help coordinate behavioral health interventions and referrals. 14. Partner with universities to fill appropriate behavioral health/navigator positions with interns/fellows. 15. Develop strategies to enroll more students in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. 16. Centralize some decisions about behavioral health interventions at the district level and show support for their implementation.
17. Designate appropriate space to be used for behavioral health interventions. 18. Partner with community agencies to provide behavioral health services using tele-health technology. 19. Host an annual “agency fair” so school administrators are knowledgeable of available programs to support their schools’ behavioral health initiatives. 20. Partner with community agencies to conduct comprehensive needs assessments for at-risk student populations. 21. Request parental permission to obtain and share important data with other agencies by which a student is being served in order to foster a team of support for the student. Recommendations for Community Organizations that Provide School-Based Services 1. Routinely track data on student outcomes and share with school personnel. 2. When possible, provide behavioral health interventions before or after school. 3. Ensure that behavioral health services are integrated into school-based medical services.
Recommendation for Community Behavioral Health Providers 1. Review their utilization data for children’s behavioral health services and seek to coordinate the provision of services on-campus. Recommendations for Community Behavioral Health Advocates 1. Conduct an anti-stigma, public awareness campaign regarding children’s mental health issues. 2. Develop a policy paper for school districts explaining the link between behavioral health and academic performance.
By Greater Houston Region, we refer to a continuous metroplex area that includes six major municipalities/communities (Houston, the Woodlands, Sugar Land, Baytown, Conroe, and Pasadena) and crosses nine county lines (Harris, Fort Bend, Montgomery, Brazoria, Galveston, Liberty, Waller, Chambers, and Austin).
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Young Artists Bring Awareness to Children’s Mental Health
Half of all lifetime mental illnesses occur by age 14 and the face of mental health gets younger. Few kids or families talk about mental health, but the #HTxMentalHealth Children’s Art Contest, established by Mental Health America of Greater Houston and the Nick Finnegan Counseling Center, opens the door for children, parents, and communities to begin conversations about mental health. A report by the Mental Health Needs
Council of Harris County indicates that in Harris County, an estimated 152,000 children have mental illness and 91,414 are likely to have a serious emotional disturbance. “Children’s mental health problems are real, common and treatable, and there must be a greater effort for early recognition of mental health needs of children and adolescents and greater awareness of early signs and symptoms,” said Susan Fordice, president and CEO
of Mental Health America of Greater Houston. “Studies show that about one in five children have a diagnosable mental health problem, and nearly two-thirds of them get little or no help. Untreated mental health problems can disrupt children’s functioning at home, school and in the community, leaving them at increased risk of school failure, contact with the criminal justice system, dependence on social services, and even suicide.”
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Artist... - Pablo Picasso
Armani Obasi, Williams Elementary, “Leaving the Negative Behind” Pastel Schway, Christa McAuliffe, "Say No To Eating Disorders” Artemis J. Ayala, Woodrow Wilson Montessori, “A Glance Into the Eyes of a HANGRY Kitty”
Geovani Obasi, Reading Jr. High School, “The Bright Side of Things”
Akilah Lopez, St. Mary's School, “An Open Heart”
Poem Schway, School: Christa McAuliffe,“Cheery Things”
Christopher Cordova, Park Place Elementary, “The Boy Who Drew”
Victoria Ortega, Park Place Elementary, “Cookies and Kisses”
Theme: “How I Take Care of My Thoughts and Feelings” View the Digital Gallery of Children’s Art: www. htxmentalhealth.weebly.com
Recipient of the Glassell School of Art 2016 Junior School Scholarship Artemis Ayala
Children’s Mental Health Art Gallery and Awards Reception Held At The Health Museum
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City Council Recognizes Importance of Children's Mental Health On May 3rd, MHA of Greater Houston and Nick Finnegan Counseling Center (NFCC) attended the Houston City Council meeting for the official reading of the proclamation declaring May 1-7, Greater Houston Children’s Mental Health Week by Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen. Pictured: Audrey Omenson, LPC-S, Clinical Director at NFCC, Paige Roane, LMFT-Associate, Community Relations Specialist at NFCC, Mayor Pro-Tem Ellen Cohen, Mary Magness Hand, Executive Director at NFCC and Traci Patterson, Director of Communications at MHA of Greater Houston.
“Since children’s vocabulary and life experiences aren’t as developed as those of adults, art is one way for them to express their emotions,” said Nick Finnegan Counseling Center’s Clinical Director, Audrey Omenson. “We must start considering emotional and mental health equally important as physical health for children; it is crucial to their development.” This year’s #HTxMentalHealth Children’s Art Contest theme, “How I Take Care of My Thoughts and Feelings,” offered children ages 5 – 14 an opportunity to create and submit original art based on their understanding of mental health. The contest also provided parents and other adults who encounter or work with children information on mental health
and an occasion to begin the conversation about mental health with children. Mental Health America of Greater Houston, established in 1954 by philanthropist Ima Hogg, is the area’s longest serving mental health education and advocacy organization focused on shaping the mental health of people and communities in the areas of children and education, integrated health care, chronic illnesses, women, suicide prevention, veterans and aging. www.mhahouston.org Nick Finnegan Counseling Center (NFCC) is a unique, non-profit providing personalized service and excellence in counseling at affordable rates for everyone regardless of finances or age. The Center provides the Houston community
with mental health therapy, premarital counseling, support groups and free parent talks at schools. NFCC is sustained by a combination of fundraisers, grants, donations and client fees. Nick Finnegan Counseling Center: making change possible.
Mental Health America of Greater Houston and Nick Finnegan Counseling Center gratefully acknowledge the generosity and participation of our partners in the second annual #HTXMentalHealth Children’s Art Contest.
To get involved or for more information on the Children’s Art Contest, contact Traci Patterson, Director of Communications at email@example.com.
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1st Regional School Behavioral Health Conference Sells Out! Educator Strategies for Addressing Student Trauma
The conference reached capacity with more than 300 registrants representing 35 Independent School Districts and 5 Charter Schools.
Steve Graner, a retired English teacher, is a ChildTrauma Academy Fellow. He serves as the Project Director for the Neurosequential Model in Education for the ChildTrauma Academy and is active with the CTA in training teachers and school personnel in trauma-informed educational practice. Internationally recognized mental health expert, Marleen Wong opened the conference as keynote, presenting, How Trauma Informed Schools Can Help Childrenâ€™s Trauma and Family Recovery. Special thanks to Region IV and to all of our speakers, volunteers and attendees.
Special thanks to Houston Endowment for generously underwriting the Conference and Elizabeth G. Love, Senior Program Officer.
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AFTER SCHOOL MENTAL HEALTH
The Menninger Clinic and the David and Helen Gurley Brown Trust award $1 million in grants to seven Greater Houston recipients to establish BridgeUp
The Kashmere High "Thunder Soul" Marching Band 18 - Mental Health America of Greater Houston â€¢ www.mhahouston.org
The David and Helen Gurley Brown Trust and The Menninger Clinic, one of the nation’s leading mental healthcare systems, announced an inaugural $1 million in grants awarded to seven Greater Houston recipients. The grants will establish BridgeUp at Menninger, an innovative model that integrates evidencebased social and emotional learning programs into after-school initiatives to help vulnerable students succeed in school and beyond. This funding is made possible through a $7.5 million grant awarded to Menninger by the Brown Trust. While most after-school programs do not focus on mental health, the intent of BridgeUp at Menninger is to address the social, emotional and mental well-being of vulnerable students whose lives have been challenged by economic, health and family hardships. BridgeUp at Menninger also differs in that the inaugural million dollar investment includes the development of scientific measurements that will evaluate the effectiveness of integrating social and emotional learning into after-school programming as well as the potential for replicating the most effective approaches on a larger scale, locally and nationally.
Combining their passions for youth and mental health, the Brown’s idea for BridgeUp at Menninger was born. Frank Bennack, executive vice chairman at Hearst and Eve Burton, senior vice president and general counsel of Hearst are trustees of the Brown Trust. According to Bennack, “David Brown’s long relationship with Menninger confirmed the decision to launch a BridgeUp model in Houston with a focus on mental health.” BridgeUp at Menninger joins two other BridgeUp models that provide after-school programming for at-risk youth in New York City through the New York Public Library and American Museum of Natural History.
Patricia Gail Bray, Adeeb Barqawi, Susan Fordice, C. Edward Coffey, MD
Mental Health America of Greater Houston and ProUnitas, Inc. are partnering with Kashmere Community Council to deliver after-school programming that includes recommendations from the Harris County School Behavioral Health Initiative, such as support groups, restorative justice circles and mentoring. The program will benefit students and teachers at Key Middle School and Kashmere High School. “BridgeUp at Menninger is such a unique opportunity for us to establish a method of blending best practices in academics with best practices in mental health to ensure that our youth become healthy, productive adolescents who thrive,” said Dr. C. Edward Coffey, president and CEO of The Menninger Clinic and principal investigator of BridgeUp at Menninger. “It’s the same comprehensive approach to mind, body and spirit that propels inpatient and outpatient mental health services at Menninger, providing hope and initiating lasting change for patients with complex mental illnesses.” BridgeUp continues the legacy of David Brown and Helen Gurley Brown who were both passionate about improving the lives of underserved youth through meaningful programs. David Brown was a longtime philanthropist. He was best known as an iconic film and theatre producer, and working with Stephen Spielberg, directed and produced Jaws, Driving Miss Daisy, the Verdict and other films. He was a giant in film making. Married to Helen Gurley Brown, the celebrated editor of Cosmopolitan magazine, David Brown served as a Menninger trustee for 18 years and was an advocate for raising mental health awareness.
“Menninger understands many factors contribute to a person’s social and emotional health and that perspective is imperative in developing a BridgeUp model that focuses on mental health to better equip all youth, especially vulnerable youth, to succeed,” said Burton. “Frank and I look forward to the success of BridgeUp at Menninger, which will be evident by the improved health and readiness of youth served in Houston. We are confident that Menninger’s efforts will result in evidenced-based programs that can be integrated into existing BridgeUp models and future initiatives in other cities.”
All seven BridgeUp at Menninger grants are Magic grants because they rely on collaboration and innovation to implement social and emotional learning components into after school initiatives as well as metrics to measure the mental health and well-being of their students. Magic Grants were awarded to Kashmere Community, Connect to Character After-School and Summer Program, Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, Breakthrough Houston, Pasadena ISD, Project GRAD and Workshop Houston. BridgeUp at Menninger after-school programs launched in tandem with the 2016-17 school year, impacting 1,400 students at 28 locations throughout various Greater Houston communities: Kashmere Gardens, Near Northside, Pasadena, Sharpstown, Spring Branch and Third Ward. Grant recipients will be evaluated annually on the basis of process measures, academic outcomes of participating students, and overall social and emotional well-being of those students. To steer the development of BridgeUp and ensure its continued success, Menninger formed an advisory committee comprised of 40 members who represent a cross section of the most important aspects of BridgeUp: mental health, education and community collaboration. The advisory committee was integral in developing the request for proposal for grant applications, and nine members of the advisory committee also served on the grant review team. Grantees were selected based on adaptation of after-school approaches; focus on adolescents living in poverty; formation of long-term cohorts to build peer interaction and support; use of mentors; emphasis on social and emotional learning; focus on tracking and measurement to evaluate progress over time; and reliance on partnerships across organizations.
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Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage PAID Permit #8297 Houston, Texas
of Greater Houston 2211 Norfolk, Suite 810 Houston, Texas 77098
www.mhahouston.org Gwen Emmett, Chair Michael Jhin, Immediate Past Chair Susan Fordice, President and CEO Anne Eldredge, Vice President of Finance and CFO Alejandra Posada, Chief Program Officer Alix CaDavid, Director of Grants and Research Ann McCoy, Director of Impact and Program Evaluation Annalee Gulley, Director of Public Policy and Government Affairs Betsy Blanks, Professional Development Manager, Center for School Behavioral Health Dina Shekhter, Executive Assistant & Board Relations Manager Janet Pozmantier, Director, Center for School Behavioral Health Judith Drummond, Accounting Manager Shari Koziol, Chief Development Officer T’Liza Kiel, Program Manager, Veterans Behavioral Health Tiffany Ross, Director of Education and Outreach Tony Solomon, Director, Veterans Behavioral Health Traci Patterson, Director of Communications
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Published on Oct 31, 2016
7 Ways Mental Health is Changing in Houston --Pearls of Wisdom Highlights • School Behavioral Health Initiative Milestones • The Center for...