Recommendations from the Child and Adolescent Behavioral Health StudyThis week’s blog is written by Tom Barnet, Chair, Spartanburg County Behavioral Health Taskforce
Spartanburg County Behavioral Health Task ForceIn 2012, the Joint Funders, consisting of Mary Black Foundation, Spartanburg Regional Foundation, The Spartanburg County Foundation, and United Way of the Piedmont, conducted a detailed needs assessment of behavioral health in Spartanburg County. This Behavioral Health Needs Assessment for Spartanburg County was the springboard for the Behavioral Health Taskforce (BHTF), and the implementation of a host of community changes in how we address behavioral and mental health issues.
Focus on Child and Adolescent HealthIn 2019, we revisited that concept with a direct focus on child and adolescent needs. Funded in large part by the Mary Black Foundation and with additional support from the seven Spartanburg School Districts and the BHTF, more than 40 professionals, hands-on to youth questions and needs, convened over a series of several months to develop a list of ten recommendations, strategies and priorities. Recommendations
- The expansion of ACEs, initially funded by the BHTF, is a critical component of building a trauma-informed community and trauma-resilient youth. Plans are being developed to reach out to pre-school and daycare service providers, to smaller law-enforcement jurisdictions, and to afterschool programs, among others.
- Mental Health First Aid (MHFA), generally recognized as the optimal training for those in contact with individuals in crisis, is being re-introduced and expanded. Likewise, we will see an expansion of parent education programs.
- Hospital Emergency Department (ED) and School Counselors are trying to develop new and common protocols for youth in crisis.
- A resource location alternative for youth, not dissimilar to the Peer Support Living Room established here for adults, is under joint discussion between Spartanburg and Greenville.
- Modifications to the ED facilities for children and adolescents are being seriously evaluated.
- The Department of Mental Health is committed to embedding high-quality professional counselors in every school in Spartanburg by 2023.