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Minnesota communities will share $33 million to provide needed mental health care to kids

School-Linked Mental Health programs offer early identification, services

10/18/2018 9:43:32 AM

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Sarah Berg
The Minnesota Department of Human Services has awarded 57 mental health providers a total of $33 million – $11 million per year for three years – to bring mental health services to over half of Minnesota schools. 
Minnesota’s School-Linked Mental Health program is a critical piece of the state’s mental health services for children. Programs help identify mental health needs early, make services available to more children in need, and improve outcomes for children and youth with a mental health diagnosis. Services include assessment, treatment and care coordination, teacher consultation and school-wide trainings. Placing children’s mental health services in schools provides an opportunity for mental health promotion, prevention and early identification and intervention in a place that is familiar and comfortable for them and their families. 
“School-linked mental health services meet kids where they are at,” said Minnesota Department of Human Services Commissioner Emily Piper. “These grants will help us provide needed services to those in need, which is good for parents and kids.”
The School-Linked Mental Health Program began in 2006 and has since expanded to serve schools in 83 of Minnesota’s 87 counties. Over the previous five-year grant that ended June 2018, 15,000 students received mental health services from 953 school programs in 287 school districts across the state. 
These services help children who have mental illness stay in school and be successful. The program has proven particularly effective in reaching children who have never accessed mental health services, and many children with mental illness are first identified through this program. 
“We know that untreated mental health issues make it harder for kids to learn,” added Piper. “Children need a good start, and if they get the right help at the right time, they can be successful in school and in life.”
A full list of grantees is available on the DHS website, along with more information about the School-Linked Mental Health program.
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