The need to be more creative in the face of shrinking resources combined with the movements toward ESMH, RTI, and PBIS has led to increased attention on interprofessional collaboration.
The goals of ESMH are to promote youth mental health and remove barriers to learning by bringing mental health service providers into the schools (Waxman et al.
Given the reality of poor capacity in child and adolescent education, and in mental health systems, we must develop advocacy and build infrastructure to promote ESMH, including systematic strategies to:
Involve youth, families, school staff, community leaders (including faith communities), university personnel, business leaders, advocates, and legislators in efforts to advance ESMH.
Early data indicate that ESMH programs are, in fact, associated with improved learning and behavioral outcomes for schools and for students (Armbruster, Gerstein, & Fallon, 1997; Armbruster & Lichtman, 1999; Nabors & Reynolds, 2000; Weist, Paskewitz, Warner, & Flaherty, 1996).
However, the ESMH movement is young, with most programs being developed in the 1990s and in this new decade (Flaherty, Weist, & Warner, 1996; Waxman, Weist, & Benson, 1999; Weist et al.
Thus, a sequence of activities involving restructuring of education "support" services to enable student learning, and enrichment of secondary prevention and tertiary care through ESMH
, begins to move a school or school district toward a system of care.
6,7,9,10] In addition, Armbruster and colleagues provided thoughtful suggestions for ESMH programs interested in developing working relationships with MCOs.
12] The purpose of these meetings has been to convene a panel of national experts to discuss important topics and future directions for the ESMH field.
The growth of ESMH
programs coincides with the development of school-based health centers (SBHCs) that offer primary health care including treatment of injury and acute illness, physical examinations and laboratory tests, and in some cases, reproductive health services.
As evidence mounts that ESMH
programs have multiple beneficial outcomes for youth, it will become possible to determine with more precision which specific treatments and treatment elements are related to positive changes for children with specific problems, such as phobias or depression.
The Center for School Mental Health Assistance (CSMHA) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore, is engaged in the process of identifying critical issues in need of attention for ESMH
programs to advance.