1. They received a $4 million grant about a year ago
Lachelle Freeman, a grant project director with Partners Behavioral Health Management, said the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant offers $1 million annually over four years. Partners is using the funding to increase access to mental health services for children and families by training local health care providers and connecting pediatricians and physicians to a network of mental health professionals and service providers, Freeman said. The grant serves Gaston, Lincoln, Burke and Iredell counties, and the primary focus is providing better support for children with mental health disorders that impact their daily lives. The idea, Freeman said, is for a child to be able to go to the doctor to get a routine physical but also be directed to other types of care if their mental or social health is impacting his or her overall wellbeing.
2. During the first year of funding, training was provided
Partners wrapped up its first year of SAMHSA funding on Sept. 30, and the new year started Oct. 1. During the first year, Freeman said Partners focused on education and training. Partners manages and promotes the Triple P Positive Parenting Program, so they used the grant to provide training for 20 health care professionals across Gaston, Lincoln, Burke and Iredell counties. Health care providers trained in Triple P technique can give parents “simple and practical strategies to help them build strong, healthy relationships, confidently manage their children’s behavior and prevent problems (from developing),” according to the Triple P website. This training, Freeman said, will help parents gain a better understanding of what services their child may need to improve his or her overall health – not just the physical component.
3. The first integrated care facility is in Gaston County
Last month Partners started working with Piedmont Adult & Pediatric Medicine Associates, P.A in Gaston. Professionals in the office were trained on Partners’ approach to health care and connected to a network of other trusted health professionals chosen by Partners that they can refer patients to. Freeman said the pediatric clinics are “gateways” to addressing overall health, so partnering with them is important. Children can go to the clinic for a routine exam, and then “they’re able to have a warm handoff to a live person who can help connect them to another person.” Freeman called it a “team-based approach” where instead of doctors giving a pamphlet with phone numbers to call, they can connect families directly to someone who can help and understand why that person could be of help to their child.
4. Partners has goals and ideas for boosting community health
Freeman said the goal over the next three years is to work on making a collective impact. “It’s a way to make population health changes,” she said. Instead of pediatricians, mental health professionals and other health providers functioning separately, the hope is to come up with one goal “in terms of social determinants of health” and ways to measure the success of their plan to achieve that goal, Freeman said. She’d like to host public forums where children and families who are receiving or think they’d like to receive these services can weigh in and sit at the table with professional health care providers.
To learn more about this program, call 1-888-235-4673 or visit www.providers.partnersbhm.org/partners-nc-systems-of-care-expansion.