Coalition Aims to Improve Mental Health Care for Durham Public School Students

A broad coalition of agencies led by is working to provide better mental health care for children in Durham, North Carolina, the reports.

Funded by a four-year, $1.6 million grant from the , the Integrated Pediatric Mental Health Care Collaboration will work to improve mental health care for students in the through three linked initiatives: assessing and evaluating current pediatric mental healthcare services and identifying gaps in care and collaboration; training emergency department providers and staff as well as teachers and school staff to identify pediatric mental health issues through a targeted curriculum; and developing, implementing, and evaluating the impact of innovative school-based models to improve the transition of care between systems. The project also will track all children, about two hundred a year, who are seen at Duke's psychiatric emergency department. An additional aim of the initiative is to keep students from dropping out of school.

Partners in the collaboration include the Durham Center, Northern Piedmont Community Care, Duke's , and Duke Medicine's , , and .

"We've all been in individual silos and it's not been a very efficient way to approach problems, leverage the different investments we have, and make sure we are producing lasting outcomes," said Helen Egger, head of the at Duke, who is leading the initiative. "[The collaboration] brings different expertise and resources together. We know that individually we don't have all the solutions, but together, as a community, we can help find the answers."

Neil Offen. "." Herald Sun 11/26/2012. Neil Offen. "." Herald Sun 11/26/2012.