The NC School Mental Health Initiative (NC SMHI) is a multi-disciplinary partnership of stakeholders related to the provision of mental health services to children and youth. NC SMHI reflects partnerships across disciplines, including community mental health providers, educators, advocates, lawyers, university officials, and parents, with the goal to provide policy/legislative support and recommendations for accessible, high-quality, and coordinated mental health services. The NC SMHI provides implementation and monitoring support related to mental health services that:
- Promote healthy development of social, emotional, and/or behavioral functioning
- Prevent problems with social, emotional, and/or behavioral functioning
- Respond to students experiencing concerns or problems with social, emotional, and behavioral functioning
- Prevent and treat substance abuse.
The NC SMHI has crafted recommendations for equitable access to high quality and well-coordinated mental health and substance abuse services including:
- Continuum of supports and services for student mental health and substance abuse.
- Strategies to foster sustainability.
- Engagement of all stakeholders.
The NC SMHI meets every 2-3 months via a combination of in-person and virtual meetings. In-person meetings are rotated throughout the state. There are also regional SMHI networks in each of the 8 NC State Board of Education Districts. The regional networks support effective practices at the local level by providing an informed structure to guide implementation planning, identifying replicable practices that support effective implementation, and address challenges or barriers to implementation of comprehensive school mental health services and support. A standing agenda item for the NC SMHI and regional network meetings includes transfer of knowledge and resources from Project AWARE/ACTIVATE sites to surrounding counties. In addition, Project AWARE/ACTIVATE roles for the NC SMHI include sharing resources, especially universal/core practices, developed and/or implementing, supporting meeting agenda development, meeting logistics, raising awareness regarding Project AWARE/ACTIVATE, and demonstrating responsible sequence of local capacity-building.
The NC SMHI is part of a cascading teaming structure and directly linked to the work of the NC Social and Emotional Implementation Team.
To learn more about the NC SMHI and/or register for the listserv please visit the LiveBinder website.