Mental Health Grant Project
The Alabama Chapter-AAP implemented a Healthy People 2010 grant project in 2005-2006 by establishing an interdisciplinary mental health task force and carrying out a series of four regional dinner meetings that gave pediatricians the education tools they need to more effectively identify and refer children with mental health needs. In 2008, building upon the success of the 2005-2006 project, the Alabama Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics successfully secured a grant from the AAP (as one of five state Chapters) to expand these efforts into four new areas.
The 2008 project, Strategies for System Change in Children's Mental Health: A Chapter Action Kit, focused on conducting regional roundtable dinner sessions and community service provider forums for local pediatricians. The new roundtable locations, Florence, Opelika, Selma, and Dothan, were planned by the already established Chapter Mental Health Advisory Committee (comprised of member pediatricians and key representatives from the Alabama Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, the Alabama Department of Public Health and family members representing Alabama Family Ties and the National Alliance on Mental Illness-Alabama) in cooperation with local arms of each agency and local primary care and mental health providers. This project served as an outgrowth of what is already a strong collaboration in Alabama.
The overarching goal of the 2008 project was to increase pediatricians' comfort level in accessing mental health services for their patients and families by establishing local children's mental health networks and identifying local community referrals. Coordinated by a local key pediatrician, the roundtable meetings brought together pediatricians, community mental health center professionals, psychiatrists, early intervention professionals, and others serving the needs of children and families. The project relied heavily on the strong collaborations with community mental health provider professionals, child serving agency providers, and partnerships with families.
Our strategy at each of the sessions required the participation of the local community mental health center and their child and family service providers to complete a Community Resource Information form that cataloged the services provided by their specific program, contact information, linkage requirements for pediatricians, and preferred insurance accepted by their agency. Likewise, the local pediatricians completed a Community Resource Inventory form and a Pre-Meeting Survey that identified and inventoried areas of specific need. Each of the roundtables highlighted information and resources on Bright Futures' new mental health materials. Both the templates for the regional sessions and the progress of each region are catalogued on the Chapter web site's mental health pages along with a Local Comprehensive Children's Mental Resource Directory.
Outgrowths and "grant-expanding" successes from these projects have included:
- Collaboration between the Alabama Chapter-AAP and its mental health partners resulted in the Alabama Assuring Better Child Health and Development (ABCD) Screening Academy project, developed through technical assistance as a National Academy for State Health Policy grantee.
- Creation of a white paper, Needs Assessment and Recommendations on Children's Mental Health in Alabama
- Creation of a legislative agenda for children's mental health
- Creation of the Alabama Chapter-AAP Mental Health Coalition
- Creation of mental health resources directories and other resources for pediatricians
- Partnership with the Alabama Department of Mental Health, the Alabama Department of Public Health and Alabama Family Ties on the annual Child & Adolescent Psychiatric Institute
- Quality continuing medical education sessions at the Alabama Chapter-AAP's two yearly meetings on mental health screening, triage and treatment
- Holding an open forum on children's mental health in 2007
- Successful securing a grant from the AAP to conduct two open forums on developmental services in 2009 - 2010
- Chapter representation on the ADMH Child & Adolescent Task Force
- Chapter representation on the Blueprint from Zero to Five project
- Chapter representation on the ALL Kids
- Continued statewide spread of standardized developmental screening
- Alabama Chapter-AAP Mental Health Resources and other links
- Alabama Department of Mental Health
- Alabama Department of Public Health