Integrated School Mental Health Conference Held in Helena


Thursday, March 3, 2011
By Allyson Hagen
406-444-3160

Integrated School Mental Health Conference Held in Helena


HELENA, MT - Montana’s Office of Public Instruction (OPI) in collaboration with the Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will hold the 2nd annual Integrated School Mental Health Initiative conference on March 3 and 4 at the Best Western Great Northern Hotel in Helena. Nearly 200 school staff, mental health providers and others interested in advancing school mental health will gather to build statewide and district capacity for implementing school mental health programs.


Superintendent of Public Instruction Denise Juneau said, "It's critical that we do all we can to eliminate barriers to student success. Addressing the mental health needs of our students ensures they are able to focus on learning when they're in the classroom."

 

The two-day conference will feature keynotes by Dr. Mark Weist, professor from the University of South Carolina, Anna Whiting Sorrell, Director of the Department of Public Health and Human Services and Denise Juneau, Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Dr. Weist is currently a Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of South Carolina. He was on the faculty of the University of Maryland School of Medicine for 19 years where he helped found and direct the Center for School Mental Health, one of two national centers providing leadership to the advancement of school mental health policies and programs in the United States.

 

This new collaboration between DPHHS and OPI aims to improve access to quality mental health services to youth across the state. Research shows that school mental health programs improve educational outcomes. If the mental health needs of students go unmet, students are at a disadvantage to achieving academic success.

 

To download a complete program of the Integrated School Mental Health Initiative conference visit: http://opi.mt.gov/PDF/Health/Participant_Agenda.pdf

 

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