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BHLC Serves as National Model to Address Mental Health Issues

Behavioral Health Learning Collaboratives (BHLC) in Michigan, Pennsylvania, Kansas, and California are supporting providers in their states to identify and refer youth in schools who might need mental health services.

Mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and suicide ideation have dramatically increased among youth during COVID. Behavioral health programming can be improved in every state with a BHLC by creating shared resources, procedures and vision about health care coordination. Through multiple collaborations and grants, a network of stakeholders from emergency departments, schools, primary care practices, community-based organizations, behavioral health clinics, families and individuals can come to learn and support one another.

"We have screened over 100,000 youth in Pennsylvania and identified over 4,600 people with suicide ideation since we started using this model," said Guy Diamond, Ph.D., director, Center for Family Intervention Science at Drexel University and BHLC co-director with Tita Atte, M.P.H., C.P.H. "This network has helped disseminate best practices and high-quality research that has greatly benefited Pennsylvania, and could be a resource in all 50 states."

BHLC participants all share the same web-based behavioral health screening system which standardizes data across the state. It offers evidence-based and validated comprehensive screening, tracking, and outcomes measurement. The program also serves as a learning community in this time of COVID (e.g. moving to telehealth).

Nick Jaskiw, Michigan Association of School Psychologists president said,"We see such potential in this BHLC model in identifying students at risk, in saving young lives, and in developing a community of practice that will help change the mental health culture of Michigan. Our state is currently working to launch the BHLC of Michigan in just a few months."

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