ECBH expands school-based mental health services

East Carolina Behavioral Health (ECBH) recently awarded funding for school-based mental health and substance use services to five of its contracted Network Providers. Awardees include Integrated Family Services for Bertie and Hertford Counties; Northeastern Counseling Services for Gates County; PORT Human Services for Dare County; Still Waters (Heartworks Children’s Home Missions) for Pamlico County; and The Family Wellness Center for Beaufort County. The awards were timed to coincide with the beginning of the new school year.

“The primary focus of this start-up funding,” says ECBH Executive Director Leza Wainwright, “is to establish school-based services that address the treatment needs of children through co-location of behavioral health practitioners in each of the identified county school systems. Since children are already present in school, this approach addresses transportation and potential stigma barriers by bringing the services to the children, rather than forcing children to go to the services. It also creates a beneficial partnership with the local schools.”

Research has shown initiatives like this result in improved attendance and test scores; reduction in the achievement gap; decrease in discipline problems in classrooms; a drop in suspension, expulsion, and dropout rates; and improved social and emotional functioning for students. Families and communities also see positive outcomes, including decreased need for more intensive mental health services; improved quality of family life; enhanced support from peers, the community, and school and mental health personnel; fewer youth in the juvenile justice system; and safer, more effective schools.

With this recent award, the five selected providers will expand the school-based mental health services into six of the 19 counties ECBH covers in eastern North Carolina. Over the last two years, these services have been funded for Camden, Chowan, Currituck, Hyde, Martin, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties.

East Carolina Behavioral Health is a Local Management Entity/Managed Care Organization (LME/MCO) responsible for publicly-funded behavioral health and intellectual/ developmental disability services and supports for people living in northeastern North Carolina. The counties that comprise the ECBH area are Beaufort, Bertie, Camden, Chowan, Craven, Currituck, Dare, Gates, Hertford, Hyde, Martin, Pamlico, Pasquotank, Perquimans, Pitt, Tyrrell and Washington.
For more information, please contact Georgia Claxton, ECBH Communications Director, at 252-695-6400 or gclaxton@ecbhlme.org.

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