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  • Shankar Thiru

Aspiring for Universal Screening for Mental Health and School-based behavioral health

We partnered with the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Mental and Behavioral Health Initiative to try and approach the crisis of mental health from two fronts: universal screening for mental health and school-based mental and behavioral health. A major issue in detection of mental health is the difficulty to recognize signs of mental health illnesses, especially in kids. However, early detection is essential to altering the trajectory for those at risk. A solution is to increase the frequency of detection by having screening become routine. Children's has now implemented screening in all their primary care offices, making screening for depression and anxiety a consistent part of every interaction throughout the health system, regardless of the initial complaint for the visit.

Furthermore, mental health has a particular prominence in the educational setting. Many students suffer from mental health challenges that may interfere with learning and academic successes. To lower the occurrence of this, Children's has developed a public-private partnership to provide mental health services at Milwaukee Public schools and other schools across the state. The program additionally removes barriers such as difficulty of finding a provider, financial constraints and transportation. We are now helping Children's to grow this program to more schools to increase the number of students served.

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