MP MHTTC Staff at the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health

Mountain Plains MHTTC Team Members Speak at National Conference on Advancing School Mental Health

Publication Date: Nov 15, 2019

November 15, 2019

Thomasine Heitkamp, Director of the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC), Dr. Sarah Nielsen at the University of North Dakota, and Stefanie Winfield with the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education Behavioral Health Program all represented the Mountain Plains MHTTC at the National Conference on Advancing School Mental Health. The conference, held in Austin, Texas November 7-9, brought together local, state, national, and international experts to advance knowledge and skills related to school mental health practice, research, training and policy. Conference attendees included educators, administrators, student instructional support personnel, health and mental health practitioners, family members, youth, policymakers, researchers, advocates, child-serving agency and organization staff. You can learn more about the sessions presented by the Mountain Plains MHTTC team members below, and access their slide decks!

Best Practices in School Mental Health
Stefanie Winfield & Sarah Younggren
Using Mental Health Colorado’s School Mental Health Toolkit as a framework, presenters discussed “Top 10 Best Practices in School Mental Health,” and provided guidelines and suggestions to implement best practices and advocacy/communication strategies for promoting and effecting positive change in school mental health. Participants worked independently and in groups to assess their schools, determine priorities for addressing mental health programming and services improvements, and left this session with an action plan and clear next steps.

Building Capacity of Rural School Personnel to Address Mental Health Needs of Students through Communities of Practice
Sarah Nielsen, Susan Bazyk, Tanja Brown, & Thomasine Heitkamp
Rural schools face unique challenges when addressing the mental health of students. This presentation described a Communities of Practice (CoP) Model pilot project targeting implementation of a multi-tiered approach to address school mental health in six rural schools across three states. Presenters described: a) unique features of rural schools; b) CoP practice approach utilized; c) strengths and weaknesses of the CoP process, and d) identified strengths and barriers to implementing a multi-tiered approach in rural settings.

MHTTC Staff at the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health
MHTTC Staff at the Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health