According to a recent report published by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the term mental health addresses how children (birth 12 years) and adolescents (13-22 years) think, feel and as they face the challenges of life. SAMSHA also states mental health is a very important part of children’s and adolescents development due to the fact it affects how they handle challenges, learn and progress, form friendships and make decisions about their lives…it also influences the way they look at themselves.
According to this same publication, almost 21 percent of U.S. children have a diagnosable mental health or addictive disorder that affects their ability to function. In any given year, 5 to 9 percent of youth ages 9-17 have a serious emotional disturbance that causes substantial impairment in how they function at home at school or in the community. In 2011, Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. received a two year grant from the Division of Mental Health and Addictions to develop a regional System of Care (SOC) to serve such children and their families in Vanderburgh, Gibson, Posey and Warrick Counties. The purpose of the initial grant was to establish an interagency collaboration, referred to as a System of Care (SOC), which will coordinate services for families who have children struggling with emotional and behavioral challenges. However, the work has continued through in-kind donations and the support of Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare, Inc. to insure the SOC can continue.
On an individual and family base, our programs have made a tremendous impact on the social, academic, economic, and family functioning of those we have served. We hear about these successes during local consortium meetings, referrals, and governance board meetings. The intensity of our High Fidelity Wraparound has kept youth from being removed from their community by providing wrap around and support services to the families. However, with the number of children and families potentially in need of services we could increase the impact we make to our community by increasing the number of partners and programs and services we have to offer. Though this takes more staff, more time, more program coordination….and of course more dedicated funding.
Our current youth and family serving partners include, but are not limited to: Vanderburgh County Department of Child Services, Warrick County Department of Child Services, Posey County Department of Child Services, Vanderburgh County Juvenile Probation, Youth First, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation, United Way, Mental Health America, Holly’s House, Lampion Center, Choices, St. Mary’s Hospital, YMCA, Parenting Time Center, Mulberry Center, Evansville Psychiatric Children’s Center, Southwestern Behavioral Healthcare, Inc., Southwestern, Healthcare, Inc., Hillcrest Washington Youth Home.
Need for Funding
Indiana’s vision for the state is that all young people, surrounded by supportive adults, achieve wellness, engage in their community, and together, promote wellness for generations to come.
Locally our SOC has identified a need to create meaningful systems reforms which align with SOC principles by removing barriers for youth and families and producing lifelong improvements in their wellbeing. Specifically, reforms include remediating organizational process barriers, decreasing service gaps, improving service accessibility, and expanding evidenced based practices especially in our rural counties which are underserved.
The financial support of our SOC programs, services, and infrastructure is essential for the success of the overall mission of the organization – to improve the entire community’s quality of life. We believe promoting positive youth development and forging collaborations to help them succeed is the key.