A partnership between
Alegent Health and
Omaha Public Schools (OPS) has been designed to address mental and
behavioral health issues that affect school-age children. This
partnership further works to breakdown learning barriers that are often
associated with such behaviors.
The project, titled “Integrated Mental Health Services in the Schools”, is a comprehensive, multifaceted approach that brings mental health professionals and services into Omaha elementary schools for the benefit of teachers, students, and family members. The program was piloted at Kellom, Indian Hill, and Wakonda public elementary schools and at Holy Name Parochial School during the 2006-07 academic year. Met with tremendous success, the program has been sustained at each of the schools and is looking to expand to include one OPS Middle School.
The Integrated Mental Health Services in the Schools project began with each school assisting in the hiring process of a school liaison. Although employed through Alegent Health, each school was able to select from a pool of qualified candidates the individual who best matched their schools specific needs. This liaison is a licensed mental health professional (LMHP) that provides classroom observation, intervention, and student therapy in addition to teaching parenting classes and offering therapy services to families.
The second prong of the program included the implementation of HeartMath technology at each of the schools. HeartMath has three tools that are proven to reduce stress, boost performance, and enhance well-being while empowering students and teachers to self-manage their behavior. These tools include:
The final prong of the program incorporates life coaching offered
through Alegent Health’s Life Coaching Center. Life coaching is designed
to build on student and staff improvements made through the HeartMath
The success of Integrated Mental Health Services in the Schools is far reaching. Principals share that parents who have previously not been active in their child’s education are returning phone calls and keeping appointments with the family liaison. One school shared that a student who was out of medication and typically would have been suspended or sent home due to uncontrollable behavior, instead used Freeze-Frame to help them stabilize and refocus on positive emotions and as a result, stayed in school.
The Kim Foundation is pleased to support this partnership. We must address the health and well-being of our children today, so we can be assured of the promise that they hold for us tomorrow.
For additional information on the Integrated Mental Health Services in the Schools project please contact Terri Khan, Project Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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