Skip to main content
  • NCSMH Banner

Practice

Baltimore City School Mental Health Program

Program Staff: 

  • Nancy Lever, PhD, Execituve Director
  • Jennifer Cox, LCSW-C, Program Director
  • Kelly Willis, LCSW-C, Associate Director
  • Brittany Patterson, PhD, Faculty Advisor
  • Sharon Hoover, PhD, Senior Advisor
  • Ellie Davis, LCSW-C, Managing Director

The SMHP staff is a dedicated and close knit interdisciplinary team comprised of psychologists, social workers, professional counselors, psychiatrists, and trainees guided by youth, families and school staff.

Program Partners:

Behavioral Health Systems Baltimore; Baltimore City Schools

Program Description:

The SMHP team is dedicated to removing barriers to learning and creating a safe and nurturing learning environment in which students and families are able to rapidly access a range of culturally sensitive and effective prevention and therapeutic services that promote wellness and academic success.  The SMHP aims to accomplish this by positively impacting schools by way of focusing on building the schools’ capacity to support social emotional wellness through strengthening the school climate and teachers/administrators’ abilities to serve students with mental health concerns, as well as offering effective prevention, intervention, and treatment services to students and families.

The SMHP is committed to integrating evidence-based practices (EBP’s) into three tiers of prevention, with a strong focus on school-family-community partnerships. Additionally the SMHP has a growing telepsychiatry program that is supported by the University of Maryland, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, and the National Center for School Mental Health.  This program helps to address the national shortage of child and adolescent psychiatrists while also increasing access to Psychiatrist, reducing barriors to care and developing a workforce of 21st Century providers who are trained and engaged in the use of telemental health. Learn more.

Contact:

Jennifer Cox jfcox@som.umaryland.edu

Bring Families and Schools Together (BFAST)

Project Staff:

  • Courtney Vaughan, LCSW-C, School Transition Specialist
  • Fatima Logan, Family Connector

Funding Source:

University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS)

Project Description:

Bringing Families and Schools Together (BFAST) is a free 3-month service offered to families who have had a child experience a psychiatric hospitalization at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Children are eligible if they attend school in Baltimore City, Baltimore County or Anne Arundel County. The purpose of the program is to support students, families and school staff as a student returns to their school and community following a psychiatric hospitalization. Participating families receive transition support from a licensed clinical social worker and a trained Family Connector who provides peer support. Originally named the School Transition Program (STP), the program was developed by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) as part of the Medicaid 1915c Waiver in Maryland to promote communication across settings, increase youth and family resources and support during the transition, and to ultimately prevent re-hospitalizations. This program and its procedures are described in a set of online training modules that were created through a grant from the Maryland BHA.

Contact:

Courtney Vaughan, cvaughan@som.umaryland.edu

Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative

Program Staff:

  • Dana Cunningham, PhD, Program Director 

Program Partners:

Maryland State Department of Education and Prince George’s County Public Schools

Program Description:

The goal of the PGSMHI is to provide an integrated model of mental health services in the least restrictive setting to students with emotional/behavioral disorders in Prince George’s County Public Schools who are at risk of attending non-public special education programs. The PGSMHI staff, comprised of clinicians and case managers, implement a full continuum of evidenced-based practices, provide intensive family support, and enhance staff competency through on-going educational training to support students’ behavioral and academic success. The key components of the PGSMHI focus on developing supportive relationships with youth and their families, decreasing risk factors and stressors, and enhancing strengths and protective factors through relevant interventions.

Our team from the Prince George's School Mental Health Initiative have compiled a list of resources to support students and families during the current COVID-19 crisis: COVID Resources for Families

Contact:

Dana Cunningham, dcunning@som.umaryland.edu

Telemental Health In Schools

Project Staff:

  • David Pruitt, MD, Principal Investigator
  • Jennifer Cox, MSW, Clinician, Associate Director
  • Kelly Willis, MSW, Clinician, Assistant Director
  • Nancy Lever, PhD, Faculty Consultant
  • Sharon Hoover, PhD, Faculty Consultant

Funding Source:

Maryland Department of Health

Project Partners:

University of Maryland School Mental Health Program

Project Description:

The integration of telepsychiatry into school-based mental health has the potential to increase access to services and improve efficiency of service delivery. However, very few programs that focus on school-based telepsychiatry exist. The University of Maryland School Mental Health Program (SMHP) began providing mental health services in 1989. The SMHP currently provides universal mental health promotion, early identification, prevention and intervention services in 27 Baltimore City Public Schools. Since 2014 the SMHP has been a component of the UM Child and Adolescent Child Psychiatry Fellowship and has trained 2nd year psychiatry fellows in school mental health service provision. Psychiatry fellows are assigned to 2-3 school sites and work in partnership with school mental health clinicians to provide psychiatric services within a comprehensive, multi-tiered system of support. There are approximately 7 fellows and 20 clinicians who serve 27 schools. Fellows provide direct care psychiatry and support a comprehensive, multi-tiered system of mental health promotion, prevention and intervention supports via a blend of in-person and telepsychiatry. The SMHP has collected program evaluation data to inform quality improvement for many years. The current project is funded by the Maryland Department of Health to understand psychiatrists’ productivity, effectiveness, expectations and experiences providing school-based telepsychiatry in order to inform ongoing expansion and improvements of school telepsychiatry service models.

Contact:

Elizabeth Connors, elizabeth.connors@yale.edu