School-Based Health Programs for At-Risk Youth
The March 27 issue of AHRQ’s Health Care Innovations Exchange features three school-based programs that enhance access, especially among minorities, to information, preventive care, and clinical services. One of the featured profiles describes Connecticut’s 78 school-based health centers, which offer a broad array of confidential mental health services to elementary, middle, and high school students. Each center has a licensed therapist with a master’s degree and a background in child and adolescent health who offers individual, group, and family counseling; crisis management services; and mental health education. The therapists treat the whole spectrum of mental health and learning disorders, ranging from episodic problems to long-term issues such as autism, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and bipolar disorder. Between 2006 and 2009, 16,700 adolescents visited a center at least once, with the average user visiting nearly five times per year. And 1,130 Hispanic or African-American adolescents received mental health services at a school-based center, with each visiting an average of 14 times during this time period.