Security Health Plan investing $100,000 in behavioral health grants
For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — Recognizing the best intervention is early intervention, Security Health Plan of Wisconsin Inc. announced on Aug. 25 that it is investing $100,000 in school-based behavioral health grants in 2016.
“Behavioral health well-being is extremely important for children’s ability to learn and strive academically,” said Jay Shrader, director of disease management and wellness. “Identifying children at risk and providing behavioral health interventions in school can have benefits far beyond the classroom and help children thrive.”
Security Health Plan is partnering with Marathon County Special Education and Mindfield LLC to train elementary teachers in 25 school districts within its 32-county service area to use the Behavioral, Emotional and Social traits (b.e.s.t.) universal screening system that will help identify behavioral health issues that might require intervention.
Developed by Eric Hartwig, Ph.D., administrator of Pupil Services for the Marathon County Children with Disabilities Education Board and school psychologist, the b.e.s.t. universal screening is used to quantify behavioral observations and determine if a child needs intensive, focused attention.
“The purpose of screening emotional, behavioral, and social issues is to first identify behavioral health status for each student in the classroom,” Hartwig said. “That includes those children who are successful in school so far as well as identifying risk factors for those who may, because of personal-social problems, have limited capability functioning in the classroom.
“Other than family, no one spends more time with students than teachers, so it’s natural to use their observations for 26 specific behaviors that are indicative of problems now or suggest that difficulties may occur in the future. Most importantly, that information will be used to provide children with additional support to help address identified needs.”
Hartwig stressed that a child who may need intervention is not necessarily the most difficult or disruptive voice in the classroom. It may be the child who does not interact, is anxious, or is socially withdrawn.
Security Health Plan will cover the cost of project implementation and consultation to help schools translate screening results and integrate intervention into practice.
The application period for Healthy Schools Grants is underway, and applications are due by 5 p.m. on Sept. 30. The grants are for the 2016-2017 school year. More information is available at securityhealth.org/best.