The Alabama Department of Mental Health has worked diligently to expand and grow the School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) Program since its inception in 2010. The SBMH Program is a joint collaboration between the Alabama Department of Mental Health (ADMH) and the Alabama State Department of Education (ALSDE). ADMH works to link its community mental health providers with ALSDE’s local education agencies to form a partnership at the community level. The goal of the collaboration is to ensure that children and adolescents, both general and special education, enrolled in local school systems have access to high-quality mental health prevention, early intervention, and treatment services.
The aim is to achieve greater integration of mental health services between mental health centers and public schools as well as to increase the utilization of evidence-based practices. The integration of these services will foster continuity of care and ensure sustained gains in academic, emotional, behavioral, and developmental domains for children, youth, and their families. By offering mental health services in the school, the goal is to address barriers families often face when seeking services. Common barriers include lack of transportation, school/work absences, stigma associated with mental health, and difficulty knowing how to access services.
ADMH has received funds to initiate new SBMH programs and expand/support existing SBMH programs since the 2018-2019 fiscal year. These funds provide the opportunity for SBMH programs to continue to expand and serve children and adolescents in every part of Alabama.
ADMH received $1 million in FY23 to support 20 programs and another $1 million in FY24. We currently have 101 school systems and 18 community mental health centers participating in the School-Based Mental Health Collaboration Program.