The Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy (PBHJP) serves a lead role in evaluating the implementation and impact of Washington State’s 5-year, $10 million Mental Health Transformation (MHT) State Infrastructure Grant. Eric J. Bruns, Ph.D., serves as the Principal Investigator. The main goals of the Evaluation are to hold the MHT program accountable to its intended outcomes and to provide information useful to managing the initiative. The Evaluation Team also helps to ensure accountability to SAMHSA for the performance and outcomes of the grant.
Evaluation of the MHTP is overseen by a diverse Evaluation Team that includes adult and youth consumers as well as researchers and representatives of state agencies and provider organizations. The Evaluation Team has established a mission that emphasizes five goals for the evaluation:
The evaluation is guided by a logic model that is used to review MHTP goals, activities, and outcomes, and to guide decisions around evaluation priorities. To date, the Evaluation project has completed multiple research projects to evaluate and inform the MHT program, with FactSheets summarizing results of each of these studies. In addition, PBHJP and Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training (WIMHRT) oversee an innovative project to provide research and evaluation “mini-grants” to consumer, youth, family members, and advocacy organizations. This mini-grant project is overseen by Maria Monroe-DeVita and Cindy Willey of WIMHRT.
For more information on the Evaluation of Washington’s MHT program, see the Evaluation Page on the project’s website.
In coordination with the Washington State Mental Health Transformation Project, the Division of Public Behavioral Health and Justice Policy is proposing to collaborate with Public Health – Seattle & King County (PHSKC), the City of Seattle, and Seattle Public schools to evaluate outcomes associated with school-based health centers located in 4 middle and 10 high schools in Seattle. These centers provide medical and mental health services to students regardless of insurance status; consequently, these centers often provide services for students who have no where else to go to get medical care and counseling.
Schools are increasingly being identified as the most efficient arena in which to identify and address mental health problems in children (Weist, 1999; Bruns, Moore, Stephan et al., 2005). Accordingly, nearly 75% of all children’s mental health contacts occur within schools (Burns et al., 1995). School-based health centers are in the unique position of identifying those youth who are at increased-risk of school drop-out or failure due to medical or mental health challenges. To date, however, there is little research that documents the effectiveness of these school-based services in treating this high-risk population.
The current evaluation will serve two purposes; first, as an internal quality review for PHSKC, the City of Seattle, and the Seattle Public Schools in which data can be used to support further funding and/or to inform how to focus resources to serve the highest need youth. Second, the evaluation will inform the broader literature as to the efficacy of school-based health services in positively affecting the academic trajectory for at-risk youth.
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