Grants Awarded to Improve Access to Behavioral Health Services in Schools

Today, four eastern Idaho schools received the Healthy Minds Technical Assistance grant from the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health (the Foundation) to improve student access to needed behavioral health services. With the grant, schools and behavioral health providers will build partnerships to bring needed behavioral health services into schools.

Approximately $15,000 will provide Declo Junior High School, Cassia Alternative High School, Irving Middle School and Blackfoot High School with weekly coaching and support through July 2019 to build partnerships with community behavioral health providers. Additionally, the technical assistance grant will allow the participating schools to connect with Treasure Valley schools and providers during an upcoming learning collaborative.

Connor Sheldon
Program Officer
Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation for Health

“Idaho schools are more than a place for learning. We need to go beyond teaching and provide easy access to behavioral health services,” said Connor Sheldon, a Program Officer at the Foundation. “In the state of Idaho, bringing providers into schools is a reimbursable service and by helping schools build the partnership, we can provide the services students need and create sustainable change.”

“There can never be too much help available for children, especially when it comes to the whole student and fostering healthy minds,” says Andrea Gochnour, a counselor at Cassia Alternative High School.

According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, 1 in 5 children ages 13-18 have, or will have a serious mental illness. CDC research indicates 1 out of 7 children aged 2 – 8 years are reported to have a diagnosed mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder.

The Foundation continues to support behavioral health for children. Last year, the Foundation supported a similar program at two Nampa-area schools. Some of the students who received behavioral health services at the schools showed an improvement in GPA and attendance.

The success of the program in the Nampa School District motivated the Foundation to create the Healthy Minds Partnership Technical Assistance Grant. This grant will help scale the program to other areas of Idaho and provide schools the support needed to partner with behavioral health providers and make behavioral health services more accessible to Idaho students.