National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation
   

Key Activities for the Mental Health Workgroup (MHW)

The primary function for the MHW is to provide guidance and oversight for mental health/mental health consultation services and supports within your Head Start/Early Head Start program. This can include a wide variety of activities depending on where your program is in terms of implementing mental health services and supports. If you do not already have a mental health specific vision and strategic plan, we recommend using this committee to establish these critical components (see Tutorial 8 for more information about how to do this.

Once you have established a mental-health strategic plan and a vision for mental health services, the Mental Health Workgroup can provide oversight to the strategic plan, taking responsibility for ensuring that planned activities are implemented, progress is reviewed, and that the plan remains a “living document” that guides mental health services and supports. Some of the things that the committee might also engage in are:

  • Developing, maintaining, and reviewing the Mental Health Strategic Plan
  • Participating in a mental health consultation needs assessment
  • Overseeing hiring and/or contracting of mental health consultants, including developing RFPs, contract specifications, job descriptions, and interviewing candidates.
  • Developing and implementing a plan for disseminating the vision for mental health services across program components
  • Developing and implementing a training plan for mental health across program components, including identifying staff and family training needs and how these will be met
  • Developing and implementing quality improvement and monitoring systems for mental health/mental health consultation services in your program
  • Reviewing information collected through quality improvement efforts and make recommendations for program improvements
  • Identifying and engaging other community partners to support mental health services in your program and in the community
  • Providing a link between Head Start and other child serving systems that also address children’s mental health (child welfare, early care and education, homeless education, developmental pediatricians, special education, etc.)
  • Developing, implementing and overseeing staff wellness activities and approach
  • Responding to community events that may impact the mental health of program staff and families (e.g., function as a crisis response team)

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Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development National Center for Effective Mental Health Consultation