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Child & Youth Mental Health Algorithm - GPSC

Child & Youth Mental Health Algorithm - GPSC

ChildandYouthMentalHealthPSPModuleResources - Lifespan of Mental Illnesses19 Do not forget to include the school: Mental disorders can haveprofound impact on all aspects of a young person’s functioning. It isnecessary to know how the child is doing at school – academically andsocially.Be clear in what the reason for contact is: Is it for diagnosticpurposes, to help evaluate severity of a problem; to monitor treatment; etc?During the course of assessment and treatment the reasons may change.Knowing the reason for contact will help save time and lead to better results.Develop a single point for contact: Although the student may havemore than one teacher it is essential that a single point of contact beestablished. In many cases this will be a school counselor. This person canthen link to other school staff as needed.Recognize that different schools may have different policies: Schoolshave many different ways in which they address the needs of students. It isimportant to know the internal processes of each school.GPs may see some students for which the school is hoping to get a Ministry ofEducation Special Needs designation, or already has in the past, in order to accessmore intensive supports for the student's educational needs. In most cases, theywill be the Mental Illness (R) designation schools are seeking, but occasionally theymay see a student for who an (H) is being sought, and will certainly do so once thechild component happens (Conduct Disorder and ADHD students receive thesedesignations more often than students with depression or anxiety). A description ofthe requirements for both categories of designation can be found on page 57 ofhttp://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/specialed/special_ed_policy_manual.pdf#page=14Both these designations require documentation from a qualified professional (forwhich no school staff meet the criteria) stating they do have a mental illness, if thisis the basis for designation, and the creation by the school of an IndividualizedEducation Plan (IEP). A team at the school creates the IEP which describes what thecurrent level of performance is, what adaptations and modifications and supportswill be used to support the student, target learning outcomes. The IEP is alsoshared with the parent who has input, and the student in cases where the studentis old enough to take part. For the serious mental illness designation (H) it is alsoplanned with the community service provider(s), as more than one16of

ChildandYouthMentalHealthPSPModule organization/agency has to be involved to qualify for this designation. Informationon the IEP process is found beginning on page 12.Ensure appropriate confidentiality:Only information pertinent to theschool should be discussed. Legal parameters regarding consent need to befollowed. Make sure that written consent from the youth and parent (ifindicated) has been obtained before communicating with the school. Becareful about sending confidential information by fax or email. Rememberthat a school fax machine is not necessarily private.Be appropriately available: In some cases, discussions with the schoolwill be required. It is important to be appropriately available for those.Often the health provider’s input can be by telephone.Keep good records: Ensure notes pertaining to the discussions with theschool are put on the patient’s record.Forms: When enlisting the help of school staff in filling out forms (suchas the SNAP for assessment of ADHD) it may be necessary to visit the schoolto meet with teachers and educate them about the use of the tool. Engagethe school counselor as a point of contact within the school. The key point ishaving the contact person at school can explain how that school deals withthis type of problem. “What can I expect from you?” “What can you expectfrom me?”A single point of contact within the school is very helpful for conduit of info oradvocate of having accommodations made.A testament to the programRecently I was gratified, despite a late arrival home, following theidentification of significant mental health issues in an early adolescent malepresenting with poorly managed asthma and abdominal pain .Further enquiry revealed underlying anxiety, depression and adjustment issuespertaining to a move to a new school, while living part time with an anorexicmother.Resources - Lifespan of Mental Illnesses1917of

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