What is MAST?
Mental Health and Schools Together (MAST) initially was funded by the Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools as a demonstration project in eight communities statewide (MAST-NH). The project was designed to integrate school and community mental health services for students needing comprehensive support for social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. The goals of the project included streamlining the process and increase access to mental health and other community-based services to children and families in need.
Eight communities in New Hampshire benefited from this initiative: Peterborough, Dover, Candia, Somersworth, Londonderry, Franklin,Tilton and Littleton. Regional collaboratives will be created that include individuals working with the children of these communities and their families, local schools, mental health agencies, juvenile justice agencies, and community organizations.
The MAST-Seacoast grant from Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools partners with the Rochester, NH School District to increase access to school personnel and family members with knowledge and skills regarding (a) the characteristics of mental illnesses and their effects on learning, (b) early screening systems and risk indicators that are predictive of MH needs, and (c) the evidence based practices of de-escalation techniques, function-based support, and Wraparound. School personnel and family members will also be able to refer children with MH needs to school and community-based MH services including crisis intervention and Wraparound. Furthermore, MAST-SC NH will lead to (a) the creation of a trained student leadership team at the middle school that can collect and analyze data and develop action plans in collaboration with the primary prevention team that will improve school climate, (b) the development of school-facilitated referral and communication protocols that link schools with MH services and supports, (c) the creation of a crisis de-escalation team in each school that uses Life Space Crisis Intervention techniques and can effectively respond to escalating student behavior, decreasing the likelihood that school conflict will result in a crisis, and (d) Wraparound supports for children and families in need.
The MAST-NH initiative contains several distinct yet interrelated themes; all designed to build capacity, improve communication and design a seamless continuum of care. These include:
Developing regional interagency collaboratives with school partners to:
- Streamline access to care
- Develop common protocols
Building capacity for wraparound support by:
- Developing a common curriculum and training process
- Training wraparound mentors
- Identifying potential wrap facilitators
Improving prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental health issues by:
- Identifying issues early
- Training school personnel in Systematic Screening for Behavioral Disorders
- Developing a mental health primer for diagnosis and awareness
- Increasing training and capacity for Life Space Crisis Intervention (LSCI)
Mapping community resources at the local and regional level
Using function-based support consistently and across contexts
Making information and technical assistance available online
This 18-month planning and demonstration grant, funded in the amount of $368,605, is a collaborative venture between NH CEBIS at SERESC. the Londonderry School District and the 25 schools within the eight communities.