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GRANT PARTNER SPOTLIGHT

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Minnie Hamilton Health System (MHHS) seeks to improve the health and quality of life of all people in their service area through an innovative delivery system of services and education in Calhoun and Gilmer Counties in West Virginia. MHHS provides a comprehensive, vertically integrated health care delivery system comprised of a critical access hospital, community health center (FQHC), school-based health center sites, a nursing home unit, a swing bed unit, oral health care, rural health clinic, and 340B pharmacy services. In addition, MHHS sponsors several community-based services that are needed within the community, such as education and outreach events and threat preparedness services.  Since its beginning, MHHS has evolved in response to the needs of the region.


Our Foundation has partnered with MHHS and Calhoun County Schools since 2019 on their Psychosocial Program Coordinator (PPC) position and began funding a second position to serve in Gilmer County in 2022. The PPC develops, implements, and oversees a comprehensive, sustainable psycho-social program. The Coordinators are seen as actual school employees with their own offices, email/IT, and access to the same opportunities that any other school employee would have. This close partnership allows the Coordinator to feel truly connected to the students, staff, and teachers. As described by the Calhoun County Student Services Director, the Psychosocial Program Coordinator is the "quarterback of student mental health services" -- everything funnels through the PPC. Any referrals that come in go directly to them, and they coordinate what therapist or service is being provided to which student(s). The PPC then keeps track of all Tier 1, Tier 2, and Tier 3 services occurring within the school systems and keeps a record of each student who is receiving more direct support to ensure that no one is falling through the cracks. If a student or family isn't coming in for services, they reach out to see what help might be needed. If a therapist leaves their job, the PPC makes sure that the students are not left without someone to care for them, even if it means stepping in themselves for a period of time. Every week, the PPC coordinates multi-disciplinary style team meetings with all mental health professionals and paraprofessionals within the county who are serving students. This teamwork mentality is paying off in real numbers and stories. In the 2022-23 school year, 66%-67% of all three schools in Calhoun County received some form of Tier 1, 2, or 3 interactions and the suicide watchlist had 36 students. In the 2023-2024 school year, they are now interacting with 82% of all three schools for Tier 1,2, or 3 and their suicide watch list has dropped to 17. During the current school year, 99% of all students at Arnoldsburg Elementary have interacted with a mental health or student support staff in some way; likewise, 100% of Pleasant Hill Elementary School students and 71% of Calhoun Middle and High School students have as well.

 

The Calhoun County Psychosocial Program Coordinator (PPC), Destiny (pictured above on the right), developed a special relationship during summer school with an elementary student. The student had been having trouble at home and school. She worked hard over the summer to ensure they had food and other necessities every week - dropping off food boxes and hygiene items. They were being raised by their elderly grandparents along with four siblings. The student had gotten into a fight during summer school so Destiny took them aside to help with calming techniques which led them to discuss how much the student loved fishing. The student went into great detail about different kinds of fish and fishing techniques. When Destiny asked them about when they go fishing, the student responded by saying they had never actually been. They just loved reading and watching YouTube videos about it. Destiny worked with the student’s summer bus driver to purchase a fishing pole and bait and the bus driver allowed the student to use his pond as often as they wanted. Destiny continued to develop a relationship with the student and when summer school was ending, she told them if they ever needed anything to let the bus driver know and they could reach out to Destiny immediately. Because she is based at the MS/HS, she hadn't seen the student in several months until one day receiving a call from the bus driver. The student had drawn her a picture and put their phone number on it saying that they needed to talk with her. She immediately made time to visit with the student at the elementary school for breakfast and when asking how they were doing, they simply said, “I'm good, it's just been a while since I've seen you.”  She's now grabbing breakfast with the student every month. Next year, the student will join Destiny at the middle school and is eager to see her daily.

Spring 2024 Newsletter

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