WMU: Why School Mental Health Needs Medicaid; L.A. Preps for ‘Battle Buddies’

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WMU: Why School Mental Health Needs Medicaid; L.A. Preps for ‘Battle Buddies’

The Weekly MashUp is a recurring segment on Hear Me Out, the Young Minds Blog, highlighting the most pertinent local and national news for children’s mental health advocates. If you haven’t already, sign up to be on our email list to get the Weekly MashUp delivered to your inbox each week!


How Medicaid Became a Go-To Funder for Schools

San Jose Mercury – 2.12.18

As Congress threatens to decrease federal health spending, many fear how the potential cuts could impact school mental health services.

Medicaid-funded services offered in schools can include transportation assistance, school nursing, counseling, and other health treatments that frequently benefit students experiencing mental health and behavioral challenges. Though states and school districts across the nation can distribute Medicaid funds differently, California counties deploy millions of Medicaid dollars in classrooms each year. Los Angeles and Alameda Counties, for example, rely on Medicaid funding to provide school-based behavioral health services. Students qualify for these services by being enrolled in Medi-Cal and having a mental health condition such as depression, anxiety, or post-traumatic stress disorder.

Though only $4 billion dollars of Medicaid’s total $400 billion budget are spent on school mental healthcare nationwide, the Medicaid services provided by schools are often vital to students and families. Losing Medicaid as a funding source for these services, according to Jessica Schubel, a policy analyst at the bipartisan Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, would be “a big deal.”

LA County Exploring a System of ‘Battle Buddies’ Helping Other Veterans

KPCC – 2.7.18

Los Angeles County is one step closer to creating a veterans’ peer network that connects vets to local housing and mental health supports. This month, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion asking the L.A. County Health Agency, Homeless Services Authority, and other departments to create a plan for a “veteran peer access network” in L.A. County. This “Battle Buddies” motion seeks to connect veterans with resources — including fellow veterans — to prevent or address “family discord, isolation, substance misuse, homelessness and/or involvement with the justice system.” Introduced by Supervisors Mark Ridley-Thomas and Kathryn Barger, the plan for veteran peer support could help treat L.A. County’s homeless veteran population of 4,828, which increased by 57 percent over the last year.

“There’s a level of trust and familiarity that evolves in the shared experience of military service that’s a powerful tool,” said Dr. Jonathan Sherin, the director of the county’s Department of Mental Health. “A very well trained clinician may not be as effective at engaging a veteran as another veteran.”

L.A. County’s Department of Mental Health recently rolled out other peer-led services for residents facing mental, emotional, and substance use disorders. In May 2017, the Department opened a peer resource center in the Koreatown area to assist those experiencing homelessness and mental health challenges in obtaining mental health treatments and related supports.

Upcoming Events:

Web Seminar: Increased Earned Income Tax Credit Among Transition Age Youth

California Department of Social Services / John Burton Advocates for Youth

“This webinar will walk attendees through the steps of how to claim the earned income tax credit with the goal of increasing the uptake of this benefit among transition-aged youth.”

Webinar Date: February 23, 2018 from 10AM to 11AM PST. Register here.

More Stories:

UC Davis Chancellor Convenes Task Forces on Important Campus Services

UC Davis News – 2.11.18

Preventing Suicide: Teen Deaths Are on the Rise, But We Know How to Fight Back

USA Today – 2.7.18

California Colleges, Like USC, Are in the Midst of a Mental Health Care Crisis. Can Help Come Fast Enough?

The OCR – 2.6.18

4 Organizations Fighting for the Mental Health of Asian Americans

Study Breaks – 2.5.18

I’ve Fostered 20 Children Through The Opioid Crisis. This is What I’ve Seen.

Fatherly – 1.24.18

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Posted by the Editors of Hear Me Out.