Thursday, July 17, 2008

Washington State: Children's Mental Health Survey

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Health and Recovery Services Administration And Mental Health Division is conducting an online survey about Children’s Mental Health Services.

Last year, the Washington State government passed a bill to aimed to improve the Children’s Mental Health System. The Washington Mental Health Division contracted the Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training (WIMHRT) at the University of Washington to create and administer the survey. The results if the survey will help shape the Mental Health Division’s advice to the 2009 Legislature and provide information on to move forward with improvements.

2008 Children’s Mental Health Survey includes 11 basic questions, 3 questions for parents only and 2 optional questions on the survey.


The survey includes questions about accessing Mental Health Services and asks if Better access to services needs to be made for specific groups of children based on:

  • age groups,
  • ethnic backgrounds or cultures,
  • Native American children,
  • Children not eligible for Medicaid insurance,
  • Children not eligible for services because their diagnosis or behaviors are not as serious as required in order qualify.
  • Foster children who are not eligible for services because their diagnosis or behaviors are not as serious as required in order to qualify.
  • Children exiting the Juvenile Justice system or a long-term residential psychiatric treatment program.

Other questions covered issues such as:

  • The best way to get help at the first sign of a mental health problem
  • Which types of services need to be more available
  • Which professionals providers need to be more available
  • What training for mental health providers would improve the quality of services

Participants of the survey are also asked which problems do you think need more services available to treat children?

  • Co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse
  • Co-occurring mental illness and developmental disability
  • Oppositional defiance, disobedience or running away
  • Attention Deficit Disorders and other learning disabilities
  • Problems resulting from past trauma
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome or effects
  • Eating disorders
  • Criminal behaviors resulting from mental illness (Conduct Disorder)
  • Sexually aggressive behaviors

Several questions discuss Wraparound Services which is a team-based planning process. Wraparound service are designed to helps families of children with serious and complex mental health problems work with a team to meet their needs. Survey questions included a list of which services the participant believed would be most helpful.:

  • Mental health services delivered in the family home
  • Mental health services available in the evenings or on weekends
  • Mental health services for parents
  • Behavior management training for parents and caregivers
  • Parent and Youth Partners to support and advocate for families
  • Parent Navigators who help parents link with the right kinds of services across systems
  • Respite services to give parents a break

Several questions asked about Evident-based and Promising Practice programs and included this statement:

Evidence-based means a program or practice that has had
multiple scientific studies which show that it is effective for a specific
population. Promising practice means the research is less complete, but it shows
potential for becoming an evidence-based practice.

The Survey offers specific questions to parent questions were designed to get feedback from parents about their involvement with their child's mental health treatment. The focus on issues that would help them be more involved, and how well the parent felt they had been included in their child’s mental health treatment. Parents who feel they were not included have the ability to write an answer in directly.

Information from this survey will only be used to study how people who responded to the survey feel about the issues in general, and will not be used to describe or predict the opinions of specific groups of people.

People who have shown an interest in children’s mental health are being selected to participate in the survey because of their participation in past committees and conferences, work role or other involvement with a system serving children. The surveys are being distributed through available listserv and electronic mailing lists.

If you are a Washington resident and have received a request to complete this survey please take the few moments to do so. If you are a Washington resident and have not received an electronic link to this survey please leave a comment on this blog or email me.

The Washington Institute for Mental Health
Research & Training Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences University of Washington

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services,
Health and Recovery Services Administration And Mental Health Division



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