The South Carolina Institute of Medicine and Public Health hosted our first ever one-day Legislative Summit entitled: Tomorrow’s Hope: Innovative Approaches to School Mental Health Services. The intimate gathering of attendees included alumni of the Health Policy Fellows Program, legislative staff, government officials and members of the IMPH Board of Directors conversing with state and national experts. Together they discussed and learned about systemic approaches to expand access to school mental health services for early identification and intervention to mitigate emotional and behavioral problems that impact a child’s ability to learn.

School mental health services will be a legislative priority under school climate and safety for the 123rd Session of the South Carolina Legislature that started January 2019. The Summit revealed a desire for consistency throughout the state in terms of screenings, behavioral supports, training and resources for school mental health services. A cost-effective approach must be taken to ensure that the price tag does not kill the initiative. Statewide consistency must be mandated by the legislature. Moreover, all necessary stakeholders must be involved to embrace and advanced a shared agenda for school mental health services, while building consensus and support in the legislature.

To learn more about the Summit, please click here to read an overview of the proceedings.

The Summit is an offering of the Health Policy Fellows Program, which was developed to provide members of the South Carolina General Assembly with nonpartisan, evidenced-based health policy information. Please click here to learn more about our Health Policy Fellows Program.