NH schools could offer or expand healthcare services

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Citing an increase in youth mental health needs and a drop in medical checkups, the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services wants to create or expand health clinics in some school districts. With permission from parents or guardians, students could receive vaccinations, mental health counseling, physical exams and health education at their school.

“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been an increased need for health and behavioral health services for children in New Hampshire,” department spokesperson Jake Leon said in an email. -mail. “Many students missed healthy child visits and vaccinations, and many experienced an increase in symptoms and behavioral health issues. (Health and Human Services) is delighted to offer this support to students and their families to meet their needs for age-appropriate health services.

The selected provider(s) will be expected to support the mental health needs of students by screening for anxiety and depression, providing individual and group counseling, and intervening in behavioral health crises, as requested by departmental providers .

Under the terms of the contract, the clinics must also offer physical care, emergency first aid and medication management, among other health care services. And clinics should work with family and community health resource centers, primary care offices, and community organizations to ensure students are referred when needed.

The state is partnering with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to pay for the million-dollar initiative. Only one vendor had submitted an application for the contract by the May 24 deadline, according to the ministry’s website. Leon said he could not identify the candidate while the department was still evaluating the contracts.

The contract recipient(s) will decide which schools to partner with to expand existing health services or establish a new program, Leon said. The department only considers providers who are already in partnership with the state to provide maternal and health care in a primary care setting and those who have applied to do so. That includes many federally qualified health centers in New Hampshire, Leon said.

“This opportunity for school-based health services builds on the success of previous partnerships between health care, public health and education, and is designed to provide new opportunities for easier access to needed services. where students learn,” Leon said. As with the department’s school-based COVID-19 vaccination clinics, students will only receive health services if their parent or guardian has given permission.

This story was originally posted by New Hampshire Bulletin.

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