MHEDIC – Mental Health-Education Integration Consortium
The Mental Health-Education Integration Consortium (MHEDIC) aims to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and professional workforce preparation for the many disciplines involved in supporting student learning and mental health. These include educators, mental health and health staff, families and youth, advocates, and others. Dawn Anderson-Butcher, CAYCI’s principal investigator, currently serves as the chair of MHEDIC.
Goals of MHEDIC include:
- Equipping and empowering educators in their roles as promoters of student mental health and mental health staff to work effectively in schools. Tools used include pre-service, graduate, and in-service training.
- Promoting interdisciplinary collaboration and mutual support among families and youth, as well as education and mental health/health professionals who work in schools.
- Building research and advancing policy related to mental health and education systems working closely together to improve programs and services to achieve valued outcomes for students and schools.
MHEDIC is organized around four central priority areas, including training, practice, research, and policy. Subgroups within MHEDIC strategically focus on these areas, honing in on critical issues related to interdisciplinary collaboration and workforce preparation within each domain. As described in the MHEDIC governance document, the following activities are of particular interest:
- The establishment of interdisciplinary competencies for school mental health professionals. These competencies are intended to promote school mental health and inform professional preparation for those working in school mental health.
- The continued refinement of the MHEDIC-endorsed educator competencies for school mental health. Several related initiatives are underway to develop training and professional development experiences based on the competencies.
- The development of a formalized research agenda to move the school mental health field forward. This agenda is anchored in the school mental health workforce agenda and focused on quality implementation of school mental health practices and outcome measures indicating practice effectiveness, efficiency, and fidelity.
- The implementation of a targeted agenda to engage graduate students across disciplines working with and in schools in MHEDIC. Of particular interest is the emergent priority related to inter-professional practice and pre-service preparation in institutions of higher education.
- The ongoing, informed expansion of the consortium through conscious efforts to encourage interdisciplinary membership, involve students to inform innovations in pre-service training, and support local and national initiatives focused on school mental health.
MHEDIC membership includes an interdisciplinary group of leaders from various disciplines (e.g., social work, education and education leadership, clinical, counseling, psychiatry, nursing, public health) and institutions (e.g., university, state and local governments, school systems). Current MHEDIC members are asked to invite others who embrace the consortium’s values then help orient new members to the purpose, mission, goals, and structure of the MHEDIC.
CAYCI and MHEDIC
MHEDIC provides an opportunity for CAYCI students interested in the intersection of education and mental health to learn from experts in the field. Both current and former CAYCI students have joined MHEDIC as members, making connections with an interdisciplinary group of graduate students, faculty members, and community leaders from across the country. MHEDIC is a venue where members of the CAYCI team can share their research and obtain feedback from school mental health experts. MHEDIC also provides an opportunity for members of the CAYCI team to learn about and collaborate on school mental health related research across the country. CAYCI serves as a resource for MHEDIC members interested in positive youth development, afterschool programming, and school-family-community partnerships.