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Susie Huhn

National Council of Behavioral Health Board Member, and Secretary-Treasurer of CEO Casa de los Ninos

Interest Group: Connecting Children to High-Quality Care

February 14, 2020 | Mental Health Treatment | Comments
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Alongside our Board of Directors, we recently launched Interest Groups to give our members the tools, knowledge and networks they need to accelerate their learning of – and impact on – various populations of interest. In this blog post, we highlight our new Children, Young Adults & Families group.

I have been working for more than 40 years in a variety of roles to improve the health of children and their families. It is my passion. When I learned about the National Council’s initiative, I jumped at the opportunity to serve as a co-chair with Linda Henderson-Smith, the organization’s Director of Children and Trauma-Informed Services. We kicked things off last month with an orientation webinar, which outlines our efforts for the year and offers insights into our objectives as a group. Learn more.

Linda and I are eager to shed light on the importance of prevention and early intervention to achieving greater outcomes for children experiencing mental health concerns. We want the social-emotional health of children to be as important as the ability to run, read and write. Science is taking us to new levels of understanding regarding the brain, particularly how we think and feel. These advances in our understanding will help us develop more effective treatments for children.

Early intervention and prevention are developing fields in mental health. Evidence increasingly shows that preventing and intervening early for young people with mental health problems, particularly depression and first onset psychosis, can dramatically improve immediate and long-term outcomes. The research has shown that the earlier we can intervene, particularly with evidence-based interventions, the better outcomes we see later on.

The early years of childhood lay a foundation for future academic, social, emotional and behavioral success. If we can teach children the skills they need in their formative years, they can carry these skills with them through their elementary years and beyond. We will explore these and other important factors in the health and wellness of children throughout the year. Specifically, in the form of webinars, blog posts, a networking event and ongoing discussions to help move the needle.

Our Interest Group is more than just an opportunity to learn and grow – it is a community in which you can share best practices, connect with likeminded peers and better understand the need of a continuum of care for children – from prevention through treatment.

We invite people from all types of organizations and systems to join us on this journey. Together, we will further highlight the need for high-quality, effective behavioral health services for children, as well as how to best serve them in the context of their family, school and community. Contact us to learn more!

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