Creating Healthier Outcomes for Lancaster County Youth
In 2013, CoLAB proudly partnered with Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation (LOHF) to assess the mental and behavioral health challenges of Lancaster County youth. coLAB conducted surveys, created focus groups, and administered surveys. A major theme emerged: health services are available but families have difficulty accessing them. “Services are like tax breaks. They exist if you know how to find them,” said LOHF Executive Director, Anna Kennedy. “It was a full-time job for parents to coordinate health services for their children We heard them loud and clear.” After close evaluation of these initial results, coLAB facilitated a board retreat to help the organization assimilate the nearly 50-page report and review their mission, vision and goals. Imperative to the operational success of the organization, LOHF needed to align grant-making efforts under one umbrella improving behavioral health of children and increasing the functional capacity of health care providers. In partnership with Advanced Metrics, a leading healthcare software developer, coLAB launched a pilot program to link primary care providers with behavioral health specialists. This pilot is a collaborative effort that will result in a web-based and mobile-compatible resource center focused on bolstering information on youth behavioral health. “In Lancaster County, mental health needs affect 26% of the population,” said Kennedy. “And the first symptoms typically occur in pre-adolescents. We need to make it easy. We can help children do better in school and be healthier.” The pilot will be tested in five healthcare practices and three school districts. Future phases include roll-outs for educators, parents and families. “This is a project that requires a ton of innovation and creativity,” said Steve Herr of Advanced Metrics. “Kate’s ability to keep everyone grounded, organized and focused is critical to the successful implementation of the NavWell system.” For additional information, please visit NavWell Pathways to Wellbeing.