The Carolina Network began in the summer of 2010, when school mental health (SMH) colleagues from North Carolina and South Carolina initiated the development of a SMH network among K-12 educators, academicians, and mental health professionals across both states. The Carolina Network was originally conceptualized as a means to promote and enhance the awareness of SMH initiatives that were in close proximity to one another. This network was also seen as a potential means to facilitate productive collaborations within and between states, including clinical activities, empirical endeavors, grant writing, policy development, and dissemination of evidence-based practice.
With the Carolina Network, youth in North Carolina and South Carolina will benefit from a full continuum of effective mental health promotion, prevention, and early intervention to promote their behavioral and physical health, wellness, academic achievement and postsecondary vocational success.
The mission of the Carolina Network is to develop partnerships with North Carolina and South Carolina schools, community-based agencies, families and youth-serving systems and organizations to achieve improved educational and health outcomes for all children, especially those with unmet mental health needs. To accomplish this mission the Carolina Network for School Mental Health (CNSMH) seeks to:
- Understand and facilitate connections between local and state initiatives to promote supportive policies to expand and improve SMH phroughout North Carolina and South Carolina.
- Build a full continuum of effective strategies focused on mental health promotion, prevention of social, emotional and behavioral problems, early intervention and intervention for students in general and special education.
- Evaluate and assure the quality of SMH in North Carolina and South Carolina to ensure that students remain in school, positively engaged in their home life, and out of trouble.
- Build and sustain action to promote a shared agenda for mental health-education-family collaborations with key stakeholder representation through family-driven and youth-guided programs and services.
- Promote awareness and reduce stigma surrounding mental health needs and the critical links between positive mental health and school success for North Carolina and South Carolina youth; developing effective strategies for best meeting these needs.