Spotlight: The Long and Vital Reach of the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network
Bringing the country the National School Mental Health Curriculum
Federally funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, The Mental Health Technology Transfer Center Network (MHTTC) is made up of ten strategically located regional hubs, plus a National American Indian and Alaska Native Center based at the University of Iowa, and a National Hispanic and Latino Center in Puerto Rico, with the Network’s coordinating office run by Drs. Mark McGovern and Heather Gotham and their team from Stanford.
The MHTTC was created to help health care systems and front-line providers implement critically needed, evidence-based mental health education, prevention, and recovery solutions to every corner of the nation. With a severe shortage of mental health clinicians, as well as geographic and economic barriers to access, the MHTTC expands the reach of care by providing organizations and practitioners with implementation support, online courses and live learning opportunities, and innovative tools for health care providers that are delivered through a continual flow of information on a variety of platforms to sustain the most effective services in communities across the US. All free of charge.
The goal of the MHTTC is to eliminate mental health ‘deserts’ across the country. Whether the setting is urban or rural, the Center strives to ensure that that the best possible prevention, treatment, and recovery supports are swiftly available to everyone.
As an example, according to 2019 statistics from the CDC, one in six children aged two to eight years old has a mental, behavioral, or developmental disorder. Nearly four and a half million kids, three to 17 years of age, suffer with anxiety, and nearly two million have been diagnosed with depression. With youth suicide rates continuing to climb, schools - where nearly every American child spends a majority of their waking hours - are an effective space in which to foster awareness and prevention.
Within its inaugural year, the MHTTC has been focusing on this significant mental health needs of America’s children---and have developed the National School Mental Health Curriculum and Learning Collaborative. Almost immediately upon its availability, representatives from thirty-six states participated in the program, with more states, districts and individual schools signing on as the word continues to spread. The model, designed for school district leaders, school administrators, counselors and advocates of student/family services, includes training and participant manuals alongside virtual and in-person learning modules. By focusing on creating a collaborative and multi-tiered system of support, incorporating cultural equity and evidence-based/data-driven solutions, the model provides an infrastructure framework schools need for needed mental health services.
Dr. Heather Gotham, Director of the MHTTC Network Coordinating Office at Stanford - which maintains ongoing support and training in the model program, stated:
“this can be part of a comprehensive plan for schools to be more aware of,
and equipped to deal with, the impact of mental disorders in kids…
including prevention, and in response to tragedies like school shootings and student suicides.”
Dr. Mark McGovern is the Principal Investigator for the MHTTC Network Coordinating Office. Affiliated Faculty include Dr. Steve Adelsheim, Dr. Shashank Joshi, Dr. Kate Hardy, and Dr. Shannon Wiltsey Stirman. Jessica Gonzalez, MSW, is the School Mental Health Coordinator, and Felicia Benson is the Project Coordinator.