Department of Mental Health
Mission Statement for Baltimore
The Department of Mental Health advances understanding of mental and behavioral disorders, to develop, implement, and evaluate methods to prevent and control these disorders, to reduce relapse, and to promote mental health in the population. In Baltimore, the Department supports projects to address behavioral health needs, to prevent behavioral health problems across the life cycle, especially among adolescents, and to promote positive behavioral health through advocacy, initiation, and evaluation of policies and practices.
Youth Violence Prevention in Schools
The Center for the Prevention of Youth Violence works with community and government partners, local schools, and other academic institutions to develop, implement, and document a public health approach to reducing violent behaviors and the impacts of trauma on neighborhoods with the highest levels of violence. As part of this initiative, the Center, in collaboration with the Center for Adolescent Health, is working with Baltimore City Public Schools to create more positive learning environments and to reduce the impact of trauma on students.
Alcohol Sales in Baltimore
The Department is supporting efforts by the Baltimore’s Planning Department and City Council to address alcohol outlet density. This includes consultation on city legislation related to alcohol outlet density, proximity and placement. Associate professor Debra Furr-Holden is currently designing enforcement strategy to be implemented this summer (2015) with corresponding data collection to measure the impact of enforcement on compliance.
Preventing Sexual Abuse
Associate professor Elizabeth Letourneau leads the Moore Center for the Prevention of Childhood Sexual Abuse. In Baltimore, the Center works with the Baltimore Child Abuse Center to develop public health programs to prevent sexual abuse.
Mental Health Department Baltimore Project
The Department of Mental Health has a long history of engagement with Baltimore City Public Schools (BCPS) to improve classroom environment, enable learning, and prevent later childhood and early adulthood health issues, including mental and substance use disorders. We have shown that universal prevention programs implementing classroom management techniques such as the Good Behavior Game have lifelong benefits across a spectrum of health issues. Moving forward, we plan to expand our support of BCPS and encourage further partnerships to the mutual benefit of the city and public health research. This will include working with the CEO of BCPS and senior staff to create more positive school climates and to reduce the impact of negative neighborhood factors on attendance, academic performance, and suspensions. Specifically, faculty, staff, and students will collaborate with BCPS, the Parent Community Advisory Board, and the Associated Student Governments to examine data on school climate and to identify and implement actions to improve school climate. These efforts will include summer training programs for students, parents, and community members.
Phillip Leaf, PhD