Grant helps train clinicians to assist treating trauma in Maine children
Maine Kids Count reports that Maine has a higher than average percentage on nearly all measured youth mental health indicators including high rates of diagnosed anxiety, depression, behavioral and conduct problems, and exposure to two or more adverse childhood experiences (ACEs).
A $10,000 grant recently awarded by the Maine Community Foundation to Northern Light Acadia Hospital will be used this summer to train and certify two clinicians in Parent Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT), an effective evidence-based treatment for children who have experienced trauma and/or who have social, emotional, and/or behavioral challenges.
“We know that children who experience trauma or have untreated—or not adequately treated—behavioral health needs have an increased risk of mental health or substance abuse problems later in life,” explains Chris McLaughlin, LCSW, associate vice president, Community and Pediatric Services at Northern Light Acadia Hospital. “We want to make sure we’re offering these children and families as much support as possible and help them to be successful within their communities.”
The goal is to have the trained clinicians specialize in the treatment of these young children ages 2-7 years old who have experienced trauma and/or are diagnosed with conditions such as ADHD and/or Oppositional Defiant Disorder. The model includes skills coaching for parents and caregivers who play an active role in the youth’s treatment. Parent Child Interaction Therapy is one of the strongest evidence-based treatment for kids this age and has positive outcomes in strengthening parent/child relationships, changing negative behavioral patterns, and decreasing caregiver stress.
Northern Light Acadia Hospital has recently moved all its pediatric outpatient services to telehealth video conferencing in response to COVID-19 and plans to leverage this model to expand access to much-needed services for Maine children. “We want these services to be readily available to families in our communities throughout Maine. Referring providers and community agencies will benefit from having more resources available to help them navigate treatment options for children with behavioral health needs and their families,” adds McLaughlin.