Michigan schools will implement behavioral health software BH-works

The Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has decided to use behavioral health software program, BH-works, in all 56 Intermediate School Districts (ISDs) which could reach more than 1.5 million students. BH-works is a behavioral health care platform powered by mdlogix aimed at streamlining communication between those who need help and providers on a community, school or statewide basis. 

 

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BH-works software houses 140 different assessments to determine the health of any population whether it be a school, a workplace or large organization. These assessments can lead to internal referrals to clinicians who can track a patient’s progress over time. 

For context, the prevalence of mental and behavioral health issues were high in Michigan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Kids Count Data Center provided by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, 23%, or over 425,000, Michigan children had one or more emotional, behavioral or developmental conditions in 2019. 

To provide out-patient assistance, patients can schedule and execute telehealth visits within the program without needing an extra software download. 

Marjorie McKee, vice president of marketing and communications as mdlogix, said:

“We are finding that it is [effective] in terms of being able to screen, offer referrals, monitor, save a tremendous amount of time and provide more time for the provider to address the student’s needs.”

According to McKee, Michigan legislators have given more attention to children’s mental health challenges. She says the program’s implementation in all Michigan ISDs is a continuation of that effort and a way to move forward in identification and access for struggling kids. 

“Michigan is leading the effort to connect adults into young people’s lives. They are using the BH-works technology as a way to connect all of them together so that they would never lose a child in the health care process transition.”

BH-works has been functional in Pennsylvania schools for the last eight years and has found success. According to McKee, they have screened over 110,000 students and have identified 5,000 who have suicidal ideation. This allowed them to address those students who might not have seeked out help before. 

McKee thinks this will be a model for other states to help prevent suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression and more in their students.

“When Michigan accomplishes this, it’s going to be a model for the rest of the states. We hope that other states take notice of what Michigan is doing when it comes to mental health and how we are using the school system as the foundation. It is a collaboration that is disrupting the [damaging] mental health culture in Michigan.”

Diane Golzynski, PhD, RD, director of the Office of Health and Nutrition Services at the Michigan Department of Education, said:

“Our plan has been to give each student who needs help the opportunity to express their feelings with no judgement or stigma, to do so in a statewide coordinated effort, and to offer the best care and monitor local and state outcomes.”