Maternal and Child Health (MCH)

The City of St. Joseph Health Department Maternal and Child Health (MCH) grant focuses on mental health among youth with a particiular emphasis on suicide and other self-harming behaviors such as substance use, bullying, violence and other risky behaviors. Our health department and community are working to impact the priority need of "Promote Protective Factors for Youth and Families." We have also heard from community members, parents, and the school district about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the mental health and resiliency of our youth. It is important we address this issue to ensure our youth have the supports and resources in place to navigate the subsequent effects of COVID-19 as it relates to the ability to handle future stressors and trauma in a postitive manner.     

Preventing and reducing the impact of toxic stress while building resilience in adolescents’ ages 15-19 years to prevent and reduce suicide is the objective of our MCH agreement. Exposure to adverse experiences in childhood, such as physical, sexual, emotional abuse and neglect, and living in homes with violence, mental health, substance abuse problems and other instability, is also associated with increased risk for suicide and suicide attempts. Just as risk factors may be shared across suicide and interpersonal violence, so too may protective factors overlap. For example, connectedness to one’s community, school, family, caring adults, and pro-social peers can enhance resilience and help reduce risk for suicide and other forms of violence. 

The MCH funding supports a variety of activities, including advocating for and supporting compliance with DESE Youth Suicide Awareness and Prevention Model Policy to improve outcomes for Buchanan County students; working with community partners to identify or develop suicide, gun safety and safe firearms storage information to be displayed and/or distributed at the point of sale when selling firearms at 80% of qualifying retailers in Buchanan County; supporting compliance checks for alcohol/tobacco sales; promoting Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE’s) awareness and education by working collaboratively within coalitions to promote Master ACE Training; working with parent groups, youth organizations, child care facilities and the public to increase ACE awareness; promote proper use of child passenger safety seats; “First Impact” parent education; and marketing strategies. Through the grant, every elementary school student in Buchanan County schools participating in Red Ribbon Week activities will be given a new Red Ribbon Week pencil and schools receive Red Ribbon Week banners and posters; schools are supplied Drug Free Super STARs program materials; and we join other partners to present “Docudrama” outreach events to regional high schools within restrictions placed on us by COVID-19. 

For more information about our Maternal Child Health grant or programs supported by it, please reach out to our health educator.