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James Plastiras Director of Public Information New York State Office of Mental Health 518-474-6540 james.plastiras@omh.ny.gov

May 06, 2019

New York State Recognizes Monroe County Mental Health Program for its Collaborative Support of Teenage Mothers and their Children

'Building Healthy Children’ Honored for its Home-Based, Culturally-Sensitive Approach to Helping Young Moms

Albany, NY – New York State is honoring Building Healthy Children– a Rochester program for young mothers-  with the 2019 ‘What’s Great in our State’ Organization or Community Group Award.

The award recognizes the Building Healthy Children program (BHC) at Mt. Hope Family Center in Rochester, NY for meeting the mental health challenges in Monroe County, an area with an extremely high rate of teenage pregnancy. BHC uses a collaborative, culturally and linguistically-sensitive approach to help teenage mothers meet the multiple challenges they face.

“Statistically, children of young mothers are at a higher risk of mental health challenges as well as abuse and neglect. These children often have trouble in school and become teen parents themselves,” said New York State Office of Mental Health Commissioner Dr. Ann Sullivan. “BHC is intervening when it matters most, to prevent a continuing cycle of poverty and risk. The program is having a profound impact on children and families in Monroe County. We thank all our honorees for their hard work and commitment to children’s mental health.”

Building Healthy Children was presented with the award at the annual ‘What’s Great in our State 2019’ event on May 7th in Rotterdam. The celebration recognizes the individuals and programs that are successfully advancing the cause of children’s mental health in New York State.

 “The Building Healthy Children program in Rochester, NY is honored to be recognized for our efforts to provide a comprehensive and coordinated home-based approach to support services for the teen mothers and babies we serve,” says Dr. Robin Sturm, Clinical Director of the program.  “BHC offers a team approach, with a focus on the concrete needs families may have, like transportation or child care assistance, combined with therapeutic evidenced-based interventions that address mental health concerns, parenting and child development education, and parent-child trauma.  Building Healthy Children fosters and enhances positive parent-child relationships and helps parents gain and maintain confidence in their parenting while supporting their children’s development.”

Since the program’s launch in 2007, it has helped about 900 families in Monroe County. For more information on the Building Healthy Children program, visit https://www.psych.rochester.edu/MHFC/community-services/building-healthy-children/


What’s Great in Our State’

The ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event coincides with Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a national movement that seeks to raise awareness about the importance of children’s mental health and to show that positive mental health is essential to a child’s healthy development from birth.

‘What’s Great in Our State’ started in 2010 and has expanded and evolved. It features a Governor’s proclamation declaring the week as Children’s Mental Health Awareness Week, a ceremony recognizing our honorees, keynote speakers and an art show featuring artwork created by children receiving services from New York State’s mental health system.

This year’s celebration includes an expanded format that combines education, awareness and recognition. The new, full-day forum adds three breakout workshops to the schedule, focusing on the work being done to build Systems of Care across New York State. The expanded format uses funding from a SAMHSA grant dedicated to strengthening this cross-systems effort.

The event is planned and sponsored by six New York State agencies and a number of mental health advocacy organizations. For more information on the partners involved with this year’s ‘What’s Great in Our State’ event, visit https://conta.cc/2W5Ok   


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