To support the very important social and emotional development of even the youngest Kansans, the United Methodist Health Ministry Fund has awarded Prairie View, Inc., a grant of $150,400. Over two years, the grant will promote standard mental health screenings for young children, pregnant women and new mothers in Harvey, Marion and McPherson counties in South Central Kansas.

“Key to good mental health among children and families is early identification and intervention. With this generous grant from United Methodist Health Ministry Fund, we will be able to collaborate with other organizations to improve the care of children and their caretakers,” says Elizabeth Guhman, Ph.D., vice president of Child and Adolescent Services at Prairie View.

Guhman will guide the project as she brings together key members of existing early childhood organizations within the three counties along with educational, health care and social service representatives for planning, training, marketing, screenings, evaluation and referrals.

Included in Prairie View’s efforts will be training staff at county health departments and primary care clinics in administering to parents/caregivers a standardized questionnaire on social emotional development for children up to age six. The questionnaire is already in use in Head Start and other organizations in the three-county area.

Because nearly 80 percent of new mothers in the United States experience some form of baby blues and as many as 14.5 percent suffer from major depression, important screenings for depression among young mothers will be extended to include pregnant women. These screenings will be offered at sites where these women access prenatal care and refer them as appropriate for follow-up services.

“When we screen and care for the youngest of the young and their caretakers, we create long-lasting benefits not only to the families, but to entire communities,” Dr. Guhman says.

For information, phone Prairie View at 800-992-6292 or see prairieview.org.

The United Methodist Health Ministry Fund was established in 1986 by the Kansas West Conference of the United Methodist Church to advance health, healing and wholeness throughout Kansas. Through stewardship of the original $30 million endowment, grants totaling more than $65 million have supported programs to improve the health of all Kansans.

Prairie View, Inc., a faith-based behavioral health services provider, offers treatment and psychiatric services for all ages as well as consultations for businesses and organizations. In addition to our main campus in Newton with outpatient offices, psychiatric hospital, residential treatment for adolescents, and the Addictions Treatment Center, Prairie View serves patients in Hillsboro, McPherson and at two locations in Wichita. To discover ways to support Prairie View’s mission to transform lives, call 800-992-6292 or see prairieview.org.