1st Five Promotes Children's Mental Wellness
2/3/2011

Story Medical Clinics is pleased to announce their recent partnership with the Iowa Department of Public Health’s 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative. The program is designed to bridge public and private health care systems in an effort to improve early detection of social–emotional delays and prevention of mental health problems among young children and their families.

Iowa's 1st Five Healthy Mental Development Initiative promotes healthy child development during the first five years of life by building partnerships such as these between healthcare providers and public service organization to enhance high quality well-child care.

The program serves as a one-stop referral source for medical providers. 1st Five has local referral expertise on knowing where to link families to available services for financial and resource assistance, parenting support, child development services, etc.

Especially during these challenging economic times when parental stress is at an all time high, more parents are finding the balance between present day stressors and parenting responsibilities increasingly difficult to manage. 

Key features of the 1st Five model include: 

  1. user-friendly mental and developmental health screening and referral forms
  2. ongoing education and support for medical office staff on healthy development and use of screening and referral tools
  3. specially trained care coordinators to identify and address a wide range of children’s and families’ needs
  4. relationships with community resources that provide early intervention; and timely notification of outcomes to the referring physician offices

Referrals are made to a variety of resources, including parenting classes, employment assistance, GED courses, childcare, mental health resources, housing assistance and more.

“Our clinics don’t always have the resources or staff time to keep up-to-date with the ever-changing variety of community resources are out there for families,” said Todd Willert, Story Medical Administrator. “This partnership is what we needed to truly assist our patients.”

Research shows how important the 1st Five partnership can be. In Iowa, over 90% of children ages birth to five are seen by a primary care provider. This gives providers the unique opportunity to encourage early identification and treatment for children’s development.

“We have already used the service a few times,” said Dr. Arthur Check, DO, FAAFP. “I can see that it will be a great resource for providers and in turn, the families we care for.”

1st Five Program
The 1st Five program is currently partnered with 61 medical practices across 16 counties in the state of Iowa impacting approximately 75,000 children birth-five years old seen at well child check-ups. Here is a list of the providers near you who are making a big difference in the lives of young children and families. For more information on 1st Five services in Story or Marshall Counties, call Janelle Durlin at (515) 232-9020 or visit www.idph.state.ia.us/1stfive/.

StoryCounty Medical Center
For 60 years, Story County Medical Center, Story Medical Clinics and Story Medical Senior Care have been the trusted providers of high-quality, local healthcare services for the residents of Story County. Their modern South Campus creates a healing environment that matches the personalized care and clinical expertise of its medical staff. Visit www.StoryMedical.org for more information.

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