SOMC receives grants to expand care offered to students

PORTSMOUTH- Southern Ohio Medical Center has received a series of grants from Nationwide Children’s Hospital to expand the types of healthcare offered to local students. The grants support programs that are aimed towards addressing issues ranging from ADHD and eating disorders to teen suicide.

A program recently implemented to offer support to students who have experienced suicidal thoughts is Caring Contacts.

“Caring Contacts is a program that pushes encouraging messages to suicidal children who have received treatment in the Emergency Room or SOMC Pediatrics,” SOMC Pediatrics’ Dr. Mikell Rase said. “The messages remind them that help is available, and tells them where they can get it.”

SOMC is also participating in the ZerOh Suicide program. Under this initiative, SOMC social workers and pediatric caregivers are taught best practices for identifying and treating children with suicidal thoughts who arrive in the Emergency Room.

“These programs give our staff the opportunity to collaborate with experts in the field, and to give our patients the support they need,” SOMC Director of Medical Staff Services Rebecca Fite said.

Another way SOMC is already expanding care to students is through school-based clinics. These clinics are intended to make healthcare more accessible to areas that would otherwise have limited access. Currently, SOMC partners with Northwest, Eastern and Western School Districts to offer clinics. There are also plans to open a clinic at Green Local Schools.

“These clinics improve medical care in the areas, but we are also collaborating with behavioral health specialists, such as those at Shawnee Mental Health, to address issues that are more common in children,” SOMC Primary Care Operations Manager McKenzie Lester said. “Issues like eating disorders and ADHD.”

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