Mental Health

Philosophy of Mental Wellness and Mental Health

Badlands Head Start: Prenatal to Five embraces a vision of mental wellness. The objective is to build collaborative relationships among children, families, staff, mental health professionals and the larger community in order to enhance awareness and understanding of mental wellness and the contribution that mental health information and services can make to the wellness of all children and families.

The Child Mental Health Performance Standards address working collaboratively with parents, securing the services of mental health professionals and developing a regular schedule of on-site mental health consultations involving mental health professionals, program staff and parents. Anticipating and understanding a child’s mental health and its relationship to the child’s behavior and development helps parents and staff to respond in a manner that enhances the child’s development.

Staff communication with parents draws upon the parents’ knowledge of their child’s development and respects their parenting strengths, values, cultures and childrearing approaches. Relevant information shared in the family partnership agreement process or drawn from the child’s records is incorporated into these discussions. Communications about a child’s mental health can occur through formal and informal opportunities, such as during home visits, staff-parent conferences or parent meetings. For many families, issues related to mental health are sensitive ones and must be approached with care. When staff members take the time to establish rapport and to build trusting relationships with parents, the parents will feel more comfortable discussing issues related to mental health.

Badlands Head Start: Prenatal to Five provides mental health support services for the entire program through a staff Mental Health Specialist. BHS: P-5 believes that the initial step to mental wellness involves promoting awareness and understanding of family and child social/emotional development and communications. The next step involves using this understanding and awareness in the design and implementation of prevention strategies. Finally, Badlands Head Start: Prenatal to Five supports intervention by professionally educated and trained Mental Health Professionals who provide services for families, children and staff. Mental health services are interwoven into the entire service milieu.

Rebecka Funk is our Mental Health Specialist.  Ms. Funk is a masters level, licensed professional counselor of mental health and has been serving those in the Black Hills since 1999. She brings a wealth of experience to those she sees and has worked at community health centers in both NE and SD. She has provided home based and out patient therapy to children, teens, adults and families and has worked in an adolescent residential treatment center as well. Ms. Funk has specialized training in experiential play therapy and began working as a mental health consultant for Badlands Head Start in August of 2014. She is the owner and sole practitioner at Funk Counseling in Spearfish, SD.

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