Step 4: Assess Your Program’s Current Mental Health and Consultation Services and Set Goals and Outcomes (Strategic Planning Meeting 2)

Step 4: Assess Your Program’s Current Mental Health and Consultation Services and Set Goals and Outcomes (Strategic Planning Meeting 2)

Working from the overarching vision statement, your second strategic planning meeting should focus on setting goals and objectives for your mental health approach. Your overarching vision is likely to be very broad. As you develop your strategic plan, you will want to select a few more targeted goals, and then develop a set of specific objectives for each goal. Remember, goals tell you what you want to achieve —the ends, but not the means (how you are going to get there). Objectives are specific, measureable, actionable, realistic, and time-limited (“SMART”). Objectives are statements of things that your program can do or achieve in a relatively short time frame (you may want to have some objectives for the current program year, and some for upcoming years). When you accomplish your objectives, you will know you have had success in doing the activities outlined in your strategic plan.

Your mental health consultant, and how you structure their role and their relationships with staff, will be critical to helping your program achieve these goals. Make sure your program goals include goals related to supporting child, family, and staff mental health. You might try developing a goal for each one of these (child, family, staff). It’s ok to develop a “big list” of goals, in fact, that kind of brainstorm can really be important in getting everyone on board and excited about the planning process. Ultimately, though, you’ll want to focus your strategic plan on a manageable number of goals, each supported by a set of actionable objectives.

One way to begin to develop a list of program goals is to ask your team (and, perhaps, other staff members as well) to complete the ECMHC Program Needs Assessment Tool on this website. This on-line survey asks a series of questions about your program’s current approach to mental health and the services provided by the mental health consultant(s). Each individual who completes the tool will receive a printout that shows how their ratings of your program’s mental health services and consultation compares to currently recommended “Best Practices”. The report also includes resources for learning how to strengthen components of the program that might be in need of improvement. While each individuals’ perspective may be different, if each member of the team completes the Needs Assessment, this will give the team ideas for prioritizing specific program areas for goal-setting in your strategic plan. As program director, there is a separate Program Information Survey that only you can complete that includes critical information about how your current mental health consultation services are structured, so you’ll want to be sure to complete that and bring it to the team for discussion.

Once your planning team (or other staff, if you want to get broader input) has completed the ECMHC Program Needs Assessment Tool, you can use the results to generate a list of areas where your program needs to be strengthened, and to write goals and objectives for what you would like your mental health services and approach to accomplish. It is likely that there may be far more of these goals and objectives than you can reasonably be expected to accomplish in a year. Therefore, the next step in developing the strategic plan is to prioritize your goals and identify specific strategies for what you plan to accomplish, and when.

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This product was developed [in part] under grant number 1H79SM082070-01 from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The views, policies and opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of SAMHSA or HHS.