MU's School of Medicine receives grant for children's mental health

Tuesday, January 25, 2011 | 8:46 p.m. CST

COLUMBIA — MU's School of Medicine received a $3.25 million grant to fund LAUNCH, a project meant to work at preventing mental health problems in children in Boone County.

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awarded the grant to Laine Young-Walker, the school's chief of child and adolescent psychiatry, the school announced at a news conference Tuesday morning.

LAUNCH stands for Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children's Health. Though the emphasis is on mental health, the project will strive to improve physical, emotional, social, cognitive and behavioral development services.

The project’s more than 20 partners will serve families through home visits and mental health consultations, among other efforts. Young-Walker said the project partners will work with primary care physicians to help identify children who need services.

LAUNCH's partners include the Missouri Department of Mental Health, Child Care Aware of Missouri and Head Start.

Hal Williamson, the vice chancellor of the MU Health System, said the five-year grant will help “prepare children to thrive in school and beyond.”

With the resources from the grant, “we’ll reach (children) sooner with the right resources at the right time," he said.

MU is one of six organizations to receive funding for the project in the U.S. this year, said Robert Churchill, the dean of the School of Medicine.

The announcement coincides with Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid's declaration of Jan. 24-30 as the Week of the Emotionally Healthy Child in Columbia. Activities this week include seminars for parents and training for child care providers, according to

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