Minnesota Q&A

Shelley Shea

In April, we sat down with Shelley Shae, RN, BSN, Program Manager for Minnesota’s Mental Health Collaboration Hub (MHCH), for a Q&A discussion. The MHCH Hub has helped youth patients in boarding situations connect with community mental health services. Their work's lessons learned and impact are invaluable for teams seeking innovative ways to reach EDs.

These discussions allow PMHCAs to engage directly with other organizations to share information about their program wins and challenges. They also allow other PMHCAs to gain insights into their work, highlight key points, or provide real-world examples relevant to other PMHCAs.

What has been the most successful accomplishment of your PMHCA program to date?

Minnesota’s PMHCA’s Mental Health Collaboration Hub (MHCH) began its grassroots effort in August of 2022 to help youth struggling with mental illness or behavioral issues or who are stuck “boarding” in emergency departments (EDs), hospitals, county buildings, hotels, juvenile detention centers, etc. Through community collaboration, we have had over 300 cases placed on the Hub, and 264 cases have been successfully discharged patients with appropriate care providers. We feel tremendous success with each safe placement. In recent months we have seen the number of days boarding decrease by 55%.
View the MHCB Impact Update: March 2024.

How has your team managed challenging projects?

There honestly haven’t been many challenges aside from the initial work required to get the project up and running and engage the community to participate. In our experience, once folks understand our shared goals, they are eager to become involved.

The MHCH community works together extremely well. We have formed subcommittees with our users to brainstorm ideas, create care pathways, and determine the next steps. A small group meets with our IT developers each week to discuss and implement new and exciting features, work out glitches, and anticipate how we will move forward to broaden our scope.

Have you engaged in state or national associations to collaborate?

The MHCH is itself a collaboration of 185+ organizations. The initiative is funded by a HRSA grant through the Minnesota Department of Health and has received in-kind support from AspireMN and the Metro Healthcare Coalition.

What modes of outreach about your program have been most successful?

Several community providers, along with AspireMN, called attention to the amplified boarding crisis in August of 2022. AspireMN has been a champion in getting the word of our existence out to the hospitals, the community providers, the Minnesota legislators, government officials, and more.

We have been holding weekly virtual calls since we began in August of 2022 to discuss these cases and make connections, which has proven to be the best mode of continuing to engage people. We place the call link in each outreach email, and people will come to the call, see what we are doing, and want to get involved. We often hear from our members, “This child was placed thanks to the connections made on this call.” The MHCH has also begun hosting tables at events and conferences around Minnesota and has been successful.

Our team has rallied behind the story of “The Star Thrower” by Loren Eiseley. “It made a difference for that one” is the message behind the story. It illustrates how each person can make a difference. We can all make extraordinary efforts to help each individual child. Although it is overwhelming to see so many children that need a safe place, every child or starfish we can help is a win. https://mnpsychconsulthub.com/the-star-thrower/

Once a provider has enrolled in your services, how does your team provide support?

We host weekly virtual meetings, and anyone who works in the pediatric mental health community is welcome to attend. At each call, we go through the cases on the Hub, and the providers can ask questions, give or receive recommendations, make connections, and find solutions for children in a boarding facility. We typically have upwards of 40 participants attending each call.

This is also a space where we will discuss topics, brainstorm ideas, provide support for each other, and, most importantly, build relationships. Several subcommittees have been formed within our collaboration to work on problem-solving strategies surrounding staffing issues, risk factors/liabilities that deter admission, universal referral form development, and more.

Our platform is very user-friendly, and when members have a question, we can usually solve their issue quickly and easily. Our IT team, Get U Wired, is also readily available to solve an issue, fix a glitch, and provide tech support.

How do keep stakeholders aware of your current and/or new services?

We send out a weekly newsletter that includes a reminder of our weekly call, new data or trends, new developments within the Hub, community happenings, legislature updates, notes from the previous week’s call, and more.

View the MHCH Poster.