Mental Health

Serious Young Man Talking To Counsellor or Teacher

The emotional and psychological well-being of individuals promotes healthy development, functioning and increases the capacity of individuals to live productive lives while striving towards reaching their full potential. 

A major aspect of the school environment includes promoting the mental health of all students, and the provision of programs and services to address those needs.   

School mental health programming include an array of services that address prevention, early intervention and treatment needs of students to facilitate well being and positive healthy youth development.

School mental health programming include an array of services that address prevention, early intervention and treatment needs of students to facilitate well being and positive healthy youth development.   

The provision of mental health services involve partnerships between schools and community health/mental health organizations guided by families and youth and is culturally and linguistically competent.  Services are integrated into existing school programs, services and strategies focusing on the student population as a whole.

Mental health professionals provide additional student supports in schools.

Schools are a natural setting for the provision of programs and services that meet the mental health needs of students. Schools strive to create safe, caring and enriching environments that foster healthy student development, positive academic outcomes, and reduce problems

Student mental health is directly connected to positive academic outcomes and student achievement.

Addressing the mental health needs of students enhances factors that increase a student’s ability to succeed in and reduces factors that interfere with a student’s ability to succeed in school.  School mental health strategies have been shown to improve academic outcomes, reduce disciple referrals, increase graduation rates, increase student attendance and facilitate a positive school climate. 


Weist, M. D. & Paternite, C. E. (2006). Building an interconnected policy-training-practice-research agenda to advance school mental health. Education and Treatment of Children, 29, 173-196.

Cunningham, D. (2011). The Role of Mental Health in Schools. Presentation at the 2011 OSDFS National Conference: Washington, DC.


Featured Resources

Thumbnail cover image - Suicide Prevention Resource Center: Best Practices Registry

Provides information, organized into three sections—evidence-base programs, expert/consensus statements, and adherence to standards—about best practices that address specific objectives of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. The website also contains a searchable Best Practices Registry (BPR) database as well as news and events, training institute, and reference library.

Education Development Center
Cover thumbnail - Health Care Reform: What School Mental Health Professionals Need to Know

Provides an overview of health care reform and the implications for school mental health. Highlights important changes to health care under the Affordable Care Act and its potential impact on mental health services for children and families.

Cunningham, J., Grimm, L. O., Brandt, N. E., Lever, N., & Stephan, S.
Thumbnail cover image - Mental Health in Schools: Moving in New Directions

Considers school policies that try to assist teachers in dealing with the variety of psychosocial and health problems that interfere with learning and performance. Cautions against fragmented supports for students and reviews the benefits of a "whole child" approach for improved outcomes.  

Adelman, H.S. & Taylor, L.
cover - The National Child Traumatic Stress Network: Resources for School Personnel

Provides tool kits for schools and educators on tips for responding to a school crisis and administering psychological first aid. The resource also provides additional resources on how to appropriately respond to trauma, bullying and other school safety related issues.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network
Picture of the Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices cover page.

Presents a select group of strategies based on the best available evidence to help communities and States sharpen their focus on prevention activities with the greatest potential to prevent suicide. These strategies include: strengthening economic supports; strengthening access and delivery of suicide care; creating protective environments; promoting connectedness; teaching coping and problem-solving skills; identifying and supporting people at risk; and lessening harms and preventing future risk. 

Adolescent Health Highlight: Access to Mental Health Care cover page

Describes barriers to treatment of adolescent mental health disorders; discusses the connection between insurance status and access to mental health treatment; and explains funding for adolescent mental health services.

Positive Mental Health: Resilience cover page

Presents key research findings on characteristics that are associated with resilience; describes program strategies that promote resilience; discusses links between resilience and avoidance of risk-taking behaviors; and provides helpful resources on the topic of resilience. 

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