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. Integrating school-based mental health services into multi-tiered system of support allows school-employed and community-employed staff to receive professional development on school-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) practices, effective mental health integration into their school-wide PBIS, as well as mental health awareness and the basics of behavioral health and wellness.
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.
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. School-based mental health services and tele-health programs allow mental health needs to be addressed without removing students from the learning environment. School nurses also play a role in mental health, especially by helping to reduce bullying and risk of suicidality among youth.
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. Building social emotional capacities can also positively impact students’ mental health and academic outcomes. There is evidence that universal social and emotional learning interventions enhance youth’s social and emotional skills and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety in the short term. 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.
Ancheta, A. J., Bruzzese, J. M., & Hughes, T. L. (2021). The impact of positive school climate on suicidality and mental health among LGBTQ adolescents: A systematic review. The Journal of School Nursing, 37(2), 75-86.
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Clarke, A., Sorgenfrei, M., Mulcahy, J., Davie, P., Friedrich, C. & McBride, T. (2021). Adolescent mental health: A systematic review on the effectiveness of school-based interventions. Early Intervention Foundation.
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