School Behavioral Health services and supports are an effective means of addressing the mental health needs of students and improving the learning environment. Comprehensive School Behavioral Health services help educators prevent and respond to crises, while fostering a school climate that supports teaching and learning. Improvement of student outcomes through social and emotional supports helps reduce the stigma associated with mental illness by building positive relationships and increasing school engagement to help concentrate on learning. Partnerships between schools, youth, families, and mental health providers can result in improved academic outcomes.
The US Surgeon General reports one in five children and adolescents experience the signs and symptoms of a diagnosable behavioral disorder each year. This may result in significant disruptions of school classrooms, increased truancy, increased risk for alcohol and drug abuse and decreased graduation rates.
Behavioral health clinicians in public schools:
- Complement services already offered to students and families
- Work within existing support services in the schools to help create a safer and more supportive school climate
- Provide supportive services for school teachers and staff (i.e. professional development)
In addition, providing behavioral health services in schools, in partnership with school and community mental health providers, has proven to promote:
- Increased academic achievement
- Improved behaviors in the school and decreased disciplinary actions
- Less school violence and reduced dropout
- Increased academic engagement and motivation
- Improved school climate