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
In alignment with State Board Ruling 6A.1.094121, students enrolled in grades 6 through 12 will receive 30-minutes of instruction on mental and emotional health education on Wellness Wednesdays occuring on the ten early release days of the 2019-2020 school year. To strengthen the district’s approach to improving the climate and culture of our schools, students in K-5 will also participate in Wellness Wednesdays. Instruction provided to elementary students consists of social-emotional learning, interpersonal skills, and character education. All instruction is in alignment with Florida State Statute 1003.42 (2)(n)states “Comprehensive health education that addresses concepts of community health; consumer health; environmental health; family life, including an awareness of the benefits of sexual abstinence as the expected standard and the consequences of teenage pregnancy; mental and emotional health; injury prevention and safety; Internet safety; nutrition; personal health; prevention and control of disease; and substance use and abuse…”
Lessons are developed with licensed mental health professionals and district staff certified in health education, and consist of basic instruction aligned with Next Generation Sunshine State Standards. Resources used to enhance lesson guides include, but are not limited to: Second Step, NAMI, Sanford Harmony, Calm Classroom, Head Space, FLDOE, etc.
For more information on First Lady DeSantis’ “Hope for Healing Florida” initiative, visit http://hopeforhealingfl.com/
Wellness Wednesday link: https://dcps.duvalschools.org/Page/26942