School Based Mental Heath Services
***These resources are in no way intended to assess and/or treat any medical or psychological condition or otherwise replace treatment by a qualified mental health professional.***
Information and referral.
To request more information, please call or email Dr. Tracy Catalde, Coordinator of Social-Emotional Supports. If the nature of your request is a life threatening emergency, please call the Contra Costa Crisis Line at 800-833-2900 or call 911.
Providing a continuum of school mental health services is critical to effectively addressing the breadth of students’ needs.
Comprehensive mental health services are most effective when provided through a multi-tiered system of support (MTSS) by all staff, including school-employed mental health professionals. MTSS encompasses the continuum of needs and services, enabling schools to promote mental wellness and prevention for all students, identify and address problems before they escalate or become chronic, and provide increasingly intensive, data-driven services for individual students as needed.
Resilient children are more successful in school and life.
Good mental health is critical to children’s success in school and life. Research demonstrates that students who receive social–emotional and mental health support achieve better academically. School climate, classroom behavior, on-task learning, and students’ sense of connectedness and well-being all improve as well. Mental health is not simply the absence of mental illness, but also encompasses social, emotional, and behavioral health and the ability to cope with life’s challenges. Left unmet, mental health problems are linked to costly negative outcomes such as academic, behavior, and physical health problems, as well as reduced likelihood of completing school and a variety of high-risk behaviors.
School mental health services are essential to creating and sustaining safe schools.
Increased access to mental health services and support in schools is vital to improving the physical and psychological safety of our students and schools, as well as academic performance, relational and problem-solving skills. School mental health supports encompassing social–emotional learning, mental wellness, resilience, and positive connections between students and adults are essential to creating a school community in which students feel safe and empowered, which is proven to be among the most effective school safety strategies. Additionally, following a crisis, school-employed mental health professionals provide support to facilitate a return to routine calm, are sustainable, and can help to identify and work with students with more intense or ongoing needs.
School-community collaboration is critical to providing the full continuum of mental health services.
Meeting the full continuum of student needs also relies on a collaboration between our schools and community mental health providers. An MTSS approach facilitates effective collaboration while ensuring that services provided in school are appropriate to the learning context and those that are provided after school hours are appropriately linked to and supported in the school setting. Partnerships are most effective when coordinated by school-employed mental professionals, teachers, parents, and administrators and reinforce an appreciation for the unique contribution each team member makes to creation of a seamless system. This not only increases student learning, it reduces gaps, redundancy, and conflict, as well as stress on families and empowers and supports their roles as primary caregivers and decision-makers regarding their child’s development.
Schools are an ideal place to provide mental health services to children and youth.
Schools are located in the community and children spend at least 6 hours a day there. Schools offer an ideal context for prevention, intervention, positive development, and regular communication between school and families. PUSD schools have a variety of professionals like therapists, counselors, behavior specialists, and school psychologists who know the students, parents, and other staff, which contributes to the accessibility of prevention-based social-emotional learning and mental health services. In fact, research has shown that students are more likely to seek mental health services when available in schools. All services provided in our schools are appropriate to the learning environment and fundamentally targeting skills needed to be successful at school and later in life.
There is a growing and unmet need for mental health services for children and youth.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, one in five children and adolescents experience a mental health problem during their school years. Examples include stress, anxiety, bullying, family challenges, depression, a learning disability, and alcohol and substance abuse. Serious mental health problems, such as self-injurious behaviors and suicide, are on the rise, particularly among youth. Unfortunately, estimates of up to 60% of students do not receive the treatment they need due to stigma and lack of access to services. Of those who do get help, nearly two thirds do so only in school.