According to the American Psychological Association, less than half of children with mental health challenges get treatment, services, or support. Yet, research increasingly reveals the connection between social-emotional development, mental health, and academic achievement. Because students are much more likely to seek mental health support when services are accessible in schools (Slade, 2002), schools benefit from comprehensive mental health systems to create positive learning environments where all students can flourish.
Addressing barriers to learning, including mental health challenges, through learning supports is an essential function of schools. Schools, families, and community mental health providers can work together to put in place comprehensive systems that integrate mental health supports into daily academic life, including the multi-tiered systems of support already in place. Henrico County Public Schools has collaborated with Virginia Tiered System of Support to install a multi-tiered system of support framework to support the academic, social-emotional, behavioral, and mental health needs of all students.
School mental health services refer to a continuum of supports for school- age children that are integrated throughout the school community: universal strategies to promote the social and emotional well-being and development of all students; targeted, brief interventions to support students at risk of or with mild mental health challenges; and intensive, ongoing interventions to support those with significant needs, including a streamlined referral process with community mental health providers to create a seamless service delivery model for children, adolescents, and their families. Various family, school, and community resources are coordinated to address barriers to learning as an essential aspect of school functioning.
HCPS has referenced The Wisconsin School Mental Health Framework which promotes district- and school-based teaming to facilitate mental health supports for school-age children. Much of the content listed above is taken directly from this reference document.