School Mental Health
Mental health is a dimension of overall health and includes a continuum from high level wellness to severe illness. School mental health includes practices to address this continuum from high level emotional well-being to significant student mental health challenges. School mental health addresses all aspects of social-emotional development of school-age children including wellness to mental illness. Stigma associated with mental illness needs to be directly addressed and eliminated. This is most effectively done through an inclusive approach and offering examples of people who are similar to students and who share positive results and recovery. School mental health may include but is much broader than a school-based or –linked mental health clinic.
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; selected, brief strategies to support some students at risk of or with mild mental health challenges; and intensive, ongoing strategies to support those few students with significant needs, including a streamlined referral process with school employed mental health professionals and school-based 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.
The Need for School Mental Health
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, school employed mental health professionals, and school-based mental health providers can work together to put in place comprehensive systems that integrate mental health supports into daily academic life, including the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) systems already established.
The Benefits of School Mental Health
School mental health services and supports are an effective means of addressing the mental health needs of children and improving the learning environment. Partnerships between schools, youth, families, and mental health providers can result in improved academic outcomes through:
- Social and emotional support through developing the skills of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making, and building positive relationships;
- School engagement with children being better prepared and able to concentrate on learning;
- Families participating in their children’s education;
- Preparation of school staff to address students’ mental health needs;
- Early identification of mental health challenges through appropriate screening, assessment, and follow-up;
- Emphasis on school attendance and reductions in dropouts;
- Prevention and response to crises;
- A positive school culture and climate that supports teaching and learning, and fosters good mental health through trusting and communicative relationships between teachers, their students and families; and
- Efforts to reduce stigma associated with mental illness by by educating students and parents on mental health topics and professionals, and offering examples of people similar to students who share their personal stories of success and recovery.
Suicide Prevention Board Policies
Suicide Prevention, Intervention, and Postvention Handbook
National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
School-Based Mental Health Agencies
Center for Integrated Family and Health Services “The Family Center”
560 S. San Jose Avenue
Covina, CA 91723
Phone: (626) 967-5103
Fax: (626) 967-1339
14600 Ramona Blvd.
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
Phone: (626) 337-8811
Fax: (626) 856-5653
Foothill Family Services
1530 W. Cameron Ave
West Covina, CA 91790
Fax: (626) 993-3093
13001 Ramona Blvd
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
Phone: (626) 373-2900
Fax: (626) 373-2940
Kaiser Permanente Educational Outreach Program (EOP)
4141 Maine Ave.
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
Phone: 626 814-6408
Fax: (626) 814-6424
Each Mind Matters and SanaMente programs are part of California’s Mental Health Movement, supported by CalMHSA and Proposition 63, to raise awareness and reduce the stigma associated with mental health issues. Resources to improve mental health and equality in our community, prevent suicide, and promote student mental health.
YMHFA is an 8 hour public education program which introduces participants to the unique risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems in adolescents, builds understanding of the importance of early intervention, and teaches individuals how to help an adolescent in crisis or experiencing a mental health challenge. Mental Health First Aid uses role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care.
NAMI High School Clubs
The NAMI On Campus High School Club (NCHS) is a student-led club that raises mental health awareness and reduces stigma on a high school campus through peer led activities and education. All three of our high schools, Sierra Vista High School, Baldwin Park High School, and North Park High School have NAMI Clubs; the Sierra Vista High School NAMI Club was the first in the East San Gabriel Valley!
Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.
A 2015 national study published in the American Journal of Public Health found statistically significant associations between SEL skills in kindergarten and key outcomes for young adults years later in education, employment, criminal activity, substance use, and mental health. The study concluded that early prosocial skills decreased the likelihood of living in or being on a waiting list for public housing, receiving public assistance, having any involvement with police before adulthood, and ever spending time in a detention facility.
The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) is a well-known, worldwide organization that promotes the integration of academic, social, and emotional learning for all children in preschool through high school. CASEL also provides a unique combination of research, practice, and policy to support high-quality social and emotional learning in districts and schools nationwide.
A national survey of school principals say SEL is essential, but want more guidance, training, and support to teach these skills effectively. Virtually all principals believe a stepped-up focus on SEL would: positively impact school climate, build citizenship, improve relationships between students and teachers, and decrease bullying. Read the 2017 report from Civic Enterprises.
What is CoVitality?
The term “covitality” describes the interplay of positive psychological mindsets that contribute to positive social emotional health and thriving student development.
Schools across the country are using the CoVitality App to make social and emotional learning central to their educational process. School leaders use this universal mental health screening survey to holistically engage with their students and positively discuss their individual social emotional health. By focusing systemically on social emotional learning, school districts are getting results in higher academic achievement, graduation rates, and attendance.
Assessing the behavioral and emotional functioning of adolescents helps to promote student success. Academic difficulties, along with challenges associated with developing and maintaining positive relationships with others, can be the result of behavioral and emotional distress that affects student learning and school climate. When caught early, these challenges can be addressed before having negative effects.
The Baldwin Park Unified School District’s goal is to effectively use this universal mental health survey and it’s results to help our students understand and manage their emotions, set and achieve positive goals, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The CoVitality App has been approved by the Baldwin Park Unified School District in an effort to better understand the social emotional climate of our schools and help create a more positive learning environment for our students.
Dr. Susan Coats
Office of Student Services
3699 N. Holly Avenue
Baldwin Park, CA 91706
626-962-3311 Ext. 6075
“Promoting Relationships, Student Wellness & Fostering Positive Learning Environments”