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”
540 S Eremland Dr.
Covina, CA 91723
Phone: (626) 967-5103
Fax: (626) 331-4529
1515 W Cameron Ave
West Covina, CA 91790 Suite 350
Phone: (626) 337-8811
Fax: (626) 856-5653
Foothill Family Services
503 W. Badillo Street
Covina, CA 91722
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
Baldwin Park Unified is partnering with Care Solace, an online research tool that assists individuals in finding local counseling-related services, to promote the importance of mental health and ensure the well-being of the District community. Care Solace services are available at no cost to BPUSD students, families and staff.
To use the program, individuals answer 10 questions and are directed to an extensive list of referrals for care providers. A search algorithm matches individuals with mental health care resources within seconds.
Care Solace generates referrals that take into account a variety of insurance policies, including private insurance, Medi-Cal, Medicaid and Medicare. If uninsured, Care Solace also identifies local care providers that allow individuals to pay out-of-pocket for services.The site does not require a username, home address, phone number or date of birth. Click on the Care Solace logo to be connected!
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.
The Baldwin Park USD is currently implementing the evidenced based SEL curriculum of Second Step on all elementary and middle/junior high school campuses. Second Step provides instruction in social and emotional learning with units on skills for learning, empathy, emotion management, friendship skills, and problem solving. Second Step uses four key strategies to reinforce skill development: brain builder games (to build executive function), weekly theme activities, reinforcing activities, and home links. Teachers are encouraged to give children daily opportunities to practice. Second Step also connects new skills to other areas in the curriculum (e.g., literacy, arts, dramatic arts) and provides a structure for each day of the week. The first day contains a script and main lesson. The second day includes a story and discussion. The third and fourth days involve practice activities in small and large groups. On the fifth day students read a book connected to the overall unit theme, and teachers send home a “Home Link” activity that gives students an opportunity to practice new skills with their caregivers. Second Step lessons and accompanying photographs incorporate a variety of cultures, ethnicities, and backgrounds. Home Link activities are available in English and Spanish.
Social & Emotional Development
Parent Toolkit is a one-stop resource in English and Spanish, developed with parents in mind. It’s produced by NBC News Learn and supported by Pearson and includes information about almost every aspect of your child’s development, because they're all connected. Healthy, successful children can excel in many areas – in the classroom, on the court, and in their relationships with peers and adults. Our advice also covers important topics for navigating life after high school.
Research shows that those with higher social-emotional skills have better attention skills and fewer learning problems, and are generally more successful in academic and workplace settings. Like any math or English skills, these skills can be taught and grow over time.
The Middle School Brain During Puberty (Video Series)
5 Minutes to Spare: MIddle School 5 Minutos de Sobra: Escuela Media
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.
The New Year: Looking Toward 2020 with Self-Compassion in Mind
Reframing a New Year’s resolution into something that can be obtained on an ongoing basis, such as committing to acts of self-care, can help create sustainable emotional wellness. First, we invite you to look back at our first holiday season blog to get some ideas for self-care tips moving into the new year. Next, we want to offer a suggestion for a new year’s practice to take you into 2020 and beyond: self-compassion.
What is self-compassion, anyways?
Self-compassion is the ability to respond to and support yourself in the same way you would with someone you love and care about, like a close friend. Instead of beating ourselves up over mistakes we make or perpetuating negative self-talk when we don’t feel good enough, self-compassion involves caring for yourself with kindness and acceptance, acknowledging your humanness and responding to yourself with understanding.
How can self-compassion benefit our mental health?
Self-compassion is not just a good practice for the sake of treating ourselves better, it has also been connected with helping people experience less anxiety, depression, and shame. Self-compassion allows us to experience more connection with others, less judgement toward ourselves and the ability to be more mindful, which helps us learn from our emotions and experiences throughout life.
How do we bring self-compassion into the New Year?
Setting an intention for the new decade to practice self-compassion is something that can be looked at as an ongoing journey, and one that can be practiced in everyday settings. Experimenting with some free mindful meditation practices may be a good place to start the journey. Try using this exercise guide and these tips for practicing self-compassion, or explore these free guided meditations and exercises to begin. Engaging in self-compassion might not always be easy, but it’s something we can continue to look at as a practice for our overall emotional well-being.
So, while you are setting your resolutions for the new year, try putting self-compassion at the top of your list. Who knows, maybe a little self-compassion will help you look at your other resolutions in a whole new way!
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”