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School-Based Mental Health Tools

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According to The School-Based Health Alliance, in order to have the greatest positive impact, school-based mental health services should be fully blended into the framework of the school and should follow a few best practices. 

School-based mental health services should: 

  1. build from and complement a positive school climate. 
  2. be universally available to all students, especially prevention and early intervention services. 
  3. come from mental health providers who work with school staff in teams. 
  4. have mental health providers who serve as a resource to teachers and other school staff. 
  5. be provided to school districts in partnership with county and community agencies. 
  6. be organized into a three tier system: universal, targeted, and intensive. 

In order to support your district’s efforts to build infrastructure and staff capacity within these best practices, we have identified vetted tools and provide them here to support your school-based mental health program. 

Trauma-Informed Practices in Schools: The National Association of School Psychologists has pointed out that trauma informed schools promote: Feelings of physical, social, and emotional safety in students. These resources will help you develop a shared understanding among staff about the impact of trauma and adversity on students and staff. 

Suicide Prevention: Resources to assist with compliance of AB 2246 and AB 1767. 

School-Based Health Centers: These are centers of health in schools where students are based. They can offer a full range of age-appropriate health care services, typically including: primary medical care, mental/behavioral health care, dental/oral health care, health education, substance abuse counseling, case management and nutrition education. 

The SHAPE System: SHAPE has the tools teams need to improve school mental health programming by providing school mental health quality assessment, resource library, custom reports and a library of free and low-cost screening and assessment measures. The following guides align with the MHTTC National School Mental Health Curriculum. 

Screening: ​School mental health screening is a systematic process to identify the strengths and needs of students. It supports the identification of students who may be experiencing or are at risk of experiencing social, emotional, and/or behavioral difficulties. The following national resources provide screening measure examples and guidance in how to support youth with early identification strategies. 

School-Based Mental Health Programs: These county, state and national resources provide guidance in the development, implementation, evaluation and sustainability of student mental health programs and services. 

Return to School After Covid-19: The following national resources provide guidance in providing social, emotional and mental health support to students during and after a return to school after Covid 19. 

Medi-Cal Reimbursement: As schools and local educational agencies seek out ways to fund and sustain school based mental health services, Medi-Cal funded services have the potential to grow significantly in schools. The following resources provide information to support third party billing and the development of Medi-Cal funded mental health support. 

If you are a District Designee and need additional information or have any questions, please reach out to your Regional Mental Health Coordinator.​