Why mental health services within the school community?
Schools are a natural environment in which child and adolescent mental health concerns can be identified and addressed. Therefore, families are more likely to utilize mental or physical health services when those services are located on the school campus. This facilitates ease of access and reduces the stigma associated with obtaining mental health services. Additionally, the presence of SMH professionals and services are beneficial to the school as a whole, by contributing to positive academic, behavioral, and social-emotional outcomes as they relate to safety, relationships, teaching, and learning.
Childhood is a vital time for promoting positive mental health and supporting at-risk families in order to avert the early onset of some mental health disorders and help reduce the severity of others. To reduce the potential burden and lifelong difficulties of untreated mental health needs, it is critical that mental health problems in young children be identified and addressed early.Scientific research provides an understanding of how early adversity harms the developing brains and bodies of children. When students are impacted by adverse childhood experiences, toxic stress, or trauma, their ability to fully concentrate and focus on the instructional program is negatively affected. By addressing students’ trauma responses and helping them to develop positive coping, resilience, social-emotional skills, and healthy relationship-building skills, SMH professionals play a key role in supporting students to learn and achieve.Investment in mental health services—including prevention, early intervention, and acute services— positively impacts measurable outcomes for students, such as improved attendance and GPA; increased rates of high school graduation and reading ability; decreased suspension and expulsion; and reduced involvement with the criminal justice system and out-of-home child welfare placements. Prevention, early detection, and intervention help preempt more severe mental health needs later in life.In addition to supporting students and families directly, SMH professionals play a key role in training and supporting educators by helping to address students’ mental health concerns, linking students to community resources, and fostering connections within the school environment for vulnerable students in need of extra support. They also support teachers by promoting self-care strategies and techniques to improve classroom dynamics and reduce teacher burnout.
Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)
Parenting in a Challenging World National Child Traumatic Stress Network
El Abuso o la Violencia en el Hogar Afecta a los Hijos Los insultos, los gritos, las amenazas, los golpes u otros tipos de abuso en el hogar afectan a los hijos. Aún cuando estén dormidos, no se encuentren en el mismo cuarto o estén muy chicos para hablar, las peleas o el abuso pueden causarles daño. Hasta los niños más pequeños saben cuando algo está mal en su casa. Cuanto más tiempo estén en esta situación, más duro será para ellos, especialmente si son muy pequeños.
Abuse or Violence at Home Affects Your Children When there is name-calling, yelling, threats, hitting or other abuse in the home, it affects the children. This is true even if your children are asleep, not in the room when the fighting or abuse happens, or are too young to talk. Even very young children know when something is wrong at home. The longer your children live in this situation, the harder it may be for them, especially if they are very young.
What is Resilience? Resilience is the ability to return to being healthy and hopeful after bad things happen.
Building Resilience in Young Children, beststart.org
Resilience Guide for Parents & Teachers, American Psychological Association
Self-Care for Families
A Parent’s Self-Care and Self-Reflection, Domestic Violence and Children Factsheet Series
Self-Care for Parents, Programs for Early Parent Support
How to Build a Culture of Good Health, Gabor MatéAdditional Resources
Age-Related Reactions to a Traumatic Event, NCTSN.org
1-2-3 Care: A Trauma-Sensitive Toolkit for Caregivers of Children
ACES Too High Blog, www.acestoohigh.com
Bryan Post “Stress Model” and Attachment, Foster/Adoption, www.bryanpost.com, The Post Institute
LAUSD School Mental Health (213) 241-3841
Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health ACCESS Center HelpLine: 1-800-854-7771
LA County 24-Hr. Info Line: 2-1-1
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: English and Spanish, 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Los Angeles County Domestic Violence Hotline: 13 languages, 1-800-978-3600
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)
National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673)