School-Based Mental Health

The term school-based mental health provider refers to school counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers who, by training and job-related duties, are responsible for assessing the risk of suicide (Code of Virginia 22.1-272.1). 

According to the American Psychological Association, fewer than half of children with mental health challenges get treatment, services or support. Yet research increasingly reveals the connection between social and emotional development, mental health and academic achievement. Because students are much more likely to seek mental health support when services are accessible in schools, 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 support systems 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 support into daily academic life, including the multitiered systems of support already in place. HCPS uses the Virginia Department of Education’s multitiered Virginia Tiered System of Support to meet the academic, social and emotional, behavioral and mental health needs of all students.

School mental health services provide a continuum of support systems that are integrated throughout the school community to meet the needs of school-aged children, including:

  • Universal strategies to promote the social and emotional well-being and development of  all students.

  • Targeted, brief intervention to support students who have or are at risk of mild mental health challenges.

  • Intensive, ongoing intervention to support those with significant needs. This includes a streamlined referral process with community mental health providers to create a seamless service delivery model for children, adolescents and their families. Various coordinated family, school and community resources address barriers to learning as an essential aspect of education.

Note: HCPS has referenced the Wisconsin School Mental Health Framework, which promotes division- and school-based teamwork to facilitate mental health support for school-aged children. Much of the content above is from this reference document.