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School-Linked Mental Health Services

Overview page (PDF)

School-Linked Mental Health programs offer effective mental health services right in schools.

School-Linked Mental Health programs:

  • Increase accessibility for children and youth who are uninsured or underinsured
  • Improve outcomes for children and youth with a mental health diagnosis
  • Improve identification of mental health issues for children and youth.

Why Schools?

Untreated mental health issues are a significant barrier to learning and educational success. Placing children’s mental health services in schools provides a great opportunity for mental health promotion, prevention and early identification and intervention.

Schools reduce barriers such as:

  • Financial/insurance
  • Childcare
  • Transportation
  • Employment concerns
  • Mistrust/stigma
  • Past experiences
  • Waiting List/intake process
  • Stress

School-Linked Mental Health services have proven particularly effective in reaching children who have never accessed mental health services. Many children with serious mental health needs are first identified through this program. Community mental health agencies provide mental health professionals and practitioners at schools, with most of their time involved in direct child and family services including assessment and treatment, as well as teacher consultation, care coordination and school-wide trainings.
Results include:

  • Coordination of care, with services delivered to where the kids are
  • Increased access and sustained engagement in treatment
  • Evidence-based mental health services from highly trained mental health professionals regardless of their insurance status.
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