School-based consultation clinicians are in schools to help with the emotional and behavioral needs of students, parents, teachers and the community. Although school-based consultation has been in existence for the more than 20 years, the program is becoming a more viable option for families.
Mental health is a big issue in schools right now. School-based clinicians are on-site and are able to help a student or teacher immediately especially a student dealing with anxiety or test anxiety. Students who are struggling with emotional or behavioral issues are affected academically and socially.
School-based behavioral health services
School-based consultation services include behavioral health screening and referral, crisis intervention, student social/emotional skill development and behavioral health and wellness education, community linkage and referrals, parent/guardian engagement/education, CARE team meetings, education and training school staff and diagnostic and treatment services.
Behavioral Health Screening and Referral –
Students and family members of students are referred by school staff and/or CARE team (with permission from the parent/guardian) to screen for possible mental health or substance abuse issues and provide information and connections to appropriate treatment options.
Parent/guardian engagement/education -
Providing engagement strategies, support and education to parents/guardians to promote and strengthen family involvement and family protective factors/assets and to reduce stigma related to behavioral health services. Providing or connecting parents/guardians to parenting support and educational resources that are available through the school building, neighborhood, Early Childhood Resource Center, National Alliance Mental Illness and/or available evidence-based groups such as Incredible Years and Dina Parent Component. Also includes attendance at school building open houses and events and home visits.
CARE team meetings and other school-based care coordination meetings -
Availability to participate in the CARE Team, Multi-factored Evaluation (MFE), Intervention Assistant Team (IAT), Individualized Service Plan (ISP), Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports (PBIS) or other school-based care coordination meetings for purposes of identifying students at risk, coordinating and planning appropriate services and supports for students and families, evaluating student/program outcomes, and providing progress reports/updates.
Education and training of school staff -
Education and training of school staff that supports trauma informed and prevention-oriented efforts to enhance the social/emotional culture of the school building and classrooms. Also includes providing support and education to school staff regarding effective social/emotional interventions and strategies for individual students.
How are school-based referrals made?
School-based clinicians establish relationships with their school through CARE teams. CARE teams are made up of a teacher from each grade level, the principal, guidance counselor and clinician. In these CARE team meetings, students are often identified as kids to monitor for behavioral and emotional issues. If anyone on the CARE team feels consultation services are warranted, a phone call will be made home to the parent or legal guardian. If the family is open to consultation, and the parent gives consent and signs the necessary paperwork, a student may be seen during the school day for up to 180 minutes during the school year.
School-based consultative services as well as treatment are a more feasible option for some families for multiple reasons. Those reasons include the child is getting help during the school day; a more convenient time for families versus an evening appointment; clinicians are there in the moment of the crisis situation and can provide immediate help; and can be a safety-net for students to speak with someone. Students receiving services are from diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds.
Part of school-based therapy is being as discreet as possible and protecting the privacy of the student/family. Communication is a top priority between the school, family and student as how the student is released from the classroom/lunchroom to receive help at school.
Do clinicians see clients during breaks?
When school is out during winter, spring and summer vacations, clinicians still see clients. Clinicians are encouraged to keep in contact with the parent; home visits; and perhaps seeing the child at the school. This time is also used for family sessions. Consultation ends when the school year is over.
What school districts do we cover?
C&A is under contact through Stark Mental Health and Addiction Recovery (SMHAR) with eight of the 17 Stark County school districts – Alliance, Canton and Massillon city schools and Lake, Marlington, Plain, Sandy Valley and Tuslaw local schools. We will have clinicians in 50 school buildings.
Meet The Staff
Sharon Nunn Alexander
Sandy Valley Local