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School Mental Health

School Mental Health Programs and Data

In collaboration with the California Department of Education’s (CDE) Counseling, Student Support, and Service-Learning Office (CSSSLO), the California Healthy Kids Survey project is working to provide better data to support school systems in establishing quality school mental health (SMH) programs. A growing body of research documents the relationship between youth mental health issues and academic failure, including increased risk of poor school attendance and lack of connectedness, as well as increased chances of victimization, substance use, and other health-risk behaviors.

Programs

Comprehensive school programs that address the mental health needs of students and promote student well-being and positive development are critical to ensure student success in school and life. The CSSSLO aims to foster such comprehensive school programs by providing strategies, resources, and training in mental health issues, including:

  • school climate
  • resilience and youth development promotion
  • bullying
  • crisis prevention and intervention
  • suicide prevention
  • coping with tragedy
  • school violence and substance use prevention

Data

School mental health data should be used to inform decisions that will lead to positive school climate and effective programs that promote mental health well-being.

As part of this effort, the CDE has contracted with WestEd to offer two invaluable services: 1) Provide data and support materials through the Cal-SCHLS system to raise statewide awareness among local educational agencies (LEAs), state agencies, and stakeholders of child and adolescent mental health needs in California; and (2) promote local use of Cal-SCHLS data to guide district program planning efforts to address the mental health needs of students. The following data, reports, and resource tools are available:

  • Making Data Driven Decisions in Student Support and School Mental Health Programs: A Guidebook for Practice summarizes relevant survey questions and discusses how they relate to mental health issues and assessment needs, as well as how the surveys can be used to develop and implement SMH programs.
  • A set of tables and a companion Factsheet #11 (pdf) summarizing CHKS results for 2006-08, disaggregated by whether or not students reported chronic sadness through answering the following question: During the past 12 months, did you ever feel so sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more that you stopped doing some usual activities (yes or no)?
  • A set of tables and a companion Factsheet #12 summarizing CHKS results for 2008-10 based on student responses to a new question added to the secondary 2008 CHKS: During the past 12 months, did you ever seriously consider attempting suicide (yes or no)?

For more information about CDE’s Mental Health Services Act Program contact:

Monica Nepomuceno, CDE Counseling, Student Support, and Service-Learning Office,
Education Programs Consultant • mnepomuceno@cde.ca.gov • 916-323-2212
-or-
David Kopperud, CDE Counseling, Student Support, and Service-Learning Office,
Education Programs Consultant • dkopperud@cde.ca.gov • 916-323-1028

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