Resource Center for Families MH Behavioral Health in Schools
Resource Center for Families MH Behavioral Health in Schools

Behavioral Health in Schools

Preschool children face expulsion rates three times higher than children in kindergarten through 12th grade-a factor partly attributed to lack of attention to social-emotional needs.20

  • African-American preschoolers are 3 to 5 times more likely to be expelled than their white, Latino, or Asian-American peers.21

Children and youth in elementary school with mental health problems are more likely to be unhappy at school, be absent, or be suspended or expelled.

  • In the course of the school year, they may miss as many as 18 to 22 days.22
  • Their rates of suspension and expulsion are three times higher than their peers.23
  • Among all students, African-American students are more likely to be suspended or expelled than their white peers (40% vs. 15%).24

Youth in high school with mental health problems are more likely to fail or drop out of school.

  • Up to 14% of them receive mostly Ds and Fs (compared to 7% for all children with disabilities).25
  • Up to 44% of them drop out of school. 26

Source: National Center for Children in Poverty

School Psychology Resources Online

Dr. Mac's Amazing Behavior Management Advice Site 

Partnering with Your Child's School: A Guide for Parents

Mental Health Recovery in Schools: Psychological First Aid for Schools

by M. Taylor, M. Brymer, and G. Reyes.

 Mental Health Screening and Follow-up Care in Public High Schools by MM Husky, M Sheridan, L McGuire, M Olfson. J Am Acad Child Adol Psychiatry 2011 Sep;50(0);881-891


Despite increased interest in screening adolescents for mental health problems and suicide risk, little is known regarding the extent to which youth are identified and connected with appropriate services.


Between 2005 and 2009, a total of 4,509 ninth-grade students were offered screening. We reviewed the records of the 2,488 students who were screened. Students identified as being at risk were provided with a referral. Data were collected on screening results, mental health referrals, and completion of recommended treatment over approximately 90 days.


Among students screened, 19.6% were identified as being at risk, 73.6% of whom were not currently receiving any treatment. Students referred for school services tended to be less severely ill than those referred for community services, with lower rates of suicidal ideation, prior suicide attempts, and self-injury. Among at-risk students not currently in treatment, 76.3% of students referred received at least one mental health visit during the follow-up period. Overall, 74.0% of students were referred to school and 57.3% to community services. A great majority of school referrals (80.2%) successfully accessed services, although a smaller proportion of community services referrals successfully accessed treatment (41.9%).


Systematic voluntary school-based mental health screening and referral offers a feasible means of identifying and connecting high-risk adolescents to school- and community-based mental health services, although linkages to community-based services may require considerable coordination

updated 10-18-2011

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