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UCLA School Mental Health Project
Center for Mental Health in Schools
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Continuing Education: Unit II

Addressing Barriers to Learning
New Directions for Mental Health in Schools

Section A Continued

Stop, Think, Discuss

Gathering Some Assessment Data

The school Nurse asked Mrs. Johnson to have the doctor send her a medical report. Although she was already convinced that Matt's problems were not physical, she wanted some validation.

To get a sense of his past experiences at school, she went to Matt's school records. It was clear from his grades and achievement test scores that the problems at school had not appeared until he entered 4th grade.

She talked with his teacher, Mr. Briggs. He didn't much like Matt but said the boy was smart and that his basic skills were pretty good. He also stressed that, because of the way Matt acted, none of the other students liked him. As far as the teacher was concerned, Matt just needed parents who could control him.

When she told Matt she wanted to talk with him, he wanted to know why. She explained her concerned that things weren't going well for him and that she thought he might have some ideas about how the school could help him make things better. She let him know that he didn't have to talk about anything he didn't want to discuss. She also said they could meet at a time that was good for him. Matt was skeptical, but he agreed to talk with her during math time.

When he appeared at her office, Joan put a "Conference in Progress" sign on the door and proceeded to engage Matt in a dialogue designed to find out what was wrong and what might be done to help him.

What types of things should a school nurse explore in interviewing a student about psychosocial and mental health concerns?

What is likely to facilitate and what can inhibit student talk during an interview?

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Contents of Section A

Examples of Some Tools Contained in the Accompanying Materials

A Form to Request Assistance in Addressing Concerns About a Student/Family

A Structured Outline for Exploring the Problem with the Student/Family
(Outlining specific areas and topics that might be explored to better understand the nature and scope of problems)

A Suicidal Assessment Checklist (a new page will open)

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Contents of Section A

Test Questions -- Unit II: Section A

(1) Which of the following were discussed as major facets of identifying and processing students in need of assistance for mental health and psychosocial problems?

___(a) initial problem identification
___(b) screening/assessment
___(c) client consultation and referral
___(d) triage
___(e) initial case monitoring
___(f) a, b, d
___(g) a, b, e
___(h) all the above

(2) It is especially hard to know the underlying cause of a problem when a student is not very motivated to learn and perform at school

___True ___False

(3) Screening can be used to help clarify the nature, extent, and severity of a problem?

___True ___False

(4) The instrument for screening suicidal risk doesn't ask about

___(a) past attempts, current plans, and view of death
___(b) reactions to precipitating events
___(c) available psychosocial support
___(d) attitudes toward school
___(e) history of risk-taking behavior

(5) Which of the following are a focus of the initial interview/questionnaire instruments

___(a) the student's perception of the problem
___(b) what has been tried previously to deal with the problem
___(c) motivation to do something about the problem
___(d) a, b
___(e) all the above

This is the end of Unit II Section A.

Move on to:
Next page / Unit II Section B

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Contents of Section A