Center for MH in Schools & Student/Learning Supports  

 

Hot Topics
Information and resources on topics of current interest

Ongoing Hot Issues
Analysis briefs delineating ongoing issues relevant to MH in schools and addressing barriers to learning and teaching

Everyone’s Talking About Students’ Mental Health:
Schools Need to Avoid Five Potential Pitfalls

It is widely recognized that the pandemic has increased the number of students experiencing
emotional, learning, and behavioral problems. Schools must plan to meet the challenge.

However, as in the past, schools will make serious errors if their plans are based on false assumptions.

Here are five to avoid:


DON’T ASSUME THAT
    (1) the majority of students are suffering from ailments that require mental health treatment

DON’T ASSUME THAT
    (2) just adding a few more personnel is the best approach in addressing the many needs of students

DON’T ASSUME THAT
    (3) teacher and parent identification of youngsters experiencing problems is inadequate and therefore the school should develop a universal screening program

DON’T ASSUME THAT
    (4) referring students to a mental health provider should be the first step in helping them address mental health concerns

DON’T ASSUME THAT
    (5) a multi-tiered model (MTSS) is a sufficient intervention framework to improve how schools (and communities) help students.

For clarification of these matters and as an aid in planning, see Embedding Mental Health as Schools Change http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/improving_school_improvement.html   (available at this time as a free resource).

Also relevant are the following recent Center commentaries:

  • 2/18/21 Mental Health in Schools: Good! Advocacy for Separate Agenda – Not So Good! http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/staffing.pdf 

  • 3/24/21 Here We Go Again: In the Rush to Spend Federal Stimulus Funds Schools are Attending to Immediate Individual Needs Without Addressing the Opportunity to Make Necessary Systemic Improvements http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/3-24-21.pdf 

  • 4/15/21 Mental health Concerns are Becoming a School Priority: But How Best to Address the Priority Remains Controversial http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/4-15-21.pdf 

  • 4/23/21 About How Temporary Relief Funds for Schools are Used http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/4-23-21.pdf  

  • 5/28/21 About Temporary Relief Funds and Mental Health in Schools http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/pdfdocs/5-28-21.pdf  

    And for a better understanding of the context for helping all students at school, see

  • Improving School Improvement
  • Addressing Barriers to Learning: In the Classroom and Schoolwide
    Both available as free resources at http://smhp.psych.ucla.edu/improving_school_improvement.html 


  • As schools move forward to address emotional, learning, and behavior problems, please share what’s happening to stimulate broad-based discussion of misdirections and new and better approaches.

  • Share your comments about our hot topics and hot issues -- Send your responses to Ltaylor@ucla.edu


  • To see previous Hot Topics, click here


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    Contact

    Linda Taylor (ltaylor@ucla.edu)