Elements of School-Linked Services

Elements of School-Linked Services2017-01-16T13:39:48+00:00

Project Description

an icon of an open bookIn Depth: Elements of School-Linked Services

Schools are a natural place for students to receive mental health support due to the extensive amount of time they spend in educational settings. Students identified as at risk for mental health issues are more likely to receive adequate support if these services are provided in school rather than in the community. Therefore, it is important that school staff members consider the mental health needs of their students and collaborate with mental health professionals to create school-linked services. The following strategies provide school teams with a process to identify, select, implement, monitor, evaluate, and adapt evidence-based behavioral and mental health practices within schools. Schools implementing school-linked mental health services should:

Identify and implement intervention and treatment methods that have documented effective outcomes for children.
A continuum of supports for students that increase in intensity and are meant to prevent mental illness and promote wellness for all students includes universal strategies, screening and early intervention to ensure students requiring additional support. More intensive individualized services are also provided for students with imminent mental health issues (Please see the Overview for more information about the public health prevention model).
Strategies for promoting health and wellness should be implemented across settings including classrooms, hallways, cafeteria, recess, and transportation. Provide all teachers with explicit, and active training for positive classroom management.

Example: A person is learning to request a break with a nonverbal cue rather than running out of the room. Whenever the person requests a break, the interventionist immediately releases the person from the task he is working on and lets him have a short break. This is an example of immediate reinforcement. If the person requests a break and the interventionist does not immediately release him from the task he is working on, then the reinforcement is delayed (i.e. not immediate).

Partnerships among members of a multi-disciplinary leadership team allows schools to develop targeted-group interventions for students that are facilitated by in-school and community-based providers. Through such collaboration, team members maximize the likelihood that the academic, behavioral, and mental health needs of all students are addressed.
Families benefit from positive communication (written, verbal), invitations to school-based educational and social activities and active involvement in the planning process. Some family members may require additional support to access activities and to be more involved in their child’s education (e.g., transportation, interpreters, child care). Others may be active team members with school and mental health providers implementing and guiding school-linked services.
Practices should be relevant to culture and local context. Data used to guide selection of practices should be culturally valid. Outcomes should be disaggregated to ensure that optimum results are achieved for all populations and subpopulations of students.
Evaluation and outcome data are used to select and monitor prevention and intervention strategies, implementation integrity, and staff training.

Graphic illustrating the process of implementing person-centered planning and positive behavior supports

Source: Evans, S.W., Simonsen, B., & Dolan, G. (2013). School-level practices. In S. Barrett, L. Eber, M. Weist (Eds.) Advancing education effectiveness: Interconnecting school mental health and school-wide positive behavior support. (pp. 46-57).