Child and adolescent mental health and the schools

Lauryn Young, Maura Mulloy, Sloan Huckabee, Ryan Landoll, Elaine Miller, Marissa Miller, Mark D. Weist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Recently, a national priority has been set to improve mental health services for children and families. It has been identified in epidemiological literature that in the United States, an approximate 15% of youth meet diagnostic criteria for emotional or behavioral problems. Furthermore, less than one in every five children that present with such needs receive mental health services. Individual, family, and system barriers such as transportation, competing demands, and long waiting lists have negatively impacted access to mental health services. Therefore, the school system has become the "de facto" mental health system for children and adolescents, in part because of the significant time students spend at school. However, meeting the needs of students with behavioral or emotional problems within the school system poses its own challenges. Schools have reported being limited in their ability to deliver basic mental wellness to students due to the lack of available resources. Specifically, there is a shortage of school-employed mental health personnel and the ratio of student to mental health professional is two to three times larger than recommended. Expanded school mental health programs are partnered systems that utilize existing services and collaborate with community mental health (CMH) professionals at each level of the three-tiered system. This partnership enables CMH staff gain access to youth with emotional and behavioral problems, resulting in increased prevention and intervention services for students. Additionally, a coordinated effort such as student-transition services has an integral role of facilitating the process from the school system to postsecondary employment, training, and or additional education.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-224
Number of pages28
JournalAdvances in Learning and Behavioral Disabilities
StatePublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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