With so much in the news around mental health in schools and how it impacts the student body, it makes one wonder just what are the ways in which mental health management in schools gets done? Do you know who is in charge of overseeing mental health issues in your child’s school? With so much riding on the mental health of the student body, you have to wonder how it is all being managed at the school level. Is it being managed?
If you consult Google for answers it seems rather scattered as to what, if any, Federal regulations there are outside of the No Child Left Behind Act. NCLB recommends school social workers to help manage mental health issues in schools. What are the requirements for a school social worker? States vary on what kinds of requirements they have for such a position, if it is a requirement at all. The NCLB recommends one master’s-degree school social worker to 800 students ratio; the School Social Work Association of America recommends one master's-degree social worker per 400 students. There is a big difference between a recommendation and a regulation. When the government recommends a ratio that exceeds the School Social Worker Association recommendation by 100%, Houston, we have a problem! If there is no school social worker present at your child’s school, who is qualified to oversee mental health management?
Mental Health Management In Schools Isn’t Really Being Managed Well
Since school systems don’t really need to have school social workers in every school, or in any school for that matter, then who is overseeing this avalanching need? The answer might surprise you. A school psychologist can be found in most school settings but what their function is during the average school day makes the title a little misleading. Yes, they do meet with students who are in need of psychological assessment and interventions, but their function is more in line with the needs of those who have nuanced learning differences, not to meet one-on-one with students for routine counseling. Some school systems do have adjunct services that are providing psychological counseling onsite for students, but this is not a Federal requirement.
For those students who are seeking professional psychological or psychiatric help outside of school, how are those findings and progress updates being integrated into school records? They aren’t. There is no mechanism in place, other than email, paper, or otherwise to connect outside mental health services to the education professionals working with a student every school day. This shocking information is typically very new to most parents, especially those who do not have a child in need of mental health services, but go to school alongside these students every day.
For something so fragile and critical as mental health management in schools and the general wellbeing of those students receiving mental health services, what can be done to connect all of the components of mental health and wellbeing for better outcomes for all students? Surely there are those students who do not have ongoing mental health needs but may have situational issues in their lives that should require all parties involved in their educational journey to be in the know? Should school administrators be notified if one of their students has started cutting themselves at home and have sought treatment for it? How do school administrators manage this information if they are even privy to it? There are more questions than answers, but there does need to be something in place for mental health management in schools that makes sense and helps to keep the entire student body safe and supported.
How Do You Connect Outside And Inside Services In Real-Time?
The big question is how to make all sides of the equation work together for the best interest of those students needing mental health management, from every facet of their lives. Enter eCare Vault. It is one of the first FERPA and HIPAA secure solution of its kind to be able to manage effective information sharing and collaboration of a student, no matter where those services happen. For the first time, an outside mental health worker and the school psychologist or teacher can communicate and plan strategies together for better outcomes for the student in need, in one place for all to see.
But what about parents? Yes, parents are part of the care team too. They are just as much a part of mental health management as the professionals who treat their child. eCare Vault is for parents, it’s for mental health professionals, it’s for schools. It’s for all parties coming together for the good of the child and real mental health management in schools.