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School Mental Health

What is School Mental Health?

school mental health

School mental health services and supports are an effective means of addressing the mental health needs of children and improving the learning environment. Comprehensive school mental services help educators prevent and respond to crises while fostering a school climate that supports teaching and learning. Highlighting stories of success and recovery helps reduce the stigma associated with mental illness.

We can improve student outcomes through social and emotional supports by building positive relationships and increasing school engagement to help concentrate on learning. Families are critical in their children’s education and school staff must be able to address mental health needs. Partnerships between schools, youth, families, and mental health providers can result in improved academic outcomes. 

Mental Health, SEL, Trauma & Safety Online Training Materials - This document provides links to the many Student Service Prevention and Wellness online learning modules for adults related to Mental Health, SEL, Trauma & Safety.

Why School Mental Health Matters

In this video, educators from across Wisconsin share their perspectives and experiences on the importance of school mental health. They highlight how school mental health helps to support students’ mental health and wellness and create school climates in which students feel connection and belonging. Learn how this work is making a difference in students' lives and why school mental health is essential for a thriving educational environment.

Previous CoP Sessions & Recordings

Promoting SEL Virtually

Title: Promoting SEL Virtually

Date: May 14, 2020

Providing Effective Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health: The Role of Screening

Title: Providing Effective Social, Emotional and Behavioral Health: The Role of Screening

Presented by: Dr. Katie Eklund, PhD, University of Madison - WI

Date: July 9, 2020

Description: Screening data can be used to better inform schools about where to focus resources for children who demonstrate social-emotional and behavioral concerns. This session will provide an overview of screening measures, ethical and legal considerations, and procedural considerations during COVID-19 and when students return to school. Participants will learn how to use a decision-making framework to connect screening data to interventions for all students, including racially and ethnically diverse youth.

Data-Driven Approaches to Support Student Mental Health in 20-21

Title: Data-Driven Approaches to Support Student Mental Health in 20-21

Presented by: Dr. Elizabeth Connors, PhD

Date: July 23, 2020

Description: This virtual presentation and discussion is designed to help school systems plan how to collect and use data to inform their multi-tiered system of student mental health supports. Strategies and practical tools to assess current stressors and mental health needs will be discussed, as well as considerations for planning ahead to use data throughout 2020-21 to ensure a system that is data-driven and responsive to changes in real-time

Organizing Your Community Around Social-Emotional Learning to Meet this Moment

Title: Organizing Your Community Around Social-Emotional Learning to Meet this Moment

Presented by: Urban Assembly - Brandon Frame and Joshua Bobrow

Date: August 6, 2020

Reunite, Renew, Thrive: SEL Roadmap for Returning to School

Title: Reunite, Renew, Thrive: SEL Roadmap for Returning to School

Presented by: Pat Conner, CASEL

Date: August 20, 2020

Multi-Level Interventions to Reduce Disproportionality

Title: Multi-Level Interventions to Reduce Disproportionality

Presented by: Celeste Malone

Date: September 3, 2020

Description: Schools have the responsibility to promote equitable outcomes for all students; however, national and local data demonstrate persistent racial/ethnic and socioeconomic inequities in special education identification and the use of exclusionary discipline practices. In this workshop, participants will discuss the root causes of disproportionality and identify individual and school-wide strategies to promote equitable outcomes for all students.

Culturally-Responsive Problem-Solving

Title: Culturally-Responsive Problem-Solving

Presented by: Dr. Markeda Newall

Date: September 17, 2020

Description: The purpose of this session will be to define culturally-responsive problem-solving in the context of school-based decision-making. Specifically, attendees will learn two strategies to help reduce bias and increase equity in the problem-solving process.

Managing Our School-based Practice In Unprecedented Times: Setting Boundaries That Work For Ourselves And Our Schools

Title: Managing Our School-based Practice In Unprecedented Times: Setting Boundaries That Work For Ourselves And Our Schools

Presented by: Prof. Michael Kelly

Date: October 1, 2020

Description: In this interactive session, Prof. Michael Kelly of Loyola University Chicago's School of Social Work will discuss meaningful and effective boundaries around pupil service work roles. Starting at the local policy level, we need to consider how these policies fit within a Code of Ethics, and then what to do if they do not. We will discuss boundary setting in terms of a new way of working in this unprecedented time. We will also look at our ethical responsibility to self-care and how this relates to maintaining good boundaries.
Mandated Reporting in Virtual Settings

Title: Mandated Reporting in Virtual Settings

Presented by: Julie Incitti, DPI and Lexi Mueller, Department of Children and Families

Date: November 12, 2020

Description: Join us for learning and discussion around the topic of mandated reporting for school staff in virtual learning settings. During the pandemic, reporting to Child Protective Services has been reduced, due in part to children not having as much contact with mandated reporters who can recognize and respond to abuse. We will review the requirements in place for mandated reporters and consider the roles and practices of school staff in virtual settings. We will provide tips for how to prevent, mitigate, and respond to abuse and neglect. We’ll also review the role and function of child welfare professionals and how we can best collaborate to support student success.

Presentation materials:
WI Department of Children and Families Child Protective Services Data Dashboard - Information on received and completed child protective services Access Reports and screening decisions.


*An error has prevented this session from being properly recorded. A recording of the session will not be made available. Please review the slides and handout for further learning.

Supporting Student Trauma and Grief Webinars with Dr. Schonfeld

Two webinars, presented by Dr. David Schonfeld, Director of the National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, to address information and resources about supporting student trauma and grief while students are staying safe at home and upon the transition back to school buildings.

Thursday, May 21, 2020 2:30-4:00 PM

Session 1: When school starts back: Helping students and yourself cope with crisis during a pandemic.
This session, intended for pupil services professionals, summarizes the principles of psychological first aid and common reactions that may be seen in any crisis event, including the current pandemic. It provides practical advice on how to help students and staff understand and cope with the current pandemic and begin to prepare for what may be needed to offer support to students when schools re-open. The session will underscore the need for professional self-care and highlight some of the barriers as well as some potential solutions. Ample time will be devoted to questions and discussion. Together, we will consider how best to support students, staff and ourselves during this evolving pandemic.
Tuesday June 2, 2020 10:00-11:30 AM

Session 2:When school starts back: Supporting grieving students during a pandemic.
This session, intended for pupil services professionals, but appropriate as well for those without formal mental health training, will provide practical advice on how to support grieving students in any context. A wide range of topics will be covered, including what not to stay, considerations related to grief across different cultures, how to initiate conversations with grieving students, identifying and addressing guilt, appropriate academic accommodations, and managing grief triggers. The unique challenges of supporting grieving students during the current pandemic, as well as free resources for addressing these challenges from the Coalition to Support Grieving.

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For questions about this information, contact Tim Peerenboom (608) 266-1999