Comprehensive School Mental Health
What is Mental Health?
Mental health is something that everyone has, from infancy to adulthood, that affects how people think, feel, and act. Although it is often thought of as the opposite of mental illness, mental health includes both the absence of illness and the presence of high levels of wellbeing. Wellbeing includes having positive emotions, feeling fulfillment, contributing to the community, and being able to cope with daily life stressors. Mental health is also dynamic and fluid; someone experiencing a mental health challenge will not always be. People are capable of healing, transformation, and recovery.
What is Comprehensive School Mental Health?
A Comprehensive School Mental Health System (CSMHS) includes a continuum of services and supports to promote student and staff mental health by fostering social and emotional wellbeing and positive school culture, and eliminating systemic barriers to wellbeing and success for all students (Lever 2019). A CSMHS increases health equity by ensuring all students and staff have access to the prevention, early intervention, and treatment supports that they need, when they need them, free of stigma.
Wisconsin’s vision for Comprehensive School Mental Health is outlined in the Wisconsin School Mental Health Framework: Building and Sustaining a Comprehensive System. The framework includes six components of a CSMHS and provides guidance on implementing them from a trauma sensitive lens. For additional implementation supports, check out the Wisconsin Comprehensive School Mental Health Toolkit, coming soon.