Behavioral Health

Why School Mental Health Matters

Schools are uniquely situated to play an important, perhaps leading, role in the prevention and treatment of mental health disorders.  Many students receive mental health services at their school: seventy percent of children receiving services get them at school. 1, 2

The school environment is often a place of protection and security for students struggling with mental health disorders.

Making Schools & Classrooms Trauma-Informed

Due to the impact trauma can have on youth, the California School-Based Health Alliance works to identify best practices for trauma-informed, healing-centered, and resilience-focused work in schools and school-based health centers in California.

CSHA’s Restorative, Trauma-Informed Schoolwide Assessment

The intention of the Restorative, Trauma-Informed Schoolwide Assessment is to support school leaders and staff in assessing their use of restorative, trauma-informed practices and to identify the strengths and areas of improvement for cultivating a restorative, trauma-informed school. The term restorative reflects an integration of restorative practices. Restorative practices are relational approaches used to proactively build a connected, inclusive school culture through the use of regular restorative “circles,” restorative communication strategies, and respectful and equitable approaches to conflict and discipline. A trauma-informed school is one that: Realizes the widespread impact of trauma and understands potential paths for healing and resilience; Recognizes how trauma and stress show up in leadership, staff, students, families, and others in the school community; Responds by fully integrating knowledge about trauma into policies, procedures, practices, and the overall school culture; and actively Resists Re-traumatization (adapted from SAMHSA’s Concept of Trauma and Guidance for a Trauma-Informed Approach, 2014). Together, a restorative, trauma-informed school integrates these two approaches to promote social and educational justice and resilience for youth, their families, and school staff.

Case Study: Frick Middle School (Oakland, California)
CSHA is working with Oakland Unified School District to support thirteen school-based health centers serving ten Oakland middle schools to increase trauma screenings and interventions, improve school culture and climate, and identify strategies to maximize Medi-Cal billing and future funding opportunities to continue this work for our students. One of the schools in this program is Frick Impact Academy, who is shifting their school culture and climate through wellness programming. Read the full case study.

(1) California School Health Centers Association, Integrated Trauma-Informed Mental Health Care to Support Boys and Young Men of Color: Recommendations for School-Based Health Centers, October 2013.
(2) Hurwitz, Laura and Weston, Karen, Using Coordinated School Health to Promote Mental Health for All Students, National Assembly on School-Based Care, July 2010.