School Mental and Behavioral Health Services

School psychologists are uniquely trained to deliver high quality mental and behavioral health services in the school setting to ensure all students have the support they need to be successful in school, at home, and throughout life.

Access to school-based mental health services directly improves students' physical and psychological safety, academic performance, and social-emotional learning. Additionally, the most positive outcomes occur when these services are provided by high quality professionals, such as school psychologists, school social workers, and school counselors. NASP is committed to improving the capacity of individual school psychologists to provide school mental and behavioral health services, in part by advocating for policies that support the following:

Inclusion of an explicit definition of "school psychologist" in federal, state, and local legislation and policy.

School psychologists possess a unique set of skills that set us apart from psychologists that practice in the community and it is important that schools and parents understand the distinction. School psychologists are uniquely trained to deliver academic, behavioral, social, emotional, and mental health services in a school setting and legislation and policy must require that professionals delivering these services in schools have the appropriate training and qualifications to do so.

Adequate staffing levels of school psychologists.

Fully providing effective, integrated, and comprehensive services requires schools to maintain appropriate staffing levels of school psychologists consistent with NASP standards. Unfortunately, many states and districts have a marked shortgae of school psychologists making it impossible for school psychologists to provide the full range of services for which they are trained, including school-wide preventive services (e.g., bullying, violence, and dropout prevention), safety promotion, individual and group service delivery, and sustained school improvement. Further, as a result of these shortages, many districts go without prevention and early intervention services that effectively link mental health, school climate, school safety, and academics instruction.

Effective Partnerships with Community Providers

Partnerships with community providers or school-based health centers can provide important resources for individual students. However, community providers sometimes lack familiarity with specific processes in teaching and learning and with systemic aspects of schooling. Successful school-community partnerships integrate community supports into existing school initiatives utilizing a collaborative approach between school and community providers that enhances effectiveness and sustainability.

School-Based Mental Health Services and School Psychologists

Good mental health is critical to children's success in school and life. Research demonstrates that students who receive social-emotional and mental health support achieve better academically.