Mental and Behavioral Health

October 1, 2018

The prevalence—as well as social and economic costs—of mental, emotional, and behavioral health disorders among American students is alarming. According to the National Academy of Medicine, nearly 1 in every 5 American students struggles with mental, emotional, and behavioral health each year [National Research Council and Institute of Medicine (NRC & IOM), 2009]. Children with mental or behavioral health problems are at greater risk of falling behind in school and, left untreated, can compound that risk into adulthood. Mental, emotional, and behavioral health disorders disproportionately affect low-income students, students of color, and students with a history of adverse childhood events (i.e., trauma).

Recent policy change at the federal level allows states and local education agencies to prioritize and direct resources towards more holistic indicators of student success, such as student access to mental and behavioral resources.  As such, policy solutions and interventions in mental and behavioral health are most successful if guided by a multitiered system of support (MTSS): universal mental, emotional, and behavioral supports for all students; targeted screening and intervention for at-risk students; and intensive support for students demonstrating the highest needs.  Additionally, research strongly supports the use of school-based mental health consultation as an effective strategy for providing mental health services to children.

Full reference list: PB18-004 References

Keywords: mental health, behavior, emotional health, psychology, support