When kids are in school – where they spend as many as 180 days each year – parents and guardians aren’t always afforded the opportunity to see how their children behave and interact with their peers and adults.
Mental health screenings are simple yet meaningful ways for schools to gain a greater understanding of their students’ emotional and psychological needs and can help set them up for successful academic journeys in the future.
Now, consider that in the context that mental health concerns among children are on the rise and may have significant impacts in their lives when those concerns are left undiagnosed or untreated.
That’s where school leaders can and should step in. With the help of support programs, everyone from teachers to school administrators and other support staff can play a pivotal role in identifying mental health concerns and facilitating a pathway to care and long-term health.
Screenings are an effective tool that school leaders can use to detect potential mental health issues early on, and when administered on campus can provide valuable insights into the student population.
Early Identification Through Mental Health Screenings
Mental Health screenings – a set of simple questions that make it possible to quickly assess signs of distress and better understand a student’s wellbeing in the moment – can be conducted by school counselors and other identified staff by utilizing a portable tablet and are being delivered more frequently in a school setting.
It is widely recognized when mental health issues are identified earlier, students are more likely to receive treatment sooner, which can lead to increased positive outcomes such as improved functioning at home, at school, and in social settings 1.
Undiagnosed Mental Health Concerns
Additionally, early intervention has been found to lead to decreased risk for further complications such as substance abuse or self-harm2.
When mental health concerns go undiagnosed or untreated for too long, there can be significant negative consequences for the student. Left untreated, students may struggle academically, become isolated from their peers, struggle with low self-esteem, or engage in risky behavior or self-harm3.
Students struggling with mental health concerns may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches or stomachaches due to stress4. All of these issues can lead to increased anxiety and depression if not addressed properly.
Screenings can guide potential clinical interventions and ensure students have access to the appropriate resources they need as soon as they need them.
The Role of Schools
It is important that school leaders and staff understand their role in helping facilitate screenings and identify students who might be struggling with mental health issues.
In addition to helping school personnel identify signs of distress, screenings also provide information about how well students are coping with everyday activities such as stress, anxiety, communication, learning abilities, and behavior.
Ultimately, this can lead to greater awareness that allows teachers to tailor their approaches based on what works best for each individual student and connect them to additional mental health supports if necessary.
Meaningful data collected from screenings gives schools the unique opportunity to address any potential issues existent in the student body and work towards prevention through even better mental health awareness initiatives. When trusted screenings are utilized properly, they have a long-lasting impact on individual safety and well-being inside – and outside – of the classroom.
Schools are more focused than ever on the need to incorporate students’ social-emotional needs alongside their academic requirements. School administrators who want to prioritize the health and safety of their campus communities are seeking out available funding resources to support on-campus mental health supports.
Early identification and intervention for youth experiencing mental health concerns is essential for ensuring positive outcomes for all students. The collaborative efforts of parents, teachers, school staff and mental health professionals can help ensure all students have the opportunity to thrive.
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available. Call or text 988 or chat 988lifeline.org. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website for more information.
Ready to learn more about the timely mental health screenings, teletherapy, and crisis supports that serve as the foundation for SchoolMed: Mental Health? Click here to schedule time with our experts to see how Goodside Health’s solution can increase health and safety programming on your campuses today.
About Goodside Health
Goodside Health is advancing the delivery of pediatric care by partnering with communities to provide access to physical health, mental health, and telehealth services at school, at home, and in the clinic. Relentless advocates for expanding access to care and promoting health equity, Goodside Health leverages a Whole-Child Approach to care and lives our mission of closing gaps in children’s healthcare through innovation and execution. To learn more about Goodside Health, please visit www.goodsidehealth.com.