School Mental Health Programs and Services
Over 300 SMH professionals support resiliency—the ability to bounce back from challenges with a stronger sense of self-confidence and coping capacity—and positive student connections with peers, family, school, and community by promoting healthy relationships, self-reflection and problem- solving skills to optimize school success. They facilitate the ability to successfully manage traumatic experiences, crises, and mental health issues.
SMH works with all members of the educational team (e.g. principals, teachers, and related service providers) and school community (e.g. parents or other caregivers, community groups) to improve student mental health and wellbeing, student engagement, family engagement, and school climate by implementing targeted prevention and interventions, services, and mental health consultation. SMH is a national leader in the development and implementation of two key strategies which create safe and supportive school environments: utilizing a trauma-informed approach and implementing evidence- based clinical practices.
Services provided by Psychiatric Social Workers include:
TIER I: Universal Services:School-wide support aligned with the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) principlesProfessional Development opportunities for parents, caregivers and school staff - please click here.
- Mental health consultation
- Trauma and mental health screening
- Mental health promotion, awareness and education
- Violence prevention, problem solving, and empathy skill building curricula
- Graduate-level student intern training and supervision program
- Child psychiatry training program
- Trauma-informed and mental health training for parents, caregivers and school staff
- Suicide Prevention Training
- Threat Assessment & Workplace Violence Prevention Training
- Trauma Sensitive Parenting & Classroom Interventions
TIER II: Targeted Services
- Case management and linkage to school and community supports
- School-site crisis team participation
- Classroom support aligned with Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) principles
- Evidence-based group interventions to address trauma, anxiety, depression and oppositional behavior
- Member of the Student Support and Progress Team (SSPT)
- Parent education and training
- Risk assessment and threat management teams
TIER III: Intensive Services
- Evidence-based mental health services to address trauma, anxiety, depression and opositional behavior
- Individual, group and family therapy
- Psychiatric medication support and management
- Special education services (Educationally Related Mental Health Services)
SMH delivers mental health services within LAUSD, the primary four of which are described in greater detail in the plan below.
School-Based Social Work
PSW services may be funded by individual schools to provide a range of preventive, early intervention, and acute mental health assessments and treatments in group, individual, or family modalities. PSWs support a school-wide foundation of positive discipline, safe climate, academic success, and mental and emotional wellness by helping develop and sustain a caring school environment that promotes problem-solving skills and positive behavior support. School climate is one of the eight priorities required by the state of California to be addressed by district LCAPs, thus further increasing the value of PSW services.
Wellness Networks and Clinics: Integrated Care
Clinic outpatient mental health services for LAUSD students are provided through a partnership between the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health (DMH) and LAUSD SMH. As DMH providers, SMH clinicians are committed to implementing the County of Los Angeles’ vision to improve the quality of life in the county by providing responsive, efficient, and high quality public services that promote the self-sufficiency, well-being and prosperity of individuals, families, businesses and communities. The program includes 7 Wellness Networks, 8 Clinics, and satellite clinics at school sites. Wellness Networks and Clinics provided 22,490 student and family encounters serving 1800 students.
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services
Crisis Counseling and Intervention Services (CCIS) is dedicated to restoring and maintaining a safe and healthy learning environment for students and staff after critical incidents on or near a school campus. CCIS staff builds the capacity of district staff to implement prevention strategies and mitigate the risk of school and community crises. They provide crisis response and recovery services in collaboration with School Police, Local Districts (LD), and community resources. Specific services include on-campus crisis intervention, threat assessment, suicide prevention, and disaster response.
Special Education Counseling
SMH renders Special Education services to identified students utilizing a tiered service approach. Level one includes Pupil Counseling (PUC) as a related service designated by an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for a student whose behavioral and emotional needs affect his/her ability to benefit and progress from his/her educational program. Level two includes Educationally Related Intensive Counseling Services (ERICS) as a Related Service designated by an IEP for a student whose behavioral and emotional needs are more intense and are manifested in the school, home, and/or community settings.
Other Services and Programs
In addition to the four main programs, SMH includes several specialized programs that support mental health efforts in SHHS and District programs, including: Field Instruction Program, Pre-school Special Education Services, Foster Youth Achievement Program, Student Enrollment and Placement Assessment Center, and Alternative Education and Work Center.