Mental Health Needs of Children and Youth: The Benefits of Having Schools Assess Available Programs and Services

Elizabeth V. Freeman and Kimberly T. Kendziora

Image of two young adults conferring over a laptopThere has been a steady rise in the number of children and youth needing programs and services that promote positive mental health and provide early intervention and treatment. How are schools responding to this challenge?

Increasingly, school systems are joining forces with community health, mental health, and social service agencies to promote student well-being and to prevent and treat mental health disorders. Through these collaborations, schools and local agencies are working together to address the growing health, behavioral, and mental health needs of students.

The key to success in such efforts is assessment. This brief explores how continuous evaluation and assessment of a school’s mental health programming (e.g., classroom programs, interventions, services, parental involvement, etc.) can benefit students, families, schools, and communities. Further, the brief describes how the Mental Health Parity Act, the new Mental Health Reform Act (embedded within the 21st Century Cures Act), and Medicaid provide ways for schools and communities to offer services for those in greatest need.