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School-Based Mental Health Programs and Services: Overview and Introduction to the Special Issue

Abstract

School-based mental health (SBMH) programs and services have grown progressively in the United States in the past two decades, related in part to increased recognition of their advantages and heightened federal support. However, SBMH is an emerging field, with many issues needing attention. This introductory article provides a context for the special issue by highlighting the importance of increased conceptual clarity about SBMH, enhanced mental health—education systems integration, and advancement of the SBMH research base. Key elements for success of SBMH programs and services are discussed, as underscored recently by the report of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health (2003) and other important initiatives. These elements include (a) school–family–community agency partnerships, (b) commitment to a full continuum of mental health education, mental health promotion, assessment, problem prevention, early intervention, and treatment, and (c) services for all youth, including those in general and special education. A synopsis of the articles in the special issue is provided, emphasizing their conceptual and empirical contributions to delivery and sustainability of effective mental health practices in schools.

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Correspondence to Carl E. Paternite PhD.

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Paternite, C.E. School-Based Mental Health Programs and Services: Overview and Introduction to the Special Issue. J Abnorm Child Psychol 33, 657 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10802-005-7645-3

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Keywords

  • school-based mental health
  • mental health promotion
  • prevention
  • intervention
  • effective practices
  • education of children
  • public policy