Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mental health in schools

It seems the issue of children's mental and emotional well being was getting some attention a few years ago. In the report referenced here, the call to attack the major points of fragmentation and confusion are laid out and pinpointed.
The Cadre has emphasized that, for communities and schools, the range of MH and
psychosocial concerns confronting young people requires much more than providing
services for those with mental disorders. The need is for comprehensive, multifaceted
approaches that encompass a continuum of programs and services that systemically
>promote healthy social and emotional development (assets) and prevent problems (by
fostering protective factors and resiliency and addressing barriers to development
and learning)
>intervene as early-after-the onset of a problem as is feasible
>provide specialized assistance for persons with severe, pervasive, and/or chronic
Establishing the full continuum and doing so in an integrated and systematic manner
requires weaving community and school resources together and requires financing for
start-up costs and underwriting for wide-scale.

Most kids served in schools are dealing with complex and pervasive issues that weave their way through their lives in addition to the stresses of making the grade at school. Behavioral issues seem to be lumped together with mental health issues. They are not the same thing. A behavioral issue may indicate and underlying mental health issue especially in a small child. Behavioral programs do not address the underlying causes of the problematic behaviors. They typically offer quick fixes that serve to get the child through a given situation successfully. At least from the school's perspective. However, my question is does the environment of the school mirror what happens in real life? Can a student use anything they learn at school to deal with the problems of a drug abusing parent? Too many kids are dealing with adult level problems. They need support and help from the one place they spend most of their lives. Children are in schools from ages 5 to 18 years old. That is a lot of learning time. Are we using it to best serve the kids? You tell me. The date on the report here is 2005. 4 yeasr later, has it made a difference?

No comments:

Post a Comment