School-based mental health services are an essential component of our education system. Trauma, stress and conflict can interfere with almost every aspect of a child's learning. Access to these services not only improves students' physical and psychological safety, but also reduces costly negative outcomes such as:
- Disciplinary incidents
- Dropping out
- Chronic absenteeism
- Substance use disorders
- Suicidal thoughts
- Risky behaviors
- Involvement with the criminal justice system
The Health Systems Division provides direct funding to 17 counties in the highest-need areas of Oregon. These are areas that do not have a School-Based Health Center.
The funds help these counties provide mental health services to approximately 70 schools. For schools served by this funding, view our provider map.
Local mental health clinicians are placed directly in local schools to provide person-centered, trauma-informed rapid crisis and clinical interventions directly to youth and families. They also help teachers with mental health related issues in their classrooms.
A school-based mental health clinician is a counselor, social worker, or other qualified mental health professional. They:
- Must be licensed or certified under state law to serve school-age children.
- Are situated in the school.
- Offer crisis and clinical intervention services directly to students and families as needed.
Mental health clinicians have ongoing therapeutic relationships with students. They assist students in a variety of areas:
- How to manage healthy relationships,
- Conflict resolution, and
- How to manage depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.
Clinicians also talk with teachers and administrators and offer support around student issues in the classroom while advocating for positive behavior interventions in the classroom.
Links and resources
Centering Health and Well-being in Education
The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) co-developed this resource to support schools and districts to develop and sustain health and well-being initiatives, leading to academic improvements. Districts, schools, healthcare partners, local public health, Tribes, and community based organizations can deepen collaboration through the development of systems and partnerships that center racial equity and support student physical, mental and behavioral health. Seven strategies are highlighted in the resource, as well as Oregon community & district partnership profiles outlining existing funding models that support blending and braiding resources.