School Mental Health


three teens talking


There is a huge unmet need for mental health services among children and young adults. School mental health services can help meet that need.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, more than 20% of children and adolescents have a mental health condition.[1] Most chronic mental illness begins by age 24, including half by age 14,[2] making this time of life critical for beginning to receive mental health services.


However, only about half of school-age children with a mental health condition actually receive mental health services,[3] and most (70-80%) of those who receive services obtain them through school.[4] [5] Schools are a natural setting to promote student well-being and address mental health concerns. Mental health services and supports are increasingly integrated into education systems because of the documented link between mental health and educational success.[6] In addition, some argue that schools have an ethical imperative to attend not just to the academic success of students, but also their social, emotional and behavioral development.[7]


Yet, there are often very few mental health service providers in schools: the ratio of students to school counselors in the US is 481:1,[8] and the ratio of school-age children to school psychologists is 1506:1.[9] Furthermore, while strategic collaborations between school systems, the mental health workforce, and community programs are imperative to the success of school mental health programs,[10] effective interdisciplinary teamwork is a common challenge. [11]


In August 2018, the MHTTC Network, which includes 10 Regional Centers, a National American Indian & Alaska Native Center, a National Hispanic & Latino Center, and a Network Coordinating Office, received supplemental funding to address the need for further implementation of mental health services in school systems. The MHTTC Centers will:


  • Provide direct TA and training on the implementation of mental health services in schools and school systems.
  • Provide training/TA on the importance of mental health service provision in schools and linkages to such services where direct provision is not possible.
  • Disseminate information related to best models of school-based mental health provision, including ways in which these models can be implemented. 




School Mental Health Activities

Check out the mental health activities planned by the MHTTC Network!

School Mental Health Resources

Want to learn more about school mental health?

Wondering what else we’re up to?

Learn about the National School Mental Health Collaborative and Curriculum