August 15, 2013
CCC Releases New Report on Expanding School-Based Mental Health
Today, CCC released A Prescription for Expanding School-Based Mental Health Services in New York City Public Elementary Schools, a new report calling on the City to expand access to on-site mental health services to at all NYC elementary schools.
In New York City, children’s access to mental health treatment is considerably hindered by a lack of availability of these services. Unmet mental health needs can interfere with a child’s academic performance, school readiness, social competence, and life-long health.
Our new report is the result of a multi-year study to examine the need and feasibility of expanding school-based mental health services throughout New York City. This effort included surveys of elementary school principals and mental health clinicians serving elementary schools, a demographic analysis of communities with and without on-site mental health services, a literature review and ongoing conversations with stakeholders.
The report documents feedback from surveyed principals and clinicians who indicated that both individual students with behavioral health needs and the entire school environment benefit from the availability of on-site services. All expressed a desire to expand services or bring services to their schools. However, the principals and clinicians also described barriers to providing these services on school grounds, including financial and regulatory barriers that jeopardize the financial solvency of the programs and the stigma that still persists regarding mental health services.
As a result of these findings, CCC makes a series of recommendations aimed at expanding mental health services in elementary schools and addressing the financial barriers. The report also recommends expanding behavioral intervention programs and other services that improve school climate and increase students’ connections to community-based supports.