Supporting students with mental health concerns
Schools are part of a community-wide system of care for mental health and serve as a critical link between students with mental health concerns and the services they need. School staff are an important part of a student’s circle of support.
You’re part of the circle of support
System and school leaders have a role to play in ensuring staff are clear about how to support a cohesive process to, through and from more intensive supports. Ensure your staff is clear on the processes that are involved with the circle of support and pathways that can be activated to access more intensive supports. Contact your mental health leader for more information about the circle of support process.
How to support a student who is receiving care
- Understand and acknowledge the student’s needs while at school.
- Plan with the student and parent/guardian for issues related to the student’s needs with consideration of privacy and confidentiality.
- Identify a school designate who is approachable, sensitive and supportive with whom the student can consult. While it is common that this person is personnel in guidance, student success or special education, it is also important to consider other teachers who may have already developed a relationship through common interests with the student, e.g. gym teacher, team coach, music club teacher.
- Plan for board or agency support to assist the school designate, should the need arise.
- Provide an individualized support plan for the student that addresses triggers, signs of escalation, supportive strategies and accommodations.
- Identify a communication plan that involves the student, parents/guardians and appropriate staff.
- Regularly monitor and review the effectiveness of the strategies and communication.
- Work with classroom teachers to help them understand how to connect and support the student.
Resources to help with supporting students
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