What to do if you’re concerned
Remember, it’s not the role of educators to diagnose mental health issues. But they can observe, document and work collaboratively as part of a team to provide caring support at school. As the school or system leader, ensure staff have a clear understanding of the process to use when they are concerned.
When to take action
- The student’s attention seems to be affecting their day-to-day functioning.
- The signs of difficulty seem severe or prolonged.
- The student or their family has expressed concern.
What to do
- Remind school staff of your school board or school’s protocol for accessing mental health support. This may include
- discussions with you, the vice-principal or member of your school’s mental health leadership team
- discussing your observations with the student and/or their parent/guardian
- a referral for professional mental health support from school board personnel (e.g., school social worker or school psychologist)
- a referral for professional mental health support within the community
Educators are a critical part of the support process because they help with early identification. They will remain part of the student’s circle of support as they move to, through, and from professional mental health services, but they will need your support. Depending on the student’s needs, some or all of the practices listed above may be helpful. Working closely with staff, the student, their family, and mental health professionals within the circle of support is the best way to ensure that classroom support meets the student’s mental health needs.