Collaborative partners work independently and together to research, develop, compile, and disseminate tools for those wanting to implement evidence-based behavioral health programs in Georgia’s schools.
School-Based Behavioral Health (SBBH) programs enhance students’ academic achievement, build social skills and self-awareness, and strengthen their connections to schools and communities.
Collaborative partners created this toolkit as a hub for those leading the charge for implementation of school-based behavioral programs across Georgia — school administrators, superintendents, behavioral health staff, district boards, teachers and parents.
Resources include best practices and legal and financial information for school programs, case studies on Georgia-based programs, a social media campaign to engage your community, and much more.
In Georgia and across the nation, the percentage of American youth with behavioral health disorders rose significantly in the last fifteen years, including major depression, serious psychological distress, and suicidal thoughts.
Research indicates that comprehensive school-based behavioral health programs are an effective solution. SBBH programs:
SBBH programs meet kids where they are, at school. Students are six times more likely to complete mental health treatment in schools than in a community setting.
The school setting offers a unique opportunity to identify and address behavioral health issues among students, and not only because schools are where students most consistently spend their time. Schools are well-positioned to increase much-needed access to mental health support because school-based initiatives eliminate barriers to care such as transportation, provider availability and proximity, scheduling, stigma, and cost.
Many of Georgia’s public schools already use Multitiered System of Supports (MTSS) to identify student needs and target supports for academics, social skills and behavior. The Georgia Department of Education (GaDOE) promotes MTSS as a best practice for teaching and learning in Georgia schools.
Schools with SBBH programs integrate their mental health supports with other services within the MTSS framework. This integration increases the chance that teachers and clinicians will identify students with untreated mental health needs, avoid misdiagnoses, and recognize other challenges like family instability, hunger, and trouble with vision or hearing.
Mentally and physically healthy students are more likely to learn, actively engage in school activities, have supportive and caring relationships with peers and adults, and solve personal challenges successfully.