A Collaborative Of
The Carter Center
Georgia Appleseed
Resilient Georgia
Voices for Georgia's Children

School-Based Behavioral Health Toolkit

Resources For Georgia

School-Based Behavioral Health (SBBH) programs enhance students’ academic achievement, build social skills and self-awareness, and strengthen their connections to schools and communities.

About The Collaborative

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.

The Carter Center
Georgia Appleseed
Resilient Georgia
Voices for Georgia's Children

Toolkit Resources

School-Based Behavioral and Mental Health Tools for Georgia Schools, Students, and Families

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.

The Need

Behavioral Health Disorders on the Rise

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.

of the 386,700 Georgia middle and high school students who completed 2022’s Georgia Student Health Survey, reported anxiety or fear got in the way of their daily activities in the last 30 days.
Georgia middle and high school students reported seriously considering harming themselves in the past 12 months.
of Georgia kids who need behavioral or mental health services have trouble finding them, according to the National Survey of Children’s Health. That means that almost half of the 515,491 kids (3-17 years old) in Georgia looking for help may go without critical care.

Benefits of SBBH

How School-Based Services Help Students and the Community

Research indicates that comprehensive school-based behavioral health programs are an effective solution. SBBH programs:

  • Enhance students’ academic achievement
  • Build social skills and self-awareness
  • Strengthen connections to schools and communities.
  • Reduce schoolwide truancy and discipline rates
  • Increase high school graduation rates
  • Help create a positive school climate, including teacher morale and attrition.

Reaching More Kids

Schools Are Uniquely Placed to Address Student Behavioral Health

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.

Undiagnosed and Untreated Behavioral Health Issues Can Significantly Interfere With a Student’s Ability to Learn, Grow, and Develop Into Adulthood.

Targeted Supports

SBBH Integrates with Existing Models of Support

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.