What is a School-Based Mental Health Professional?
While serving on a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, a mental health professional may consult with school personnel, complete comprehensive mental health evaluations, provide individual and group interventions and counseling, and more.
As a part of the special education team, mental health professionals collaborate with teachers, parents, and administrators to develop effective, individualized interventions that promote a safe learning environment for every student. They may support students in a variety of ways, including:
- Diagnosing mental health conditions using assessment tools
- Evaluating and assessing the mental health functioning of students
- Completing documentation to ensure high-quality services and assuring compliance
- Facilitating crisis intervention protocols when appropriate for individuals and schools
- Participating in professional development activities on current trends and best practices for providing comprehensive mental health services
School-based social workers create the necessary conditions for students to access their education by accurately identifying and distributing the right resources. They often act as mediators, advocates, care coordinators, case managers, and mental health counselors to help students learn to:
- Master important social skills
- Develop key problem-solving skills
- Regulate their emotions and practice self-care
In some cases, school-based social workers build and maintain social or developmental histories for specific students to provide more personalized care. Social workers provide counseling services, too, including individual, small group, and family sessions. These services can help students and families address mental health challenges, adverse circumstances, and other educational barriers.
School Counselors support the mental health needs of students in both special and regular education so that they can successfully access their education and reach their full potential. School Counselors may help school administrators develop and implement programs and services, serve on students’ IEP teams, and schedule and lead trainings. Along with that, they will often:
- Provide individual counseling
- Offer career preparation and education support
- Help students with problem-solving and conflict-resolution needs
Overall, School Counselors act as advocates for all the students in the schools and districts they serve throughout their educational journeys.
Licensed Clinical Mental Health Professionals (LCMHPs)
LCMHPs provide students with instruction, appraisal, advisement, and short-term counseling, along with offering referral services to students, parents, and school staff. They address barriers that limit a student from accessing their complete educational experience. Along with that, they will regularly:
- Interview students and parents to discuss issues, such as non-attendance, and develop a plan of action
- Gather data and analyze information from record reviews/interviews to determine and report resource needs
- Assist the school in developing, maintaining, and/or enforcing policies related to excessive absences and truancy
LCMHPs also assist with social emotional learning (SEL) curriculum for the classroom, provide individual and/or group counseling in response to school-wide crises, and maintain ongoing connections with community agencies and other resources.
Add Mental Health Professionals to Your School’s Related Services Team
PTS is here to provide your team with the right mental health professionals for the students in your district. Contact our team to learn more about our mental health services today!