About School Mental Health (SMH)
What is Mental Health and How Does it Impact Students?
Mental health encompasses an individual's emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing and directly affects how an individual feels, behaves, engage, make choices, copes, etc. (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) Students who are experiencing challenges with mental health may also exhibit challenges in other areas (e.g., demonstration of challenging behavior, decreased academic performance, etc.) Because mental health conditions or needs can arise in an individual at any age, educators must be aware of and have an understanding different conditions, warning signs, related implications to learning and behavior, what supports and services are available, and of ways they can individually support their students.
How Can Schools Support Student Mental Health?
School mental health supports and services can take many forms, but all have the end result of promoting health, academics, social and emotional development, as well as creating safe, supportive learning environments. There are many ways that educators can support students social and emotional wellbeing, including (but not limited to) provision of universal, classroom based strategies or social emotional learning (SEL) curriculums to promote positive learning environments, targeted interventions for some students or student groups, or more comprehensive, intensive interventions for those students identified as having the highest need.
PENT recognizes that to effectively support and promote positive behavior, educators must consider the whole child by recognizing the connection between academics, behavior, and mental health. As such, PENT has been actively working to provide functional, usable resources which raise educator awareness about mental health, support student social and emotional wellbeing, and help bridge the gap between school mental health and function-based behavior supports. The resources provided by PENT are intended to support and supplement SEL curriculums, treatment planning, and/or provision of supports at any level within a multi-tiered systems framework.