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The mission of the Center for School Mental Health (CSMH) is to strengthen policies and programs in school mental health to improve learning and promote success for America's youth.

The CSMH has two over-arching goals:

  • Goal 1. Enhance understanding of school mental health policies and programs that are innovative, effective, and culturally and linguistically competent, across the development spectrum (from preschool through post-secondary), across three-tiers of mental health programming (promotion, problem prevention, intervention), and across levels of scale (international, national, state, local).
  • Goal 2. Enhance implementation of innovative and effective school mental health policies and programs through the dissemination and diffusion of analyses and instructive findings via a comprehensive, multi-faceted, engaging, and creative communications framework that reaches the full array of invested stakeholders in school mental health.

We use the term "expanded school mental health" (ESMH) to describe what we believe are the core elements of effective school mental health programs. ESMH programs are developed through partnerships between schools and community agencies to move toward a full continuum of effective mental health promotion, early intervention, and treatment for youth in general and special education. The school-community partnership underlying the ESMH approach strengthens cross-agency collaboration and the sharing of knowledge and resources, and promotes the development of a system of care. Recent findings support that these partnerships promote positive school reform and improved academic and behavioral functioning of students.

Through participation in and development of a broad and growing National Community of Practice on School Behavioral Health, the CSMH analyzes diverse sources of information, develops and disseminates policy briefs, and promotes the utilization of knowledge and actions to advance successful and innovative mental health policies and programs in schools.  The CSMH works with a wide range of stakeholders invested in integrated approaches to reduce barriers to student learning, including families, youth, educators, mental health and other child system staff, advocates, legislators, researchers and government officials.  The CSMH will continue to host national and regional conferences to advance research, policy, and practice related to mental health in schools.

CSMH Brochure