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Policy

The NCSMH monitors federal and state policy and works with federal and state leaders to shape policies that will advance high quality school mental health for America’s youth.

School Mental Health and School Safety

School mental health is critical to school safety.  There is an abundance of evidence that schools with positive school climate and integrated social emotional learning are more likely than comparison schools to achieve higher standards of school safety, including less bullying (verbal, physical, cyber), less student isolation, more positive peer and teacher-student relationships, and less weapon threat and use on school campuses. Although the vast majority of students with mental illness are not violent (and are more likely than their peers to be victims of violence), establishing systems for early identification and mental health treatment for students with mental health challenges can protect students who may be vulnerable to disconnection, isolation, loss of social status, self-harm, retaliation, and aggressive behavior, all of which are predictive of future violence.

The NCSMH works with national and state leaders to advance comprehensive school mental health systems to promote school safety. Example collaborations include:

  • Endorsement of the 2018 Call for Action to Prevent Gun Violence in the United States of America, authored by the Interdisciplinary Group on Preventing School and Community Violence. https://curry.virginia.edu/prevent-gun-violence
  • Maryland Safe to Learn Act: NCSMH Co-Director, Dr. Sharon Hoover, serves on the Advisory Board for this work in Maryland.
  • Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act: The NCSMH has provided consultation to the Florida Department of Education around using the National School Mental Health Census and Performance Measures via the SHAPE System to advance comprehensive school mental health systems as part of this legislation.
  • The NCSMH leads two school safety research studies that are part of the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative funded by the National Institute of Justice:
    • Promoting School Safety: A Comprehensive Emotional and Behavioral Health Model
    • Evaluating Promising School Staff and Resource Officer Approaches for Reducing Harsh Discipline, Suspensions and Arrests

SAMHSA/HRSA Getting to Wide-Scale Adoption of Comprehensive School Mental Health

The National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) participates in a workgroup facilitated by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support their School Mental Health “Tipping Point” efforts. Launched in September 2017, the “Tipping Point” effort has served to engage national school mental health experts and stakeholders to identify priorities and actionable strategies to advance school mental health at national/federal, state, and local levels.

  • As part of these efforts, the NCSMH participated in The School Mental Health in Rural Communities: Getting to Wide Scale Adoption of Comprehensive School Mental Health, on May 17, 2018 in Rockville, MD. Dr. Sharon Hoover presented, “Accelerating the Wide Scale Adoption of Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems- Building on the Momentum Underway,” and Dr. Lever moderated the panel, “Addressing the Challenges and Opportunities within Rural Schools and Communities,” with presentations from West Virginia, Kansas, New York and Wisconsin.
  • The NCSMH also participated in The School Mental Health State Summit: Getting to Wide Scale Adoption of Comprehensive School Mental Health in States Across the Nation on June 15, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Hoover presented, “Accelerating the Wide Scale Adoption of Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems at the State Level,” and Dr. Lever moderated the panel, “Lessons Learned from the Select States about Advancing School Mental Health,” with presentations from North Carolina, Wisconsin, and Pennslyvania.

Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and School Mental Health: Implications for Schools, Districts and States

The National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) hosted an intensive pre-conference session at our 21stAnnual conference on Advancing School Mental Health in San Diego, CA reviewing ESSA and its implications for school mental health. The following links lead to documents from the pre-conference session:


School Mental Health Funding and Sustainability

The National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) is involved in number of initiatives focused on increasing the sustainability of comprehensive school mental health systems. These include:

National Community of Practice on School Behavioral Health


National Coalition for the State Advancement of School Mental Health

The National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH) is facilitating the National Coalition for the State Advancement of School Mental Health with 14 states across the nation. The NCSMH is providing targeted technical assistance for states to use The SHAPE System to work with schools and districts within their state to improve comprehensive school mental health quality and sustainability. 


School Mental Health Improvement and Innovation Task Force

The National  Center for School Mental Health is facilitating the National School Mental Health Improvement and Innovation Task Force with innovative school districts across the nation. These districts have participated in the Comprehensive School Mental Health Collaborative for Improvement and Innovation Network and are advancing innovative quality improvement and sustainability processes within their own district and spreading this ground-breaking work to other comprehensive school mental health systems within their region and nationally.