School-Based Mental Health Services: Trends and Telepractice

This article is part of a series highlighting the presentations given at the 2021 eLumaNation Summit, held virtually September 30 – October 1, 2021

Carla Donahue, Ed.D. and Mindy Hintze, MSC, joined us at eLumaNation to discuss the best practices in the implementation and provision of school-wide mental health services, and the possible opportunities available for remote professionals to support school-wide mental health efforts. Each presenter shared current research trends regarding the need for school=based mental health services and the efficacy of telepractice for meeting students’ mental health needs.

Mindy Hintze is the former Vice President of Services at eLuma. She is an accomplished educator, mental health provider, and EdTech leader. Carla Donahue is a school psychologist with 15 years experience, doctorate of educational leadership and eLuma’s clinical services team.

We need to reduce the amount of kids and adolescents who don’t finish school because of health issues.” – Mindy Hintze

“It’s not an easy or fast-process, it requires looking at the whole school environment.” – Carla Donahue

“Fifty percent of lifetime mental health issues begin before the age of 14” (Hintze). The average delay between onset and treatment is 8-10 years. High school students with mental health issues, have more than twice the amount of absences than their peers.  Student absences contribute to financial issues in schools. A student with perfect attendance, contributes about $5,000 to a school district. Some school districts lost over 1 million dollars last year due to chronic absenteeism. Schools with mental health services see fewer discipline problems, fewer course failures, and fewer absences with their students. 

Mindy and Carla discussed some ways we can help with these statistics. Making sure students have the resources at school to help with mental-health is a priority. Possible roadblocks that were addressed were finding the time, being able to afford mental health services, and how to provide the services. The issue of time was addressed by the suggestion to integrate a solid MTSS framework, that integrates social-emotional learning into all aspects of the school framework. Federal and State governments have helped address some of the problems with schools being able to afford mental health service by allocating funding to schools that can be used such as ESSER, which was a direct result of COVID-19, as well as many other grant options. The final question of how to provide these services is looking at teletherapy as an option. There is a significant shortage in mental-health professionals in schools, and that shortage is expected to grow. Turning to teletherapy, can help address these shortages, and help students get the mental-health resources that they need. 

You can follow Mindy and Carla on LinkedIn.

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Benita Bocar

Benita Bocar