State Policy Opportunities: Advancing Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems to Support Students

October 2022

Published by Healthy Schools Campaign and Mental Health America


State Policy Opportunities: Advancing Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems to Support Students aims to help state leaders understand their role, as well as the urgency, in addressing student mental health needs.

The specific recommendations, and the numerous state examples and resources provided, identify policy opportunities for states to advance comprehensive school mental health (CSMH) systems — a multi-tiered approach that integrates mental health services and supports within school settings and uses school-community collaborations to provide a continuum of mental health services.

A broad range of experts on education, health, substance use, parent and family partnership, racial equity, and other related areas helped to inform policy opportunities along three system-building stages: establishing infrastructure and priorities, building structure and scale, and promoting effective implementation. They focus specifically on how the governor and state legislators — as well as select state agency directors such as the chief state school officer, state secretary of health and human services, and state Medicaid director — can set a promising policy foundation and, through collaboration, drive sustained and effective school strategies.

Additional CSMH Resources:
Resources: Foundations of School Mental Health, maintained by the National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, highlights a number of reports and links.

Advancing Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems: Guidance from the Field is a foundational document that summarizes the insights of three expert panels around the core features of CSMH systems. Also view the complementary set of Dialogue Guides.

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