Schools are increasingly facing the significant mental health needs of our nation’s youth, as schools are often the primary mental health service providers for many students (Rones & Hoagwood, 2000). Research from 2004 estimated one in five children under the age of 18 in the United States has mental health concerns (World Health Organization, 2004). Teachers are interacting with a growing number of students with mental health concerns, for which they may feel inadequately trained, particularly as these students often demonstrate poor academic achievement and high levels of problematic behavior (Oliver & Reschley, 2010; Reinke, Stormont, Herman, Puri, & Goel, 2011). Research has shown such problems can lead to school failure, rejection from peers, and school dropout (O’Shaughnessy, Lane, Gresham, & Beebe-Frankenberger, 2002; Shaw, 2010).
Given upcoming holidays, school breaks, and inconsistent schedules and structure, schools and families may experience an increase in behavioral referrals, especially in students with mental health diagnoses. While prevention is ideal in these instances, it is helpful to be able to provide educators (and families) with free, evidence-based resources and interventions. As psychologists, we can be helpful in disseminating evidence-based interventions and research-based strategies to families and educators to shrink the research-to-practice gap that still remains (Kratochwill, 2007; Kratochwill & Shernoff, 2004).
One such resource, www.interventioncentral.org, provides a menu of options that is geared toward educators to meet student-specific needs, is user-friendly, and easy to implement. Interventions and resources included within this website provide guidance on various challenges often faced in the classroom including unmotivated students, exceptional learners and students with special needs, whole classroom management, bullying prevention, and academic interventions targeted toward specified areas of weakness, among several other topics. Not only can this website be helpful directly in schools, but also can be included in psychological reports as recommendations for anyone working with children.
For example, http://interventioncentral.org/behavior_calm_agitated_student provides 11 easy-to-follow suggestions for de-escalating a child that could simply be included within a report and potentially modified to be used as strategies within the home with parents and families. While this website and others that are similar, such as the Evidence-Based Intervention Network, may not provide all the answers, they certainly are good resources to have in our toolbox given the free accessibility to best practices in an easily consumable format.
Kratochwill, T. R. (2007). Preparing psychologists for evidence-based school practices: Lessons learned and challenges ahead. American Psychologist, 62, 829 – 844. doi:10.1037/0003-066X.62.8.829
Kratochwill, T. R., & Shernoff, E. S. (2004). Evidence-based practice: Promoting Evidence-based interventions in school psychology. School Psychology Review, 33(1), 34-48.
O’Shaughnessy, T. E., Lane, K. L., Gresham, F. M., & Beebe-Frankenberger, M. E. (2002). Students with or at risk for learning and emotional–behavioral difficulties. In K. L. Lane, F. M.
Gresham, & T. E. O’Shaughnessy (Eds.), Interventions for children with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (pp. 3−17). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Oliver, R. M., & Reschly, D. J. (2010). Special education teacher preparation in classroom management: Implications for students with emotional and behavioral disorders. Behavioral Disorders, 35(3), 188-199.
Reinke, W. M., Stormont, M., Herman, K. C., Puri, R., & Goel, N. (2011). Supporting children’s mental health in schools: Teacher perceptions of needs, roles, and barriers. School Psychology Quarterly, 26(1), 1-13. doi: 10.1037/a0022714
Rones, M., & Hoagwood, K. (2000). School-based mental health services: A research review. Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review, 3, 223–241. doi:10.1023/A:1026425104386
Chelsey Brophy, Ph.D., HSPP CRG/Children’s Resource Group