Subject: NCSMH Newsletter - June 2020


NCSMH Newsletter
June 2020
The National Center for School Mental Health at the University of Maryland School of Medicine is funded in part by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Maternal and Child Health Bureau to advance school mental health programs and policies to promote success for America’s youth.
The NSCMH team grieves the racist murders of Black people in the US. George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, and Ahmaud Arbery are only a handful of recent, high-profile examples. Racism and white supremacy are embedded in US history, upheld by inequitable policies and actions, and impact the health and well-being of people of color. Within this larger context, schools have long struggled to address the racial disparities in discipline and the opportunity gap. Through addressing structural and systemic inequities long present in the education system, schools have opportunities to develop and model equitable and anti-racist policies and practices. We all have the ability to learn, heal, and grow together.

We are compiling resources to support schools in anti-racism and equity efforts on our website. This page will be updated regularly.
-The NCSMH team
The June 2020 newsletter includes:
  • Information on the 2020 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health and the School Health Interdisciplinary Conference
  • Resources on discussing race & racial injustice, trauma-informed school trainings, and planning for the 2020-2021 academic year
  • Pride Resources-supporting LGBTQ youth
  • Reports offering guidance on a range of school mental health issues
  • Recent journal articles, relevant policy announcements, funding opportunities, and more!
The 2020 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health and the School Health Interdisciplinary Program will both be virtual this year! Stay tuned-we will share the details with you as soon as possible.
The following collection of resources support cultural responsiveness & equity, LGBTQ youth, and school mental health planning for the 2020-2021 school year. Additional resources can be found on our website.
Cultural Responsiveness & Equity

Let’s Talk About Race: Discussing Race, Racism, and Other Difficult Topics with Student
Teaching Tolerance developed this guide to provide teachers with concrete strategies to facilitate difficult conversations about race and racism with students. Educators play a crucial role in helping students talk openly about the historical roots and contemporary manifestations of social inequality and discrimination. Learning how to communicate about such topics as white privilege, police violence, economic inequality and mass incarceration requires practice, and facilitating difficult conversations demands courage and skill—regardless of who we are, our intentions or how long we’ve been teaching. Teaching Tolerance also provides resources related to Affirming Black Lives Without Inducing Trauma and Discussing Whiteness in the classroom

Social Justice: Understanding Race and Privilege
This document is part of a series of resources developed by the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) in response to recent acts of racial violence and the increasingly uncivil discourse occurring across our country. It is important for school psychologists and other educators to understand the historical and contemporary conditions that have resulted in many of these violent acts, as well as others’ reactions (including violence) to these events. NASP seeks to help schools and families engage in constructive dialogue about privilege, prejudice, power, and the ways that all of us can work together to shift the conversation from hate and violence toward understanding and respect to ultimately bring about positive change and unity to our communities. NASP also has additional resources to assist educators, including lesson plans for talking about race and privilege with students and understanding implicit bias.
Supporting LGBTQ Students

June is Pride month-happy pride to our LGBTQ+ school staff, mental health providers, students, and families! Show your pride with The Gender Unicorn, a educational handout from the Trans Student Educational Resources (TSER) that colorfully demonstrates the differences between gender identity, gender expression, sex assigned at birth, physical attraction, and emotional attraction. To increase your own knowledge and effectiveness as an ally, consider The Safe Zone Project, a free online resource (2-hr curriculum) for “powerful, effective LGBTQ awareness and ally training workshops.”

The Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) has recently released a series of research reports titled Erasure and Resilience: The Experiences of LGBTQ Students of Color. View the reports below. The GLSEN website is full of resources to support LGBTQ students. For example, navigate the GLSEN Public Policy Office, with a state-level policy map and model district-level policies.
Preparing for the 2020-2021 School Year

School Mental Health Planning for the 2020-21 School Year During COVID-19
The National Center for School Mental Health and the School-Based Health Alliance hosted a webinar to help school, district, and state education and behavioral health leaders plan for the mental health needs of the entire school community (including students, school staff, and families) and implement multi-tiered mental health promotion, prevention and intervention supports and services in the 2020-21 school year. Presenting organizations include the National Center for School Mental Health, Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, National Association of School Nurses, and the UCSF Health Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools (HEARTS).


Trauma-Informed Schools Strategies During COVID-19 
The National Child Traumatic Stress Network recently published a resource focused on trauma-informed school strategies in response to COVID-19. This fact sheet offers information on the physical and emotional well-being of staff, creating a trauma-informed learning environment, identifying and assessing traumatic stress, addressing and treating traumatic stress, trauma education and awareness, partnerships with students and families, cultural responsiveness, emergency management and crisis response, and school discipline policies and practices.

Tele Health Toolbox for School Personnel
Developed by the Mid-America Mental Health Technology and Transfer Network (MHTTC), th
e Telehealth Toolbox for School Personnel is a practical and concise guide to incorporating telehealth into your routine as a provider working with students. Emphasis is placed on four key components: 
  • How to Navigate Privacy and Technology
  • How to Engage Your Team
  • How to Connect with Families
  • How to Decide Essential Services

School Reentry Considerations Supporting Student Social and Emotional Learning and Mental and Behavioral Health Amidst COVID-19
This guide is co-developed by the American School Counselors Association and the National Association of School Psychologists. Local education agencies and individual schools planning for students and staff to return following COVID-19 closures must prioritize efforts to address social and emotional learning and mental and behavioral health needs. Equally important is ensuring staff feel their physical and mental health needs are supported. Districts should ensure all policies or recommendations are culturally sensitive and ensure equity and access for all youth. This document outlines key considerations for district and building leaders, educators and school-employed mental health professionals (e.g. school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers) to guide efforts that support students’ social and emotional well-being.


COVID-19 and the State of K–12 Schools: Results and Technical Documentation from the Spring 2020 American Educator Panels COVID-19 Surveys
This technical report provides information about the sample, survey instrument, and resultant data for the coronavirus (COVID-19) surveys that were administered to principals and teachers via RAND's American Educator Panels (AEP) in spring 2020. The AEP COVID-19 surveys focused on how teachers and school leaders navigated the challenging circumstances brought about by COVID-19, including managing school closures and implementing distance learning. Specific survey topics included schools' operational status, supports for teachers, communication with and supports for families, and plans for next school year. The results presented in the report include frequency tables for survey items and are shown for the full national samples and for subsamples of schools serving large populations of students of color and students from lower-income households (or target schools) compared with other schools (nontarget schools). This breakdown of target and nontarget schools provides evidence regarding disparities in the supports and resources for teaching and learning across the United States. Forthcoming reports will provide more-detailed analysis and discuss the implications of these findings. Follow-up surveys will be administered later in 2020 and in 2021.


As schools and districts across the nation look to reopen in the coming weeks, they are likely to face even greater strain as they seek to meet the academic and health needs of students, staff, and teachers with already limited resources. This first chapter of this playbook by Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools, Planning for the Next Normal at School: Keeping students, staff, teachers, and families safe and healthy, is now available.

Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package
Created by the National Center on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments, the Trauma-Sensitive Schools Training Package offers school and district administrators and staff a framework and roadmap for adopting a trauma-sensitive approach school- or districtwide. The Training Package includes a variety of online resources for educating school staff about trauma and trauma-sensitive practices and for providing school leaders with a step-by-step process for implementing a universal, trauma-informed approach using package materials. School and district leaders are encouraged to begin by reviewing the freely available Implementation Guide for an overview of the package components and their intended use.
School Mental Health Quality Improvement Spotlight

Seneca Family of Agencies
Unconditional Education: Supporting Schools to Serve All Students

100 free copies available for friends of the NCSMH!

Seneca Family of Agencies, a nonprofit mental health agency that partnered with Education for Change Public Schools in the National Center for School Mental Health's Collaborative Improvement and Innovation Network (CoIIN), published a book that aims to engage education leaders in principles and practices to support and protect students who experience the most complex barriers to success. "Unconditional Education: Supporting Schools to Serve All Students" is based on Seneca's core practices that have been tested and refined over the past 30 years providing special education and mental health services to children and families in schools. Unconditional Education is data-informed, multi-tiered system of support that pairs evidence-based intervention with an intentional focus on overall culture and climate. Read more about the book and click here to receive one free copy in the mail. Books are available for the first 100 respondents. One book per person/organization please!

Do you know a school mental health leader or team that we should feature in our School Mental Health Quality Improvement Spotlight? Send us your suggestions at ncsmh@som.umaryland.edu.
Journal Articles

In response to the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, 107 countries had implemented national school closures by March 18, 2020. It is unknown whether school measures are effective in coronavirus outbreaks (eg, due to severe acute respiratory syndrome [SARS], Middle East respiratory syndrome, or COVID-19). We undertook a systematic review by searching three electronic databases to identify what is known about the effectiveness of school closures and other school social distancing practices during coronavirus outbreaks. We included 16 of 616 identified articles. School closures were deployed rapidly across mainland China and Hong Kong for COVID-19. However, there are no data on the relative contribution of school closures to transmission control. Data from the SARS outbreak in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Singapore suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic. Modelling studies of SARS produced conflicting results. Recent modelling studies of COVID-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2–4% of deaths, much less than other social distancing interventions. Policy makers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence when considering school closures for COVID-19, and that combinations of social distancing measures should be considered. Other less disruptive social distancing interventions in schools require further consideration if restrictive social distancing policies are implemented for long periods.
States and localities are taking unprecedented steps to respond to the public health threat posed by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Among the measures intended to promote social distancing, many schools have been closed and classes shifted to home-based distance-learning models. The first school closures began in mid-March 2020 and some states have already closed schools for the rest of the academic year. Nearly all of the 55 million students in kindergarten through 12th grade in the US are affected by these closures. School closures substantially disrupt the lives of students and their families and may have consequences for child health. As such, we must consider the potential associations school closures have with children’s well-being and what can be done to mitigate them.
Schools provide access to mental health services for traditionally underserved youth. However, there is variability in the types of school-based services students receive (e.g., school counseling, services in separate classrooms, or schools serving students with psychiatric disorders). Prior research has typically not distinguished among these different types of school-based services. The present study examines sociodemographic characteristics and disorders associated with the types of services received in schools. Data were analyzed from a sample of adolescent–parent pairs in the U.S. National Comorbidity Survey Adolescent Supplement who received school mental health services (N = 1,204). DSM-IV diagnoses were based on the Composite International Diagnostic Interview administered to adolescents and questionnaires self-administered to parents. Adolescents (aged 13–18 years) and parents also responded to questions about lifetime school-based mental health service receipt. Among those receiving school-based mental health services, almost one-third (29.7%) received services in a separate classroom and almost one-fourth (22.3%) in a separate school. Increased likelihood of lifetime placement in a separate classroom or school was detected among older youth, males, blacks, Latinos, youth with learning disabilities, those whose parents had fewer years of education, and those who received community-based mental health services. Oppositional defiant disorder was associated with increased lifetime placement in a separate school. The results advance the evidence base by indicating that racial/ethnic minority youth and those whose parents have fewer years of education were more likely to receive school-based mental health services in separate settings. These results provide more context to studies of school-based mental health service receipt.
Policy Announcements

Learn how the state of Michigan addressed a growing need for mental health services in schools by leveraging a 2014 federal policy change that allows school districts to bill Medicaid for more services—many of which schools are already providing. Ultimately, it means more funding for health services in schools. Billing Medicaid for school mental health services can offset the cost of having providers in the schools, thus potentially increasing the number of mental health clinicians available to students.

Expanded Access to Telehealth Services During Coronavirus Pandemic
On March 6, 2020, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was signed into law. This statute gives the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) the authority to waive geographic and originating site telehealth reimbursement restrictions for mental health services overall, during certain emergency periods. For the duration of this emergency declaration, HHS has indicated that it will waive HIPAA penalties for using non-HIPAA compliant videoconferencing software, allowing for popular solutions, such as Skype (basic) and FaceTime to be used to conduct telehealth sessions via video. The Office of Civil Rights has also released further guidance about this.
Given the increased need for telemedicine and telephone encounters with patients, the American Psychiatric Association would like to help you to advocate for these services to be covered by private insurance and Medicaid for when patients are unable to come into the office for their regular appointments. You can use this sample letter to send to the private insurers and Medicaid Directors that provide coverage to your patients and students. Please let APA know if you receive a response. Additionally, the APA has compiled telehealth guidance by state.

Funding Opportunity

Education Stabilization Fund Discretionary Grants
This grant provide support to State educational agencies (SEAs) in States with the highest coronavirus burden to address specific educational needs of students, their parents, and teachers in public and non-public elementary and secondary schools in accordance with section 18001(a)(3) of the CARES Act. State educational agencies will propose projects that: (1) provide funding through microgrants so parents can meet the educational needs of their school-age children through increased access to high-quality remote learning; (2) develop and/or expand high-quality course-access programs or statewide virtual school; or (3) demonstrates a rationale to address the specific educational needs of their States, as related to remote learning. Thus, the Department seeks peer reviewers with a range of experience, education, and background including, but not limited to: remote learning; State education administration and curriculum for remote learning; and parent involvement to support remote learning. For more information, see this notice for applications.
Deadlines: TBD
Anticipated Award Amount: $5,000,000 - $20,000,000
Eligibility: The extent to which the applicant has a high coronavirus burden based on indicators and information factors identified by the applicant in response to the Application Requirement
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