Subject: National Center for School Mental Health newsletter - December 2018

NCSMH Newsletter
December 2018
Our National Center for School Mental Health team wishes students, families, school teams, and community partners a wonderful 2018-2019 holiday season! This edition of our newsletter highlights resources and research to support school health and safety, in additional to trauma-informed practices and other resources!
Thank you for attending the 2018 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health!
The 2018 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health was a huge success! We are so thankful to all of our staff, volunteers, speakers, presenters, and attendees. We hope to see each of you next year, November 7-9 for the 2019 Annual Conference on Advancing School Mental Health in Austin, TX!
School Mental Health Youth Leadership Summit
The National Center for School Mental Health, in collaboration with the Nevada Department of Education, Nevada’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health, and Youth M.O.V.E National led a successful youth leadership summit for junior and senior high school students from around the country. School mental health youth leaders had the opportunity to participate in youth advocacy training, attend selected conference sessions, and network with one another and conference participants. The youth and adult leaders are working together to plan next steps to continue this valuable opportunity at local and state levels.
Join us for an intensive school mental health learning and networking experience in a truly awe-inspiring setting!
51st Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science
School Mental Health: Equipping Schools and Communities to Support Student Mental Health
The 51st annual Banff International Conference on Behavioural Science will highlight both the challenges and opportunities of school mental health, with an emphasis on identifying practical implications for mental health professionals, educators and administrators, and researchers. Leading experts will provide up-to-date research findings in plenary addresses. In addition, workshops will emphasize skill development and specific strategies from a range of evidence-based programs and practices. The conference is geared towards professionals who are planning, implementing, and evaluating mental health services for students in elementary and secondary schools, as well as community partners who support this work.

School Mental Health Quality Improvement Spotlight: Washington State

The Washington State Legislature passed E2SHB 2439 in 2016 with the intent of improving access to adequate, appropriate, and culturally responsive behavioral health services for students across Washington State. This legislation included: the creation of the Washington State Children’s Mental Health Legislative Workgroup; and a directive to the WA State Joint Legislative Audit and Review Committee (JLARC) to conduct a statewide mental health inventory of the services being provided to students through schools, districts, and educational service districts (ESDs). The WA State Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) has obtained funding via E2SBH 1713 to establish ESD Regional Behavioral Health Systems of Care Coordination Projects. Lead positions identified in these Regional Systems of Care are responsible for coordinating and ensuring the adequacy of tiered level supports to students in schools with behavioral health needs. Washington State is one of 12 states in the National Coalition for the State Advancement of School Mental Health. As part of the National Coalition, the WA State OSPI, in partnership with four regional Educational Service Districts (NorthEast ESD 101, Capitol Region ESD 113, Olympic ESD 114, and Puget Sound ESD 121), has provided technical assistance to districts across the state to use the National School Mental Health Performance Measures and the strategic planning guides and resources on the SHAPE System to drive quality improvement in school mental health supports and services.

Washington is pursuing state legislation for expanding regional supports statewide. The regional pilot projects are making the case that during a time of statewide healthcare transformation, there is a need for education representatives to be involved and representing the K-12 voice to ensure school-based behavioral health services are part of the conversation.

For more information about school mental health in Washington State, visit:

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


The SHAPE System is a free, interactive, online system designed to help schools, districts and states assess their school mental health systems to identify gaps and engage in strategic planning for quality improvement and sustainability.

Schools and school districts can use SHAPE to:
• Document their service array and multi-tiered services and supports;

• Advance a data-driven mental health team process including access to free customized reports and strategic team planning resources (access a sample school quality assessment report here);

• Access targeted resources to help advance school mental health quality and sustainability;

• Achieve SHAPE Recognition to increase opportunities for federal, state and local grant funding.

Other SHAPE features include:
The Screening and Assessment Library allows users to search instruments appropriate for use in school mental health by student age, language, cost, and other key features. 

The Trauma Responsive Schools Implementation Assessment (TRS-IA) is an evidence-informed self-assessment that can be completed by schools or districts in under 20 minutes to identify areas of strength and need in their trauma responsive programming and policies.

SHAPE and School Safety
Many states, school districts and schools are using The SHAPE System to assess their comprehensive school mental health system (CSMHS) strengths and gaps and use the customized reports and strategic action planning guides and resources to improve their CSMHS and advance school safety. The School Mental Health Profile on The SHAPE System allows schools and districts to map their current school mental health structure and operations and receive a free customized report. Click here for a sample School Mental Health Profile Report

Supporting Schools and Families Navigating Psychosis in Students
NCSMH Co-Director, Dr. Sharon Hoover, and colleagues Drs. Jason Schiffman and Jeff Bostic, and Caroline Roemer and Samantha Redman authored two new resources to support schools and families as they navigate psychosis in students.

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS): Second Edition just released!
Based on two decades of use in the field, the second edition of CBITS was just released by RAND, Incorporated, and is available at no cost to schools and clinicians. The CBITS program is designed for use with groups of students who have experienced significant traumatic experiences and are suffering from related emotional or behavioral problems, particularly symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. Delivered by school-based clinicians and taking into account cultural context, it uses a variety of proven cognitive-behavioral techniques in an early intervention approach, including psychoeducation about trauma and its consequences, relaxation training, learning to monitor stress or anxiety levels, recognizing maladaptive thinking, challenging unhelpful thoughts, social problem-solving, creating a trauma narrative and processing the traumatic event, and facing trauma-related anxieties rather than avoiding them. CBITS focuses on three goals: decreasing current symptoms related to trauma exposure, building skills for handling stress and anxiety, and building peer and caregiver support.

What is new in the Second Edition?
Based on more than 20 years of experience in implementing CBITS nationally and internationally, we have added information to better support implementation.
• an updated Introduction and Background section with implementation guidance
• refreshed and updated examples for explaining concepts to students
• reorganization and streamlining sections of the manual
• implementation tips are now offered throughout the manual 

The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments created an online training toolkit, Creating a Safe and Respectful Environment in Our Nation's Classrooms: Second Edition, to support educators and school staff in improving school climate and reducing bullying behaviors. Four modules are available: two training of trainer modules for group training delivery and two self-study training modules for individual, self-paced training.

Comprehensive School Safety
The Safe Schools/Healthy Schools (SS/HS) Framework Implementation Toolkit (FIT) is a free comprehensive guide for schools to aid in planning, implementing, sustaining, and expanding school safety strategies. Additionally, the toolkit is applicable to youth-serving organizations in law enforcement, juvenile justice, and social service.

Help Teens Make Healthy Choices
The National Institute on Drug Abuse created a toolkit for counselors, educators, nurses, and parent- and youth-serving organizations to Educate, Empower, and Identify teens about drugs and their effects.

Helping Educators Support Students affected by Trauma
Trauma Informed Positive Behaviour Support created the Child Trauma Toolkit at no cost for educators to support youth and their families who have experienced trauma. The toolkit includes strategies that educators can implement to address symptoms of distress related to trauma and increase coping and social skills among youth. Similarly, the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley, provided five strategies for educators to incorporate positive psychology practices into their everyday teaching and classroom expectations to support students affected by trauma.

Supporting Adults Who Care for Young Children affected by Trauma
Zero to Three, in collaboration with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and the Alliance for the Advancement of Infant Mental Health, developed a resource for adults caring for infants and young children who have experienced separation or trauma. The resource includes a list of professional in each state who have volunteered to be contacted for more information and resources.

Introduction to Behavioral Health in Schools: Supports for Students
The Clough Foundation Training and Access Project (TAP), part of the Boston Children’s Hospital Neighborhood Partnerships Program (BCHNP) with Boston Public Schools, has developed a free online training for educators and schools, “Introduction to Behavioral Health in Schools: Supports for Students.” Through an ecological lens, the training provides foundational knowledge on behavior, positive behavioral supports and strategies for bolstering students’ prosocial skills, and an overview of how to access behavioral health resources within schools and communities.

Addressing the Barriers to Mental Health Care for Adoptive Parents and Families
Somewhere to Turn: Meeting the Mental Health Needs of Adoptive and Guardianship Families is a collection of four guides prepared by Families NOW with funding from several foundations in California to support the implementation of recommendations made by AB1970 to improve families’ access to mental health professionals specializing in adoption/permanency. Specific guides were created for the following providers: 1) community mental health, managed care, and fee-for-service, 2) county behavioral health agencies, 3) private nonprofit child welfare agencies, and 4) public child welfare agencies.

Supporting Mental Health and Cultivating Strong Relationships are Essential Elements of Healthy Schools
A report from Child Trends finds that educators, students, and state-level policymakers across the United States view supporting mental health and cultivating interpersonal relationships as critical but overlooked elements necessary to building healthy schools. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model presents an interconnected framework of 10 components of a healthy school environment. While many of these components are addressed through state laws and regulations they are not integrated to best support the whole child. This report aimed to identify policy opportunities to promote the overall WSCC framework through interviews and focus groups with state policymakers, educators, and students. Key findings include: emotional and mental health and school climate and culture emerged as a key priority issue across all three stakeholder groups; educators and policymakers reported that schools struggle to address student trauma; stakeholder groups identified contextual stressors both at school and at home as impacting students; and all stakeholder groups emphasized the need for increased availability of trained and qualified school personnel to provide support for students’ emotional and mental health needs. 

2019 State of Mental Health in America Report
Mental Health America is committed to promoting mental health as a critical part of overall wellness by advocating for prevention services for all, early identification and intervention for those at risk, integrated services, care and treatment for those who need it, and recovery as the goal. The State of Mental Health in America report uses national survey data to measure a community’s mental health needs, access to care, and outcomes regardless of state and policy differences. Mental health data used in this report meet the following guidelines: publicly available, available for all 50 states and the District of Columbia, available for adults and youth, utilizes information from private and public mental health systems, and are collected over time. Some of the measures included in this report are measures for youth substance use in the past year, youth depression in the past year, youth mental health service utilization, youth receiving services for an individualized education program, and mental health workforce availability. Key findings include data that indicate an increasing rate of mental health conditions in youth with many Americans experiencing an unmet need with regards to mental health care, and a continuing mental health workforce shortage.

America’s Children in Brief, 2018
The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics (Forum) was chartered in 1997 by the authority of Executive Order No. 13045. The Forum fosters collaboration among 23 Federal agencies that (1) produce and/or use statistical data on children, and (2) seek to improve Federal data on those children. Each year, the Forum publishes a report on the well-being of children. This series of reports, entitled America’s Children, provides accessible compilations of well-being indicators drawn from the most reliable Federal statistics. A goal of the series is to make Federal data on children available in a nontechnical, easy-to-use format to stimulate discussion among data providers, policymakers, and the public. The Forum alternates publishing a detailed report, America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being, with a shorter report, America’s Children in Brief. America’s Children in Brief, 2018 uses both established and previously untapped data sources to characterize vulnerable children across several of the domains including family and social environment, economic circumstances, health care, physical environment and safety, behavior, education, and health. The measures included provide emerging insight on children who face special and heightened risks to their well-being. Each section of the report addresses why the measure of at-risk children is important and presents information on characteristics of the population of at-risk children. In addition to providing descriptive information on trends on the size of the population ages 0 to 17, this year’s report features the following measures: poverty and extreme poverty; health insurance continuity; homelessness; exposure to violence; prescription opioid misuse and use disorders; and residential placement of juveniles.

Understanding Anxiety in Children and Teens: 2018 Children’s Mental Health Report
This report from the Child Mind Institute looks at how widespread child and adolescent anxiety disorders are, how they develop, the risks of untreated anxiety, and effective treatments.In the past 10 years, there has been increasing recognition of anxiety in young people by health care providers, including a 17% increase in anxiety disorder diagnosis. Untreated anxiety disorders increase the risk for depression, school failure, substance use, and difficulty transitioning to adulthood.


Positive mental health and supportive school environments: A population-level longitudinal study of dispositional optimism and school relationships in early adolescence
Authors: Oberle, E., Guhn, M., Gadermann, A., Thomson, K., & Schonert-Reichl, K.
Journal: Social Science & Medicine
Year: 2018
Abstract/Summary: Objectives:The present study examined the degree to which early adolescents' relationship experiences in school (i.e., peer group belonging, peer victimization, and supportive relationships with adults)—at the individual level and at the school-level—were associated with their dispositional optimism, concurrently and over time.
Method: Self-report data from over 4000 4th and 7th graders were obtained via a population-level measure designed to assess students' supportive relationships, well-being, and resilience (i.e., the Middle Years Development Instrument). An indicator for family income (SES) was obtained through tax filer information.
Results: Multilevel modeling revealed that in Grade 4, greater peer belonging, fewer experiences of peer victimization, and higher levels of adult support in school were linked to higher optimism, above and beyond the effects of sex, age, English as a Second Language (ESL), and SES. Additionally, school-wide levels of peer belonging and adult support (i.e., indicators of a supportive social school climate) were significant positive school-level predictors of optimism. Longitudinally, school-wide peer belonging in Grade 4 was associated to increases in students' optimism from 4th to 7th grade.
Conclusions: The findings suggest that positive relationship experiences in school are key contributors to positive mental health, over and above the absence of negative relationship experiences (i.e., victimization). These findings also suggest that being embedded in a school with a positive social relational climate contributes to students' current and future positive mental health, over and above individual relationships with peers and adults. The present research extends previous research by identifying contextual assets that are linked to dispositional optimism and can be applied in the context of school-based intervention programs to promote positive mental health in schools.

Effectiveness of mindfulness interventions for mental health in schools: A comprehensive meta-analysis
Carsley, D., Khoury, B., & Heath, N.
Journal: Mindfulness
Year: 2018
Abstract/Summary: Mindfulness interventions have increasingly been incorporated in elementary and high school classrooms to support students’ mental health and well-being; however, there is little research examining the specific factors contributing to the effectiveness of the interventions. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to examine the specific effects of and moderators contributing to school-based mindfulness interventions for mental health in youth. 
Method: A systematic review of studies published in PsycINFO, ERIC, Social Work Abstracts, Social Services Abstracts, and CINAHL was conducted. A total of 24 studies (n = 3977) were included in the meta-analysis. 
Results: Overall, mindfulness interventions were found to be helpful, with small to moderate significant effects pre-post intervention compared to control groups (Hedges’ g = 0.24, p < .001); however, interventions that were delivered during late adolescence (15–18) and that consisted of combinations of various mindfulness activities had the largest effects on mental health and well-being outcomes. Furthermore, the effects on specific mindfulness and mental health outcomes differed according to whether the intervention was delivered by an outside facilitator compared to trained educators/teachers. 
Conclusions: These results suggest that individual differences and program characteristics can impact receptivity and effectiveness of mindfulness training. These findings represent a significant contribution as they can be used to inform future designs and applications of mindfulness interventions in the school setting.

Mental health training programs for secondary school teachers: A systematic review
Anderson, M., Werner-Seidler, A., King, C., Gayed, A., Harvey, S., & O’Dea, B.
Journal: School Mental Health
Year: 2018
Abstract/Summary: This review aimed to examine the effectiveness of mental health training programs designed to improve the knowledge, attitudes, or helping behaviour of secondary school teachers for adolescent depression, anxiety, and related mental health problems. 
Method: A systematic search strategy was conducted using electronic databases and hand search procedures. Eight studies met inclusion criteria, representing six unique training programs. 
Results: All eight studies reported an improvement in mental health knowledge (d = 0.57–3.1) and attitudes (d = 0.36–1.18) at post-intervention. There was little evidence that the included training programs improved teachers’ helping behaviour or students’ mental health. There was no evidence to suggest that these training programs alleviated mental health problems among teachers themselves. Only two studies were conducted as randomised controlled trials. 
Conclusions: The findings suggest there may be value in providing mental health training to teachers; however, there is an urgent need for more rigorous research to determine which, if any, programs can alter teacher behaviour or improve student outcomes for mental health.

Separating children from their families: Toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences
Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
In May 2018, AACAP President Karen Dineen Wagner, MD, PhD, issued a statement opposing policies and legislation that attempt to deter immigration by separating children from their parents. This statement and the formal policy statement approved by AACAP Council a short time later are based on the well-known scientific data that separation from parents places already vulnerable children at risk for poor psychiatric and other medical outcomes. In June 2018, the editors of Pediatrics issued a statement on the effects of toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences. They provided open access links to many of the articles that have appeared in Pediatrics over the years in support of keeping parents and children together at times of stress along with the deleterious outcomes of early adverse childhood experiences. JAACAP is the leading publication for pediatric mental health and has published many articles over the past two decades demonstrating the damaging effects of early childhood trauma on later development, the role of parental stress in the intergenerational transmission of both psychiatric and other medical outcomes, and the positive role of parents in promoting child and adolescent mental health. We join our Pediatrics colleagues in opposing the practice of separating immigrant children from their families. In collaboration with our publisher, Elsevier, we have therefore created this open access collection of the articles published in JAACAP since 2008 on the effects of separation, early life trauma, and related topics, and will maintain and update it until this practice is no longer the norm. We hope that this will encourage policymakers and the public to recognize the potentially life altering effects that these and similar policies have on children, adolescents, and their families.

SAMHSA Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Disorders Program
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services, is accepting applications for fiscal year 2019 Healthy Transitions: Improving Life Trajectories for Youth and Young Adults With Serious Mental Disorders Program grants (Short Title: Healthy Transitions). The purpose of this program is to improve access to treatment and support services for youth and young adults, ages 16-25, who have a serious emotional disturbance or a serious mental illness. It is expected that this program will improve emotional and behavioral health functioning so that this population of youth and young adults can maximize their potential to assume adult roles and responsibilities and lead full and productive lives. The overall goal of Healthy Transitions will be to provide developmentally appropriate, culturally and linguistically competent services and supports to address serious mental disorders among youth 16 – 25 years of age. This will be accomplished by increasing awareness, screening and detection, outreach and engagement, referrals to treatment, coordination of care, and evidence-informed treatment.
Deadline: December 21, 2018
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $14,130,226
Anticipated number of awards: 14
Anticipate Award Amount: Up to $1,000,000 per year
Length of Project: Up to 5 years

SAMHSA Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) State Education Agency Grants
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year 2019 Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) - State Education Agency (SEA) grants (Short Title: AWARE-SEA). The purpose of this program is to build or expand the capacity of State Educational Agencies, in partnership with State Mental Health Agencies overseeing school-aged youth and local education agencies, to: (1) increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth; (2) provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues; and (3) connect school-aged youth, who may have behavioral health issues (including serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness, and their families to needed services. SAMHSA expects that this program will focus on partnerships and collaboration between state and local systems to promote the healthy development of school-aged youth and prevent youth violence. The AWARE-SEA program supports the development and implementation of a comprehensive plan of activities, services, and strategies to decrease youth violence and support the healthy development of school-aged youth. This program builds upon the successful strategies of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative that have been effective in creating safe and secure schools and promoting the mental health of students in communities across the country. These strategies include facilitating a closer relationship between state and local implementation of policies and programs, and supporting the development of integrated systems that create safe and respectful environments for learning and promote the mental health of school-aged youth.
Deadline: December 24, 2018
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $15,206,308
Anticipated number of awards: 8
Anticipate Award Amount: Up to $1,800,000 per year
Length of Project: Up to 5 years

Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health
Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Initiative

Office of the Assistant Secretary of Health will support community level suicide prevention studies that address individual, relationship, community, and environmental risk factors for suicide. Priority Populations include American Indians and Alaska Natives, tribes and geographically isolated communities. The initiative will also support implementation of evidence-based interventions to demonstrate the effectiveness of protective factors for suicide prevention. Grantees under this initiative will also publish and disseminate the successful strategies and promising models to AI/AN and geographically isolated communities. The Youth Suicide Prevention and Mental Health Initiative is expected to result in: an increase in protective/resiliency factors among youth; an increased number of youth linked to needed behavioral health/mental health services; a decrease in the number of youth reporting depressive symptoms; and a decrease in suicide risk behaviors among youth.
Deadline: March 29, 2019
Anticipated Total Available Funding: $1,000,000
Anticipated number of awards: 4
Award Ceiling: $300,000
Award Floor: $250,000

Institute of Education Sciences, Department of Education
In this announcement, the Institute of Education Sciences (Institute) requests applications for its
Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Education Interventions (Low-Cost Evaluation) grant program. The program is designed to support rigorous evaluations of education interventions that state or local education agencies expect to produce meaningful improvements in student education outcomes within a short period (for example, within a single semester or academic year). These evaluations are to be conducted for $250,000 or less and completed within two years. The grant program will be carried out by research institutions and state or local education agencies working together as partners. The evaluations will use randomized controlled trials or regression discontinuity designs to determine the impact of interventions on student education outcomes, and will rely on administrative data or other sources of secondary data to provide measures of these student education outcomes.
Deadline: March 07, 2019
Amount: Unspecified

Institute of Education Sciences, Department of Education
Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Special Education Interventions
In this announcement, the Institute of Education Sciences (Institute) requests applications for its Low-Cost, Short-Duration Evaluation of Special Education Interventions (Low-Cost Evaluation) grant program. The program is designed to support rigorous evaluations of interventions that state and/or local education agencies (or other state or local agencies that oversee early intervention services) expect to produce meaningful improvements in education outcomes for infants, toddlers, children, and youth with or at risk for a disability within a short period (for example, within a single semester or academic year). These evaluations are to be conducted for $250,000 or less and completed within two years. The program will be carried out by research institutions and state or local agencies working together as partners. The evaluations will use randomized controlled trials, regression discontinuity designs, or single-case experimental designs to determine the impact of interventions on education outcomes for infants, toddlers, children and youth, and will rely on administrative data or other sources of secondary data to provide measures of these education outcomes.
Deadline: March 07, 2019
Amount: Unspecified

Center for Disease Control and Prevention Suicide Prevention in Rural Areas Policy Brief
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a policy brief on preventing suicide in rural America, which provides policy makers with an overview of factors increasing suicide risk in this population. The policy brief provides several avenues for policy makers to take to prevent suicide in rural areas such as telemedicine, integrating medical and mental health care, increase use of peer connectedness programs in high schools, and reduce stigma in communities. The brief highlights two successful school-based suicide prevention programs.

The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry Separating Immigrant Children and Families Policy Statement
The Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry released a policy statement in June 2018 that provides evidence against the practice of separating children and families. This policy statement articulates their stance on this practice and recommendations for the future.

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