In 2019, California’s Legislature passed, and the Governor signed the Budget Bill Senate Bill 75, which included the Mental Health Student Services Act (MHSSA) to establish mental health partnerships between County Mental Health or Behavioral Health Departments and educational entities for the purpose of increasing mental health services in locations that are easily accessible to students and their families. The MHSSA grant is intended to foster stronger school-community mental health partnerships that can leverage resources to help students succeed by authorizing counties and local educational agencies to create programs that include targeted interventions for students with identified social-emotional, behavioral, and academic needs.
With the growing need for increased mental health support on school campuses, the Los Angeles County Office of Education (LACOE) Community Schools Initiative, in partnership with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health applied for and was awarded the MHSSA grant through the Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission (MHSOAC). The MHSOAC recognizes that the effects of mental health crises are evident on school campuses and reaching students in the school setting is practical for a first point of contact for mental, behavioral, and substance use disorder services for youth. Schools provide an opportunity for early identification and early intervention to address behavioral health issues that can undermine learning and health development.
MHSSA grant funds will be used to enhance the LACOE Community Schools’ vision of creating school communities which empower all students, families, and staff to thrive by promoting mental health and wellbeing through a multi-tiered approach. A school based social worker will be assigned to qualifying LACOE Community Schools to provide prevention and early intervention services.
Services Provided through the LACOE Community Schools Initiative MHSSA program:
- Conduct school wide mental health assets and needs assessments using the Multi-tiered System of School Mental Health Supports framework.
- Provide student, parent, and staff training and education on mental health related topics.
- Promote parent engagement in the educational process and provide parent education programs.
- Provide mental health consultation to school staff.
- Promote mental health and wellbeing through school wide outreach campaigns, events, workshops, classroom-based learning, and resource fairs.
- Conduct staff development to address barriers to learning and restore and maintain a safe and healthy learning environment for staff, students, and parents.
- Utilize a strengths and asset-based approach to individual, family and school community building.
- Provide short-term individual, group and family counseling utilizing evidence based and/or evidence informed practices.
- Provide case management services to students and families.
- Collaborate with District and community organizations to address student and family needs.
- Promote and facilitate mental health peer leadership programming.
For more information on the MHSSA grant please visit: School Mental Health – MHSOAC (ca.gov)