Transformation of children's mental health services: the role of school mental health

Psychiatr Serv. 2007 Oct;58(10):1330-8. doi: 10.1176/ps.2007.58.10.1330.


The New Freedom Commission has called for a transformation in the delivery of mental health services in this country. The commission's report and recommendations have highlighted the role of school mental health services in transforming mental health care for children and adolescents. This article examines the intersection of school mental health programs and the commission's recommendations in order to highlight the role of school mental health in the transformation of the child and adolescent mental health system. Schools are uniquely positioned to play a central role in improving access to child mental health services and in supporting mental health and wellness as well as academic functioning of youths. The New Freedom Commission report articulated several goals related to school mental health: reducing stigma, preventing suicide, improving screening and treating co-occurring disorders, and expanding school mental health programs. The authors suggest strategies for change, including demonstrating relevance to schools, developing consensus among stakeholders, enhancing community mental health-school connections, building quality assessment and improvement, and considering the organizational context of schools.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advisory Committees
  • Child
  • Humans
  • Mental Disorders / diagnosis
  • Mental Disorders / prevention & control
  • Mental Disorders / therapy
  • Mental Health Services / organization & administration*
  • Organizational Innovation
  • School Health Services*
  • Suicide Prevention
  • United States