OSERS Resource Document on Positive Mental Health in Schools

Officials in the U.S Department of Education’s Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) have release another policy document. A few weeks ago, OSERS releases the “Return to School Roadmap: Development and Implementation of Individualized Education Programs in the Least Restrictive Environment under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.” I addressed that document in the last blog post.

In this blog post I will address the last OSERS Resource Document, which was released on October 19. This highly anticipated document was titled “Supporting Child and Student Social, Emotional, Behavioral, and Mental Health Needs.” According to OSERS, positive mental health, like positive physical health, promotes a students success in life and is important at every stage of development from childhood to adulthood. The three critical and interrelated components include social (how students relate to each other, emotional (how students feel), and behavioral (how students act). The resource document then provides resources and information to enhance the promotion of positive mental health and social/emotional/behavioral well-being in schools.

Among the challenges that OSERS identified are gaps in professional development and support. Recommendations include (a) training all staff in schools to promote tier 1 (prevention) and tier 2 (programming for at-risk students), (b) using funds from the American Rescue Plan’s Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Fund to hire staff, such as social workers, counselors, mental health and behavioral specialists, and school psychologists to meet the needs of students, (c) designating staff with the responsibilities of improving school climate and providing supports to tier 2 and tier 3, and (d) emphasizing recruiting, training, and providing ongoing supports to expand the workforce. Additionally, there are so many fabulous resources described in the document.

This document, and all government documents, are in the public domain so the entire document of parts of it may be reproduced as long as OSERS and the U.S. Department of Education are listed.

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