Report | September 1, 2014

Connecting Students to Mental Health Services

School-linked partnerships provide treatment on campus, connect students to community-based providers, train teachers, and more. Here are some examples

This report, Connecting Students to Mental Health Services, is the result of a year-long research partnership between Fight Crime: Invest in Kids California and the California School-Based Health Alliance. This document explores the ways in which seven California counties are working collaboratively to provide school-linked mental health services, share financial resources to pay for these services, and address local issues such as truancy or recidivism by increasing access to mental health services for students.

Students with undiagnosed or untreated mental health issues rank among the most pressing concerns in schools across California, directly impacting student attendance, behavior, and readiness to learn. Students with unmet mental health needs have worse educational outcomes than students who are receiving appropriate treatment and support. When students’ needs are not addressed, they are more likely to experience difficulties in school, including higher rates of suspensions, expulsions, dropouts, and truancy, as well as lower grades and test scores.

An effective approach linking youth to mental health services is to provide services where students are: at school. In partnership with county agencies and community-based organizations, schools have a leading role to play in the prevention and treatment of student mental health needs. Indeed, 70 percent of children nationwide receive mental health services at school.

Effective school-linked and school-based mental health collaborations overcome many obstacles by coordinating resources among schools, the community, and county agencies. They build partnerships between the education and mental health systems and can include special education programs to deliver resources to children with mental health disorders.


  1. California