Preparing School Mental Health Professionals: Competencies in Interdisciplinary and Cross-System Collaboration

  • Kurt D. Michael
  • Seth Bernstein
  • Julie Sarno Owens
  • Abby Albright
  • Dawn Anderson-Butcher
Part of the Issues in Clinical Child Psychology book series (ICCP)


Over the last 10–15 years, there has been significant momentum in the development and implementation of school mental health (SMH) programs, both nationally and internationally (e.g., Kumar et al., 2009; Weist, Lindsey, Moore, & Slade, 2006; Wells et al., 2011). The impetus has been based largely on the prevalence of mental health ailments among children and adolescents coupled with the opportunity to treat them in a context where they spend the majority of the day. When done well, SMH programs are embedded within existing educational systems to provide a continuum of care for students with a range of mental health conditions, educational needs, and disabilities; and SMH professionals must be proficient in working within these systems (Kutash & Duchnowski, 2011; Mellin & Weist, 2011). For instance, the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2006) governs how school systems provide special education and related services to youth with various disabilities, many of which have a mental health component. Another educational paradigm relevant to SMH is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS; Simonsen, Sugai, & Fairbanks, 2007). PBIS is a framework to promote and select effective instructional and behavioral practices for all students, from broad-based prevention to individualized services. These systems provide examples of the interdisciplinary context within which SMH providers must integrate their practices.


Mental Health Interdisciplinary Collaboration School Connectedness School Mental Health Mental Health Promotion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kurt D. Michael
    • 1
  • Seth Bernstein
    • 2
  • Julie Sarno Owens
    • 3
  • Abby Albright
    • 4
  • Dawn Anderson-Butcher
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  2. 2.Boys Town South Florida, School and Family Support ServicesWest Palm BeachUSA
  3. 3.Department of Psychology, Center for Intervention Research in SchoolsOhio UniversityAthensUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologyAppalachian State UniversityBooneUSA
  5. 5.Department of Social WorkThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA

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