School Mental Health
District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) consists of diverse and equitable school communities that are dedicated to academic excellence and the social-emotional well-being of all students. Our organization fosters caring and healthy learning environments that are responsive to each student in collaboration with families and the community.
Our mission is for DCPS to become a trauma-responsive, healing-centered school district that creates learning environments within our schools that acknowledge and address the impact of trauma on student/school success by:
- Understanding trauma and its impact through the lens of cultural competence and research-based practices;
- Establishing safe and positive relationships among students, families, and staff that are restorative to survivors of trauma;
- Using a collaborative approach among students, families, and staff that includes sharing decision making across all levels of the school and positioning students and families as partners; and
- Ensuring emotional, physical, and identity safety for students and staff while working to meet basic needs and ensure that interactions are consistent, predictable, and respectful to prevent re-traumatization.
The DC Public Schools (DCPS) School Mental Health Team and our many partners provide supportive services to students and families who need assistance for any reason, from overcoming academic challenges to handling life-altering events. Our goal is to ensure that all students are physically and psychologically safe and can fully participate in academic learning.
Some of our services include:
- providing strategies and skills to help students improve their focus and concentration;
- linking students to practical resources to help families gain access to food, clothing, and transportation;
- providing therapeutic intervention to help students cope with stress and trauma;
- leading small-group sessions to support students with relationship building;
- providing substance abuse prevention and intervention;
- completing comprehensive assessments to help school teams make data-informed decisions.
School-Based Mental Health Providers
All school-based mental health providers have master’s degrees and are licensed by OSSE in their respective areas of expertise, including screening and early intervention, direct clinical service, and assessment.
School-Based Health Coordinators (SBHCs) are responsible for processing referral forms for mental health services. Contact your school to find out who your SBHC is.