Student Mental Health
Our students thrive in schools where their mental wellness needs are met by readily accessible health professionals including school psychologists, school nurses, school counselors, and school social workers.
The challenge facing our students is that many of our school entities are not staffed with the appropriate staff to student ratios recommended by national professional organizations.
To inquire about the staffing levels in your school entity, reach out to the director of pupil services, assistant superintendent, or other district administrator.
Recommended Staffing Ratios for Student Mental Wellness
The National Association of School Psychologists recommends a staff to student ratio of 1:500-700. Among other important items this level of staffing allows professionals to:
- Improve students communication and social skills
- Assess student emotional and behavioral needs
- Reinforce positive coping skills and resilience
- Assess school climate and improve school connectedness
- Generate and interpret useful student and school outcome data
The National Association of School Nurses recommends a staff to student ratio of 1:750. Among other important items this level of staffing allows professionals to:
- Provide health education that promotes physical and mental health and informs healthcare decisions, prevents disease, and enhances school performance.
- Address topics such as healthy lifestyles, risk‐reducing behaviors, developmental needs, activities of daily living, and preventive self‐care, and the school nurse uses teaching methods that are appropriate to the student’s developmental level, learning needs, readiness, and ability to learn.
- Perform screenings, referrals, and follow‐up are secondary prevention strategies that school nurses utilize to detect and treat health-related issues in their early stage.
The American School Counselor Association recommends a staff:student ratio of 1:250. Among other important items this level of staffing allows professionals to provide:
- Individual student academic planning and goal setting
- School counseling classroom lessons based on student success standards
- Short-term counseling to students
- Referrals for long-term support
- Collaboration with families/teachers/ administrators/community for student success
- Advocacy for students at individual education plan meetings and other student-focused meetings
- Data analysis to identify student issues, needs and challenges
- Acting as a systems change agent to improve equity and access, achievement and opportunities for all students
The School Social Work Association of America recommends a staff to student ratio of 1:250. Among other important items, this level of staffing allows professionals to serve as the bridge between the home and school by assisting families in their environments and educating school personnel to support students’ academic and social success. The work includes providing crisis and mental health services to students, participating as a pupil personnel team member, and supporting students with special needs through Individual Education Programs (IEPs).
Certified Health and Physical Education professionals in our schools help our students with their own wellness journey. These individuals are certified to educate our students on daily physical activity, healthy lifestyle choices, nutrition, disease-prevention, and much more.
What is Physical Wellness?
Physical wellness consists of recognizing the need for physical activity, healthy foods, and sleep, as well as preventing illness and injury or managing chronic health conditions. Here are some helpful resources on how to cultivate physical wellness in students.
- Fitness Blender – hundreds of free, full-length workout videos, the most affordable and effective workout programs on the web, meal plans, and helpful health, nutrition and fitness information.
- Youth Initiative – Sworkit | At Home Workout and Fitness Plans – get in shape with an at-home and on-the-go workout system
- Sleep and Health – valuable information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Calm – the #1 app for Sleep, Meditation and Relaxation
- Nutrition.gov | USDA – a USDA-sponsored website that offers credible information to help you make healthful eating choices.
World Health Organization – fact sheets, data, and other information on nutrition
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