Date of Paper


Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)


Social Work

First Advisor

Catherine Marrs Fuchsel


Social Work


Mental health impacts children socially, emotionally, and academically. While one of every five children/adolescents has a diagnosed mental health disorder. It is also estimated that one out of five children who need mental health services do not receive them (Van Landeghem, & Hess, 2005). Almost all children attend school for some time in their lives; therefore, school is the ideal setting for implementing collaborative interventions aimed at improving a child’s emotional development and overall mental health. Schools have become one of the largest providers of mental health services with many different stakeholders (Barrett, Eber, & Weist, 2013). This study seeks to examine the overall lived experience of five different categories of these stakeholders: teachers, administrators, schools social workers, co-located mental health practitioners, and parents/caregivers. Qualitative interviews were conducted with one school teacher, two school administrators, two school social workers, one co-located mental health practitioner, and two parents/caregivers. The interviews explored the school based mental health stakeholders’ experiences and six distinct themes were developed: (a) Relationship, (b) Current Needs and Assessments, (c) Interventions, (d) Staff and Parent Development, (e) Coordination of Care, and (f) Funding and Liability Dynamics. The findings of this study suggest that school based mental health programs can vary significantly from school district to school district. Findings also indicate that the overall implementation of mental health services in public schools is insufficient to support the needs of children. While exploratory in nature, this study holds implications for social work practice in schools. Implications also include the delivery of school based mental health policy as well as future research regarding the effectiveness of interventions.

Included in

Social Work Commons