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Effective School Solutions has been helping to mitigate the youth mental health crisis by providing school-based mental health services to school districts since 2009. Watch leaders in the field discuss the growing youth mental health crisis, plus optimistic stories of hope and healing from school districts nationwide that have implemented mental health services in schools and changed the lives of thousands of students.

How to help students struggling with mental health continues to be an issue schools are tackling. Effective School Solutions shares that the issues clinicians are seeing with students are the same or worse now compared to a year ago. Duncan Young, CEO of Effective School Solutions says that “One of the silver linings of the pandemic was the fact that districts now had increased awareness of the mental health of our young people. Districts really realized what their full potential role was in providing mental health support to students. They also had funding to make some of the innovations that they had wanted to make for a long time.”
ESS joined forces with over 100 educators including Amy Kennedy who speaks on the growing crisis and describes how schools can meet the epidemic head-on by providing school-based mental health services to every student. Dr. Nicole Hazel, Chief Academic Officer at Freehold Regional HS District, details how trauma and behavioral issues have contributed to an uptick in mental health challenges in her school district.
Amy Kennedy, Education Director of The Kennedy Forum, discusses student stress related to performance, social media and childhood experiences and how those dynamics impact student mental health. She describes how these challenges inform the need for schools to be involved in student mental health care. Suzanne Olimpio, Assistant Superintendent describes the mental health challenges she is seeing in her district.
John Keenan, a former Superintendent, speaks about his search for social skills services and how that led him to Effective School Solutions. He describes the ESS program’s positive effect on the mental health of his student population by bringing in more staff and services. He also details ESS’s impact on his budget by allowing potentially out-of-district students to remain in the district.
Amy Kennedy, Education Director of The Kennedy Forum discusses the mental health crisis in our schools including the alarming number of students dropping out, entering the criminal justice system and the worst case scenario, taking their own lives. She discusses the broad-based need to address mental health in schools to reach every student in the system. Various educators discuss the benefits of in-school mental health services and how ESS has changed the lives of their at-risk students
Brenda Sofield, Director of Pupil Personnel Services speaks about the student mental health challenges in her district and how Effective School Solutions has helped them mitigate the growing mental health crisis in our country. Brenda shares a brief story of success and how one ESS alumni is making a difference for others in her community.
Amy Kennedy, Education Director of The Kennedy Forum and various educators discuss the increase in the number of students with mental health challenges and the growing need for mental health programs in schools.
Teresa Conner-Brown, the guardian of an ESS student, discusses the mental health challenges the child in her care was experiencing – including anger and abandonment issues – before receiving services from an Effective School Solutions program in their school. Teresa describes how ESS helped the student to completely turn their life around.
Amy Kennedy, Co-founder of The Kennedy Forum, joins Duncan and Laine to discuss the current state of school-based mental health in the U.S., significant changes regarding mental health in the classroom, the youth mental health crisis, federal and state initiatives in place to address the crisis, and why we all need to invest in mental health.
John Zogby, Founder and Senior Partner of John Zogby Strategies, joins Duncan and Laine to discuss the recently announced ESS-Zogby major survey of parents and school administrators about school-based mental health care, stigmas around mental health, priorities for funding these initiatives, parents’ attitudes about what level of mental health support schools should provide, and how to prioritize school-based mental health in the future.
John Crocker, Director of School Mental Health and Behavioral Services for Methuen Public Schools in Massachusetts, discusses the most pressing issues relating to student mental health he sees on the ground in his district, the importance of universal mental health screening, and the playbook he uses as the Founder of the Massachusetts School-Based Mental Health Consortium.
Natasha King, SELPA Manager for the San Mateo County Special Education Local Planning Area (SELPA), joins Duncan and Laine and special guest host Dawn Ortiz to discuss what’s missing in mental health support, how to reset and recalibrate with students, California’s mental health funding landscape, and building programming in school districts to serve all students.
Duncan and Laine are joined by Dr. Kat Scherer, a psychologist, educator, and author, and Dr. Elizabeth Sylvester, a psychologist and Nurtured Heart Approach ® advanced trainer treating children, teens, and families. They discuss the relationship between attachment, regulation, and discipline, how to help a child regulate their behavior, how schools can support parents who struggle with their kid’s behavior, the 7 Essential Attachment Needs, and tips for parents to support their children.
Dorothy Espelage, Ph.D., the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, joins Duncan and Laine to discuss the link between bullying and mental health, how to support bullies to change their behaviors, and bullying prevention initiatives school districts can put in place to reset.
Arne Duncan, former U.S. Secretary of Education for the Obama Administration and the leader of Chicago CRED, joins Duncan and Laine to discuss the gaps in school-based mental health services, sustainable funding for school districts’ mental health initiatives, and a look back at his tenure as the U.S. Secretary of Education from 2009-2015.

Learn more about Funding Sustainable School-Based Mental Health Programs

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Our Unwavering Focus on Data Collection

At ESS, we have an unrelenting focus on data, measuring results, and communicating to our partners the proven impact our programming has on mental health, school outcomes and financial sustainability.

With every ESS partner, we will:

• Set data driven goals at the beginning of every implementation

• Have regular “Report Card” meetings in which we share the impact of ESS services

• Monitor data along the way to look for potential risk areas so that these can be proactively addressed

Learn more about our Will to Wellness 6 Step Framework

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Let’s Discuss Your Student Mental Health Needs

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