Interdisciplinary, Team-Based, Mental Health and Educational Care to Help Students

Mental health issues among youth, exacerbated by the pandemic, demand multifaceted, interdisciplinary approaches in schools to address complex needs effectively.
teen upset, struggling, at school whiteboard

If you have followed the mental health statistics with our children and teenagers, the realities of depression, anxiety, and related mental health issues have been ever increasing. Prior to the pandemic we were already experiencing limited mental health services for our youth. The pandemic spiraled these issues to a place of crisis. Now we have systems that are overwhelmed with students going to their school with little ability to cope with the stressors that they are facing.

I don’t think there is one answer to this overwhelming set of problems. I recognize our schools are struggling and attempting to meet needs with limited resources and the appropriate staff necessary to spend quality time and effort to resolve the intensity of these circumstances. 

The circumstances surrounding their lives are often complex and the specific needs are difficult to assess in their entirety. It takes a synergy of professionals to be looking at these circumstances from several different therapeutic perspectives over a significant period of time.

At Lakeside we believe that what is needed is long-range monitoring by an interdisciplinary team of professionals who can help our students with a plan for their education, their therapy, their behavior, their brain management, drug management and their emotions. It cannot be a one-dimensional approach since their issues are often layered.

In our schools we bring together special education, clinical care, behavior management, neurological regulation, counseling, group support and interventions. We work diligently to build relational integrity and trust with our students as we provide a safe environment for them to grow and develop in all those aspects of life that have become so difficult.

When in school, a student can be observed by staff from a variety of perspectives. As staff work with students to figure out what they need most, it often takes a great deal of time, observation, different perspectives and a holistic approach that will take into consideration the many aspects of one’s life all operating at one time.

It is for that reason that we believe it is so valuable to have teachers, counselors, special education staff, behavior managers and other specialists to assess and develop strategies that are multi-dimensional to help students succeed in their life pursuits. All of these staff must be in relationship with the students and with each other to develop collaborative interventions and supports to help students find strategies that will meet their needs.

It is rare in our country that there are these multi-disciplinary programs and services that are available to our kids. We need to build more models across the country that have the scope of services and supports that our students require considering the layered and complex problems that they are facing. There are no short-cuts to meeting these complex needs and we all should be advocating for these approaches in every community if we are going to resolve the many mental health issues we are experiencing in America’s youth.

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