Mental Health Resouces

All buildings in the Sparta Area School District are staffed with individuals who make up a Mental Health Team. School counselors, psychologist, teachers, and school nurses all work together to identify Girl with flowers coming out of her head barriers that are preventing a child from receiving or absorbing instruction, but sometimes it can be difficult to know who does what. The following article in the LA Times titled: "Looking for help for your kids’ mental health? Try the school counselor" written by Ada Tseng gives an overview of the many roles and responsibilities available in public education. 

When U.S. Surgeon General Vivek H. Murthy issued a public health advisory this month on protecting youth mental health, he brought attention to the widespread challenges facing today’s young people. But he also emphasized that these challenges are surmountable — and often preventable.

One of his recommendations, as part of what he calls a “whole-of-society” effort to mitigate the pandemic’s corrosive effects on mental health, is to support students’ mental health in schools.

What kind of support systems do students have there? What can parents rely on school counselors to handle, and when does an issue become something that requires extra assistance? Debra Duardo, the superintendent of schools for Los Angeles County; Loretta Whitson, executive director of the California Assn. of School Counselors; and staff from the Santa Ana Unified School District explain.

How does it all work?

Schools have a combination of counselors, social workers, psychologists and nurses who work together as a mental health team on campus, Duardo said.

The team’s No. 1 priority is making sure students can learn. This includes identifying and removing (or at least reducing) any barriers that are preventing a child from receiving or absorbing instruction.

But it’s important to understand that all school employees are trained in how to identify distress in children, Duardo said.

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