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ERIC Number: EJ907242
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Pages: 3
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 8
ISSN: ISSN-0164-775X
Mental Health in Schools: Serving the Whole Child
McGrath, Breeda
Communique, v39 n4 p8-10 Dec 2010
The focus on RTI and evidence-based interventions in school psychology is heavily concentrated at the moment on academic skills and progress and less on mental health or social-emotional development. The emphasis is understandable given the demands of NCLB and the wisdom of tackling more measurable, manageable, academic skills first. School problem-solving teams are finding, however, that children's academic successes and failures are inextricably linked to their social and emotional development. It is impossible to divorce the intellectual aspects of a child's life from their friendships and conflicts, their joys and sorrows. Furthermore, the concept of mental health does not have to be limited to a pass/fail dichotomy. In this article, the author contends the need to look at schooling and child development on the basis of a continuum or trajectory, whereby children master skills and develop competencies. Mentally healthy children are not just those who don't evidence pathology. They are defined along multiple lines of achievement, with specific competencies and goals. While still in development, positive psychology offers a context for developing prevention programs that articulate and address children's strengths without ignoring their weaknesses. Social, emotional, and behavioral experiences are an important accompaniment to the cognitive and academic exercises focused on in schools. In general, students who receive social-emotional support and prevention services tend to achieve better academically. Mentally healthy children do experience difficulty, but they are more resilient in the face of failure, and more apt to persist when challenged. By using an expert-novice approach and examining the conditions that support optimism, resilience, perseverance, curiosity, adaptability, and creativity in children, school psychologists may find strategies that will help solve persistent academic problems such as low motivation, inattention, and generalization of learning. Using early intervention and Vygotsky's zone of proximal development concept in the approach to social skills, school psychologists can focus on levels of support, rather than severity of deficit. (Contains 13 online resources.)
National Association of School Psychologists. 4340 East West Highway Suite 402, Bethesda, MD 20814. Tel: 301-657-0270; Fax: 301-657-0275; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A