School-based mental health services in Baltimore: association with school climate and special education referrals.

Research paper by Eric J EJ Bruns, Christine C Walrath, Marcia M Glass-Siegel, Mark D MD Weist

Indexed on: 10 Jun '04Published on: 10 Jun '04Published in: Behavior modification


This study investigated the association between school-based mental health services and two proposed but untested outcomes of these services: (a) school climate and (b) patterns of referrals to special education. Results from a climate survey found that teachers and staff in eight elementary schools with expanded school mental health (ESMH) services gave higher ratings on the survey's mental health climate subscale than respondents from schools in a matched comparison group. No differences were found for the General Climate subscale of the survey. Results also indicated that teachers in ESMH schools referred fewer students to the special education eligibility process because of emotional and behavioral issues and that fewer students in ESMH schools were found eligible for special education for emotional and behavioral disabilities. Results of this study provide beginning evidence for the positive impact of ESMH programs on these two schoolwide indicators of functioning.