Partnering with Schools to Improve Youth Mental Health

August 3, 2023

A Resource for Community Mental Health and Substance Use Care Organizations

Collaboration between schools and community mental health organizations is essential to address one of our nation’s highest priorities: the youth mental health crisis. Community mental health and substance use care organizations, including CCBHCs, are incredibly well positioned to create dramatic improvements in the mental wellbeing of young people in the U.S. by collaborating with schools and school systems to provide school-based health care.

The School-Based Health Alliance (SBHA) proudly partnered with the National Council for Mental Wellbeing’s Center of Excellence for Integrated Health Solutions to develop a strong, shared understanding and perspective of how partnerships between schools and community mental health organizations are constructed and the tangible impacts that such partnerships realize in practice.

In this document, key considerations are presented alongside additional resource recommendations comprising a comprehensive, applicable guide for community-based readers, including CCBHCs, seeking to establish or enhance partnerships with schools.

These recommendations will guide readers on their journey in assessing the needs of their community’s youth and developing partnerships between schools and community mental health organizations with the key purpose of creating and sustaining accessible, equitable and lifesaving services for youth in the environment in which they spend most of their time — school.