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Blueprint for PGCPS: Mental Health Services

Background

When many students enter the schoolhouse, they are distracted and overwhelmed with personal and family issues. To ensure every student has a trained adult to help them work through these issues, PGCPS is providing additional funding to provide 45 high-needs schools with certified mental health therapists. In addition, the PGCPS mental health coordinator will guide staff through mental health first aid training so anyone trusted with caring for a child has the tools to do so effectively.

Update for School Year 2020-2021

Mental Health Coordinator

Currently, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) allocates $108,271 for the full-time salary for this position. The pandemic has affected the work of the person in this position and the delivery of needed mental health services. Specifically, the Mental Health Coordinator modifed procedures and documentation related to crisis response, suicide intervention, threat assessment, and counseling to allow school-based mental health professionals to virtually implement these procedures. In conjunction with these changes, the Mental Health Coordinator led professional development in each of these areas, especially in the delivery of tele-mental health services. The person in this position has carried out but is not limited to the following duties: 

  • Established active partnerships with county health or public safety agencies;
  • Established active partnerships with community-based service providers;
  • Established or lead county task force on student mental health;
  • Successfully applied for grants to enhance mental health services for students;
  • Coordinated or assisted in the hiring of school-based mental health personnel; and
  • Worked with schools to connect students and families to needed services.

                               December Survey 2020

Mental Health Services Update as of April 1, 2021

The Role of the Mental Health Coordinator is vital to our school district as we navigate the prolonged effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. With funding from the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, PGCPS continues to provide resources for social, emotional, and behavioral growth, seek out programs and practices that will provide stakeholders with a safety net, and support students and staff who have experienced the loss of an individual. 

Specifically, the mental health coordinator collaborated with National Center for Safe and Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE), a technical assistance center, to continue the development of a project that would provide 100-120 workshops during the 2020-2021 school year to educate PGCPS staff on the impact of trauma on students’ behavior and trauma-informed strategies to support students and families. There will be 25 participants per workshop (2,500 total staff members). 

Initiatives since January 2021 include: 

  • Sources of Strength training for 65 PGCPS staff and 121 students in suicide prevention;
  • Placing mental health clinicians in 93 schools and providing training; 
  • A submitted application for a non-competitive $25,000 grant for schools to receive tools to assist students in regulating their emotions. Funds are expected in April 2021 and schools will use calm space tools to determine the best course of action;
  • Met with the PGCPS office of The McKinney-Vento Program to discuss how clinicians may support youth who experience homelessness; and
  • Providing mental health articles/resources for PGCPS staff and parents via social media, newsletters and emails.