Mental health care and screenings in public school system

Mental health care and screenings in public school system

MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM 2

Mental health care and screenings in public school system

In healthcare setting, there are various policy issues aimed at providing solutions to
various healthcare problems. This discussion focuses on policy on mental health care and
screenings in public school system. Many children in schools suffer from mental diseases such as
autism, memory loss and this impact on their studies in schools. Coming up with a policy on
screenings of students with such problems will help to promote their healthy living as well as
improve their learning outcomes. This paper therefore provides a plan and strategies in
addressing these problems in schools.
Mental health is one of the challenges that many schools experience across the world.
Out of the 450,000 youths in schools, around 47 percent of them elementary and middle school
suffer from emotional disturbance and other mental problems (Atkins, Hoagwood, Kutash, &
Seidman, 2010). 73 percent of students in secondary school as well suffer from this problem
while only 20 percent have the opportunity to access to appropriate services (Atkins, Hoagwood,
Kutash, & Seidman, 2010).
The current status of the mental health care and screenings in public school systems is that
twenty five percent of children experience a mental health disorder annually. Other than that
forty percent of adolescents meet lifetime diagnostic criteria for multiple mental health disorders
according to Stiffman et al., (2011), mental health disorders can greatly affect children and
adolescents’ functioning in multiple domains, including at school, in the home, with friends and
in communities (Stiffman et al., 2011).
Given the high prevalence of mental health disorders among children and adolescents,
Schools have developed programs to meet students’ mental health needs. These students mental

MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM 3

Health (SMH) programs can range from universal to highly target. Universal programs are
designed to increase awareness of and sensitivity to mental health issues in students. For
example, by supporting students coping with stress and encouraging student help-seeking
behaviors. The more-targeted programs are designed to provide staff or faculty skills to identify
and respond to specific mental health issues or populations (e.g., suicide prevention, substance
use).
Before making a visit to the policy maker (superintendent) it is important to have a good
plan on the same. In this case, I will have to come up with a draft on the major aspects that are
required to discuss with the policy maker. As part of my preparation, I will be forced to carry out
a survey and as well read various literature studies on the topic/policy issue to acquaint myself
with the information about the same. This will enable me to have a clear understanding of the
problem and make the argument credible and persuasive.
The purpose of this assignment is to identify and articulate a plan for a policymaking and
legislative visit while exploring strategies to affect the development, implementation, and
consequences of policies at the institutional, local, national, and international levels. The paper
also seeks to create strategies to communicate with policy makers to advocate for effective
policies that affect nurses and nursing, consumers, or the health care system. An attempt to
analyze the historical, ethical, and political contexts of health care policy and the consequences
of policy implementation will also be made. Arguments made in the paper will advocate for
institutional, local, national, and international policies that influence health care and its
consumers and nurses and their nursing practice.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM 4

Evaluating the diverse array of SMH programs is critical to improving their effectiveness.
Health care professionals for children and adolescents must educate key stakeholders about the
extent of these problems and work together with them to increase access to mental health
resources. School-based programs offer the promise of improving access to diagnosis of and
treatment for the mental health problems of children and adolescents. Pediatric health care
professionals, educators, and mental health specialists should work in collaboration to develop
and implement effective school-based mental health services.
The plan must have key strategies that indicate clearly how the policy will be
implemented and its implications on the society. I will have to review works done by others in
this area. This will enable me to gain a deeper understanding of what has been found in the field
and the gaps (Keeton, Soleimanpour & Brindis, 2012). I will therefore use this knowledge to
build a strong case by focusing more on these gaps to provide an insightful solution to the
problem at hand. I will also abreast myself to understand how the policies are legislated before
they are adapted. Therefore, one of the strategies is to make sure that the policy addresses salient
aspects that have not been addressed by the current legal systems. I will as well base my
arguments on evidence-based research to enhance its adaptability. The policy maker need to be
motivated and satisfied that indeed the policy is workable and credible.
Communication is also very critical strategy in this process (Keeton, Soleimanpour &
Brindis, 2012). Being able to communicate effectively is important in influencing the policy
makers to buy into ones idea. I therefore, will establish rapport with the policy makers through
appropriate communication skills. The messages conveyed must be positive to influence the
whims of the policy maker. Example of the messages I will send will manifest my level of

MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM 5

professionalism and attention to detail. They will also provide positivity about the policy to
influence its adoption. The recommendations of the policy will also play a critical role in
determining whether the policy makers will supported it or not recommendation will be clear
and precise (Keeton, Soleimanpour & Brindis, 2012). They will also be based on the evidence-
based research.
The approach strategies including plan, the messages, recommendation and follow up
will be based on empirical evidence. Planning is important as it allows one to be ready and
understanding the scope of the project. Planning allows the researcher to estimate the resources
required, time required human resources requirements among many other aspects. It therefore
helps to provide an overview of the project and whether it will be successful or not hence if
worth implementation or not (Keeton, Soleimanpour & Brindis, 2012). The messages must as
well be appropriate to trigger positive outcome. The medium of communicating is also essential.
Using face to face is one of the methods of relaying communication. It is effective because,
people can observe the emotions and gestures of the parties when communicating hence
enhancing understanding. Follow up is also critical in any communication process. It allows one
to determine whether the process was successful or not (Happell et al., 2013). For instance, in
these initiatives, follow up is critical to ensure whether the policy makers will have approved the
same or not. It will also allow the policy makers to provide recommendations on areas that
require further amendments to refine the policy
Importance of a successful visit and follow up to nursing is exemplified through various
outcomes. A nurse will often feel good and successful when policies proposed by them go
through. A successful visit by the nurse is evident through the negotiations and the final

MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM 6

decisions reached by the policy maker. Managing to convince the policy maker about the
viability of this policy will be one of the indications of success of the policy (Rutten, Gelius, &
Abu-Omar, 2010). A nurse gets gratification from positive feedback from the policy makers and
this increases their level of commitment in rendering better quality services.
It is therefore important for nurse to participate in policymaking. They have an
opportunity to help contribute positively in promotion of health through evidenced based
research. Strategic planning is also very important to ensure that the policy maker responds
positively on the policy. The messages and recommendations must indicate professionalism. It is
also important to follow up to ensure that the project recommendations are acted upon. Nurses
are gratified and feel good when they help to change the society though their initiatives. Mental
healthcare and screening is school system is a policy that will impact positively on the lives of
many students with various mental problems. This will promote their learning and will allow
them to receive appropriate training. Children in schools that are mistreated and discriminated
against because of this mental status will also be able to learn in conducive environment.
Specialist training services can be provided to such children to help them achieve their dreams.
Some of the conditions are not worse and if assistance is accordance, the lives of these children
can be transformed.

MENTAL HEALTH CARE AND SCREENINGS IN PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM 7

References

Atkins, M., Hoagwood, K., Kutash, K., &Seidman, E. (2010). Toward the integration of
education and mental health in schools. Administrative Policy Mental Health, 37(1-2).
40-47.
Happell, B et al., (2013). Screening physical health? Yes! But…: nurses’ views on physical health
screening in mental health care. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 22(5/16): 2286-229.
Keeton, V., Soleimanpour, S., & Brindis, C. (2012). School-Based Health Centers in an Era of
Health Care Reform: Building on History. In School Based Health Centers in an Era of
Health Care Reform: Building on History, Current Problems in Pediatric and Adolescent
Health Care. July 2012 42(6):132-156.
Rutten, A., Gelius, P., & Abu-Omar, K. (2010). Policy development and implementation in
health promotion – from theory to practice: The adept model. Health Promotion
International, 26(3). 322-329. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daq080
Stiffman, A.R., Stelk, W., Horwitz, S.M., Evans, M.E., Outlaw, F.H., & Atkins, M. (2010). A
public health approach to children’s mental health services: Possible Solutions to current
service inadequacies. Administrative Policy Mental Health, 37(1-2). 120-124.

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