Mental health care and screenings in public school system

Specific Requirements

  1. Review what has been done in the past by others regarding your chosen policy issue. What was the result of their actions related to this policy issue? Why is this issue important to nursing?
  2. Who are the federal, state, and local policymakers involved in your chosen policy issue? How can you contact your policymaker? Do you have phone numbers, addresses, immediate staff contacts, and more? Be sure you single out a policymaker whom you know is interested in your issue.
  3. What will be the plan for your legislative visit?  When, where, and how?
  4. What is the message you want to give to your selected policymaker/legislator? Can you present a compelling ‘story’? Can you convey your passion and experience with the policy issue? Can you present basic research data in an easy-to-understand and interesting way? What is your ‘Ask’? What are you recommending? Please review the examples of a policy brief in your text or on the American Nurses Association website. What are your expectations of the policymaker and for your visit in general?
  5. How do you plan to convey your message? What considerations must you have in place with respect to time constraints, availability of policymaker, and contingency plans?
  6. Can you include a presentation using PowerPoint, flip chart, or overheads in some way (email or mail ahead of the call)? Include the actual presentation slides (max of 5 slides) in your final course presentation due week 7 (total 15 slides).
  7. What feedback did you get from your policymaker? What actions are you expecting of him/her/them? How did you leave things? Carefully review the Guidelines and Example below.

Guidelines for Legislative Visits

Most nurses are uncomfortable approaching policymakers, regardless of how prepared they are and how knowledgeable or passionate they are about their policy issue. Nurses tend to grossly underestimate their power and don’t initially understand that policymakers are receptive and anxious   to have their input.

After you have selected your policy issue and have thoroughly researched it, develop a message or proposal that is clear and succinct.  Be sure that you know the appropriate policymaker and the staff that you approach for your issue.  Most students in this course will select a local-level policymaker such as a member of their city council or their local school board.


Student Y is enrolled in NR506: Healthcare Policy. This student has worked for several years as an emergency department nurse at a local hospital and also volunteers his time at the local community teen center. Student Y is passionate about preventing motor-vehicle accidents in the teen population. He has adolescent children of his own and has seen firsthand the tragic results of careless/distracted driving among teens. Of special interest to student Y is the issue surrounding using cell phones and especially text messaging while driving. Student Y believes this to be a significant and growing problem—both locally and nationally.

After carefully researching the issue, Student Y identified his local city-council representative(s) as a policymaker to plan a meeting with. He is interested in proposing a city ordinance that will stop the use of handheld cell phones while driving within city limits. He has analyzed this policy issue, researched what has been done in other parts of the country, and has also researched nursing organizations’ websites in order to assess/track any legislation related to this issue. Student Y carefully strategizes his plan for approaching his policymaker(s), and constructs a compelling story and proposal for change He schedules the meeting as soon as possible, given time constraints of all parties, and prepares for all aspects of the meeting prior.

Student Y uses his experiences from the emergency department to illustrate and describe how devastating and common these accidents are, especially among teens (this adds credibility). He mentions in his presentation that he himself has adolescent children and that he also volunteers at a teen center, which shows personal involvement and commitment. His research data is simple and easy to follow, and his presentation discusses how other regions of the country have passed legislation and the outcomes of that legislation. He also identifies in his presentation material that his nursing organization (Emergency Nurses Association) is stepping up lobbying efforts at both state and national levels regarding this issue, which adds professionalism and strength to his message. He makes a clear recommendation and then asks for feedback and suggestions for his continued advocacy efforts.

While it may take months or possibly years for this issue to be satisfactorily addressed, student Y has done a fine job in preparing for his advocacy efforts. He can continue to track legislation via websites and email alerts, and he can make calls and write letters- at all phases of this process. Perhaps these policymakers would have suggested that he also make this presentation to the local school board. Perhaps, he may also want to ask his state lawmakers to introduce a bill targeting this issue. He can also prepare to address his nursing organization at a meeting or conference and even publish this project. In the meantime, he can also address teens at the community center, as well as in their schools.

Mental health care and screenings in public school system





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

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.

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 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 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.


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.  doi: 10.1007/s10488-010-0299-7.

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.  doi:         10.1007/s/10488-009-0259-2.

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