In light of a growing number of school-based violence, the safety and well-being of students has become a top issue for policymakers across the United states. In its latest issue brief, the North Carolina Institute of Medicine examines the topic through the lens of mental health services in schools. North Carolina ranks last of all 50 states in the number of youth receiving needed mental health treatment. In addition to concerns about school violence, mental health treatment is important due to the detrimental impact untreated mental illnesses may have across a child’s lifespan, impacting daily functioning, learning, relationships, and health outcomes.
This issue brief dissects the shortage of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) such as nurses, counselors, psychologists and social workers, provides an overview of services offered by SISP, and outlines other mental health services offered to students in North Carolina. This issue brief was prepared for the NCIOM Legislative Health Policy Fellows Program, supported by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation, Cone Health Foundation, the Duke Endowment, and the Commonwealth Fund.