Mental Health and Behavioral Health
Welcome to the Texas School Mental Health and Behavioral Health Website. TEA developed these web pages to provide information to help schools to support students' mental and behavioral health.
Approximately one in six school-aged youth experiences impairments in life functioning, including impacts on academic achievement, due to mental illness. The number of students experiencing mental illness increases as young people grow older.
Outside of the student’s home, schools are the most likely place where mental health concerns will be detected. Fortunately, the earlier mental health concerns are detected and addressed, the more likely a student is to avoid the onset and/or progression of mental illness. Many times, signs of deteriorating mental health are noticeable well before a mental illness emerges.
This website seeks to assist school personnel with resources for supporting student mental health. In Texas, there are numerous collaborative efforts, statutes, services, programs, and strategies available to support the identification of mental health challenges and to address them. Please bookmark the page, share the link, and visit often to learn of new resources and opportunities for promoting school mental health in Texas.
Annual Advancing Behavioral Health Collaboration Summit
Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education
The 6th annual ABC summit was held November 29th through December 1st 2022. The summit focused on integrating mental health to support the whole child. Nearly 1,000 educators, school leaders, counselors and practitioners came together over these 3 days to learn more about advancing behavioral health collaboration. Attendees learned about an array of topics from our panelist. Topics included: universal and intensive support for students and families, school safety, building strong community partnerships and resource sharing. You can view the recordings and access other resources shared during the summit by visiting schoolmentalhealthtx.org/abc-summit/.
Stay tuned for more information about this year's upcoming 7th annual ABC summit.
Participation is encouraged for professionals working in education service centers, local education agencies, state agencies and community organizations who desire to support schools, learn from colleagues, and strengthen student mental health in Texas.
Mental Health Plans and Reports
- TEA Statewide Plan for Student Mental Health (December 2020)
- The Collaborative Task Force on Public School Mental Health Services
Senate Bill 279 Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the intent of the bill?
The bill is intended to help prevent youth suicides. Providing national crisis-line numbers to students is a statewide suicide prevention strategy. The goal is to equip students with awareness, information, and immediate access to help in a crisis by providing the numbers for students to read on their student identification (IDs) issued by the school to students in grades 6-12.
2. Does a school need to provide the crisis numbers if our district uses digital student IDs, such as through an APP?
Yes. The national suicide prevention crisis-line numbers should be included on digital IDs, or other issued student IDs regardless of format, to meet the bill’s suicide prevention intent.
3. Can we use printed stickers with the crisis numbers securely affixed on our student IDs?
4. Are we required to issue IDs if our school or district does not issue IDs to students?
No. The bill does not require that schools issue IDs if a school does not issue any IDs to students. However, it would be beneficial to have these crisis-line numbers available to students who do not have IDs.
5. What are the national crisis line numbers?
The current numbers for the 2021-2022 school year are: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) (1-800-273-TALK) (8255) and the Crisis Text Line (Text TX To 741741). If a school has already printed (Text HOME to 741741), that also works.
6. Might the numbers change for subsequent school years?
Yes. TEA has been informed that the NSPL number may change for the next school year.
As a result of school closures and remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, students have been at higher risk of exposure due to adverse childhood experiences and first-hand exposure to the effects of COVID-19. We also know that many educators have themselves experienced a prolonged state of stress over the course of the pandemic and share many of the concerns regarding loss of safety, health, and predictability as students upon the return to school.
That’s why TEA has launched Project Restore and this trauma-informed training video series, which is designed to address these extraordinary and unprecedented needs and connect you to relevant science and strategies that can help you address your own emotional needs as well the needs of your students and colleagues. This series will help educators create an environment that jump-starts teaching and learning and drives student achievement.
Hotlines and Links to Mental/Behavioral Health Supports in Texas
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 988 or 800-273-8255 (800-273-TALK)
- Mental Health Resources for School-Aged Children – Find Your Local Community Mental Health Center
- MentalHealthTX.Org – About Mental Health Coordination in Texas and State Resources
Best Practice Resources for Schools
In accordance with statutory requirements established by TEC §38.351, The Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) coordinates with the Texas Education Agency (TEA) and Education Service Centers (ESCs) to annually review a list of recommended best-practice programs, and practices, for public schools. In collaboration, these entities have compiled a list of practices and programs to create the Mental and Behavioral Health Recommended Evidence-Based Programs and Research-Based Practices Repository. The repository includes important practices and programs for school leader’s consideration. These resources are intended to support mental and behavioral health along with academic achievement.
8 Components of a Comprehensive School Mental Health System
- Building Skills Related to Managing Emotions, Establishing and Maintaining Positive Relationships, and Responsible Decision-Making
- Early Mental Health Prevention and Intervention
- Grief-Informed and Trauma-Informed Practices
- Positive Youth Development
- Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports
- Safe, Supportive and Positive School Climates
- Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention
- Suicide Prevention, Intervention and Postvention
General Information is also provided below on the statutes addressed by the Mental and Behavioral Health Recommended Evidence-Based Programs and Research-Based Practices Repository.
The list below may support implementing the following legislation from 86R and Texas Education Codes (TEC):
- Mental Health Promotion and Intervention, Substance Abuse Prevention and Intervention, and Suicide Prevention | TEC 38.351 » H.B. 18, Sec. 1.21
- Multi-hazard Emergency Operations Plan; Safety and Security Audit | TEC 37.108 » S.B. 11, Sec. 10
- Trauma-Informed Care Policy, TEC 38.036
- Required Curriculum | TEC 28.002 » S.B. 11, Sec. 7
- School Safety Allotment | TEC 42.168 » S.B. 11, Sec. 20
- School Health Advisory Council | TEC 28.004 » S.B. 11, Sec. 8
- Staff Development Requirements | TEC 21.451 » H.B. 18, Sec. 1.05
- Threat Assessment and Safe and Supportive School Program and Team | TEC 37.115 » S.B. 11, Sec.13
- Information on statutory requirements for Educator Preparation Programs | Educator Preparation Programs (EPP) Resources
Julie Wayman, Mental/Behavioral Health Director
Tammy Genke, Project A.W.A.R.E State Coordinator
Ashton Millet, Education & Program Specialist- Project A.W.A.R.E