Reviewing Mental Health Policies at Schools

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- Nearly a decade after health officials recommended universal mental health screenings for students, there are no widespread requirements to provide services.

At Harrisonburg City Schools, official mental health assessments are conducted at school if a student has posed a threat. It can be a simple verbal threat that does not necessarily pose a school-wide danger.

With the threat assessment policy, a method from UVa, an administrator talks to a student and then workers see if a mental health assessment is needed.

April Howard, the school district's psychological services coordinator, said Harrisonburg schools place an emphasis on overall health.

"It's not about the student and being a data point, an assessment point where they are academically, it really is the whole child, and we understand that their students bring a lot with them to school and there are a lot of other things going on, so we want to make sure that we focus on that as well," said Howard.

Howard also said there is enough funding for mental health, which is something the superintendent focuses on.

The school system will be training this month on performing assessments.


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