Schooling and Children's Mental Health: Realigning Resources to Reduce Disparities and Advance Public Health

Marc S. Atkins, Elise Cappella, Elisa S. Shernoff, Tara G. Mehta, Erika L. Gustafson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Schools have long been the primary setting for children's mental health services but have neither the resources nor the expertise to manage these services independently. The critical importance of school success for children's adjustment provides a strong rationale for schooling as an essential component of children's mental health services. In this article, we review evidence for how schooling and mental health coalesce, suggesting an alignment of school and community mental health resources that prioritizes successful schooling as a key mental health outcome. We describe collaborative principles and ecological practices that advance a public health focus on children's mental health while also reducing the burden on schools to maintain mental health services. We close with a model of mental health services illustrating these principles and practices in high-poverty urban schools and propose future directions for research and practice to promote positive mental health for all children and youth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-147
Number of pages25
JournalAnnual Review of Clinical Psychology
StatePublished - May 8 2017



  • Children
  • Collaboration
  • Community mental health
  • Ecological principles
  • Education
  • Sustainability
  • Unmet needs
  • Youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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