Massachusetts - School-based or School-linked Mental Health Services: Programs and Services

Programs And Services
Policy Type: 

State law requires districts to establish school-based or school-linked mental health promotion and intervention programs.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 69.1P Safe and supportive schools framework

(a) As used in this section the term “safe and supportive schools” shall mean schools that foster a safe, positive, healthy and inclusive whole-school learning environment that: (i) enables students to develop positive relationships with adults and peers, regulate their emotions and behavior, achieve academic and non-academic success in school and maintain physical and psychological health and well-being; and (ii) integrates services and aligns initiatives that promote students’ behavioral health, including social and emotional learning, bullying prevention, trauma sensitivity, dropout prevention, truancy reduction, children’s mental health, foster care and homeless youth education, inclusion of students with disabilities, positive behavioral approaches that reduce suspensions and expulsions and other similar initiatives.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 69.1P Safe and supportive schools framework

(e) Subject to appropriation, any city, town or school district, by vote of its school committee, may develop and implement an action plan to create and maintain the safe and supportive schools framework. The action plan shall be developed by the school principal, in consultation with the school council established under section 59C of chapter 71, and shall be incorporated into the annual school improvement plan required under section 1I; provided, however, that the district superintendent may approve an alternative process and schedule for developing school action plans. Nothing in this section shall be construed as to limit the ability of the school principal to appoint a team to develop the school’s action plan; provided, however, that such team shall include a broad representation of the school and local community and the principal shall attempt to include teachers and other school personnel, parents, students and representatives from community-based agencies and providers.

School action plans shall be designed to address the areas of need identified through the use of the self-assessment tool described in subsection (d) and shall include the following: (i) strategies and initiatives for addressing the areas of need identified by the assessment; (ii) a timeline for implementing the strategies and initiatives; (iii) outcome goals and indicators for evaluating the effectiveness of the strategies and initiatives set forth in the plan, which may include attendance and graduation rates, bullying incidences, number of student suspensions, expulsions and office referrals, truancy and tardiness rates, time spent on learning and other measures of school success; and (iv) a process and schedule for reviewing the plan annually and updating it at least once every 3 years. School action plans shall be published on the school district’s website.

Massachusetts General Laws ch 71.37Q Mental health support plans

(b) Each school district, charter school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall develop and adhere to a plan to address the general mental health needs of its students, including the students’ families, teachers and school administrators. Each plan shall also address the potential need for emergency and acute treatment for students, including the students’ families, teachers and school administrators as a result of a tragedy or crisis within the district or school. Before September 1 of each year, each school district, charter school, approved private day or residential school and collaborative school shall review and update its plan to achieve best practices.

(c) The department of elementary and secondary education shall promulgate rules or regulations necessary to carry out this section.

(d) No public employer shall be liable for injury, loss of property, personal injury or death caused by an act or omission of a public employee while acting in the scope of the public employee’s employment and arising out of the implementation of this section. This section shall not be construed as creating or imposing a specific duty of care.

Policy Links: