State law encourages districts to establish school-based or school-linked mental health promotion and intervention programs.
Mississippi Code 1972 37-3-91. Regional behavioral institutes; discipline and classroom management strategies; participation; standardized Memorandum of Understanding between mental health facilities and school districts to include referral protocols and standardized behavioral health screening.
(1) Subject to the availability of funds appropriated for such purpose, the State Department of Education may establish regional behavioral institutes for the purpose of providing state-of-the-art training to teachers and administrators in discipline and classroom management strategies and behavioral health screenings for students.
(2) Any school district may volunteer to participate in a regional behavioral institute. However, the State Department of Education may require a school district to participate in a regional behavioral institute if the department determines that such participation is in the best interest of the school district based upon:
- (a) Complaints received and determined by the department to be valid which relate to disciplinary problems in the school district;
- (b) Any visit to the school by representatives of the department which indicates disciplinary problems in the school district; or
- (c) A review of reports submitted by a school district to the department which indicates disciplinary problems in the school district.
(3) Effective with the 2019-2020 school year, the Mississippi Department of Mental Health shall develop a standardized Memorandum of Understanding (“MOU”) to be utilized by the Mississippi Department of Mental Health certified mental health providers and mental health facilities in providing mental health services to local school districts. The MOU shall include standardized behavioral health screening and referral protocols, procedures and forms to be utilized by the local school districts. Any standardized behavioral health screening and referral protocols shall only be performed on students with the approval of the student’s parent or legal guardian. The Mississippi Department of Mental Health shall provide online training for appropriate school personnel to conduct initial behavioral health screenings of students experiencing or exhibiting behavioral stress or at risk of harming themselves or others.