• School-Based Social Work and Mental Health Programs

    Program Description

    School-Based Psychiatric Social Workers (PSWs) itinerant positions are district allocated or funded by individual schools to provide a range of preventive, early intervention, and acute mental health assessments and treatments in group, individual, or family modalities.

    There is growing research and evidence that children who receive school-based mental health services demonstrate positive academic outcomes, such as increased rates of high school graduation, increased feelings of school connectedness, and high grade-point average (GPA). Additionally, there is a decrease in absenteeism, incidences of suspension and expulsion. 

    School-Based Psychiatric Social Workers (PSWs) are highly trained clinical social workers that provide a continuum of mental health and school social work services alongside school administrators, teachers, parents, and community partners to coordinate mental health care for students and school communities. PSWs implement culturally responsive universal and early intervention strategies to promote critical wellness and social-emotional well-being. Using a multi-tiered approach, school-based PSWs provide prevention, early intervention, and intensive mental health support for students, parents/caregivers, and schools. 


    Program Services

    In collaboration with school leadership and other key stakeholders, PSWs assess school community needs. Then, using a multi-tiered framework, mental health and school social work services and interventions are identified for implementation to improve student outcomes.  A Service Delivery Plan (SDP) is developed as a roadmap to ensure the services align with the school community's needs and priorities. In addition, these services align with the pillars, priorities, and strategies outlined in the 2022-2026 LAUSD Strategic Plan, Whole-Child Well-Being, Joy, and Wellness. The following are the standardized practices that PSWs provide on their campuses.

    • To promote parent outreach by providing parent and community engagement 
    • To promote a welcoming learning environment and strengthen staff's ability to support students' social and emotional needs by providing mental health related professional development
    • To provide mental health services to targeted populations in order to increase mental health awareness and accessibility of mental health care to students
    • To promote mental health awareness and foster positive social, emotional, and behavioral skills and well-being of all students by initiating school-wide mental health campaigns
    • To promote welcoming, affirming, and inclusive school learning environments by uplifting underserved communities through our diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives
    • To promote the use of multidisciplinary teams to increase collaboration that focuses on mental health on school campuses
    • To promote student-led mental health initiatives that foster peer-to-peer mental health education 




    School-based Social Work and Mental Health Service Description Handout