MGH Home SchoolPsychiatry Home Page


At any given time, about one of every five students has a significant mental health condition that affects the child’s life and that of his or her family, and creates distinct challenges for you as an educator. Just as some students have physical illnesses, disabilities, or injuries that require adjustments in curriculum and instruction, students with mental health conditions have symptoms that can interfere with school attendance and with learning itself.

The web site was created for educators, educators-in-training, parents, and clinicians. The site contains information about recognizing and treating a range of mental health conditions in young people and making appropriate accommodations at school that can allow these students to succeed. The site offers classroom educators a set of innovative lesson plans that — using works of literature as a starting point — introduce students to strategies for examining their perceptions of themselves and others, and for regulating their own emotions and resolving conflicts.

How to Use This Site

The site is intended for you whether you are just starting to be concerned about the possible causes of a student’s difficulties, if you are working with students who have already received a diagnosis from a trained clinician, or if you want to engage your classroom, through the high school English/Language Arts curriculum, in learning strategies for emotional self-regulation.

Information is provided in five main sections:

  • Child/Adolescent Mental Health Information
    If you’ve been told, or you suspect, that a student has a mental health condition, click on Child/Adolescent Mental Health Information to read about common mental health conditions that affect children and adolescents. This section describes the conditions, their treatment, and useful interventions for school and home.

  • Checklists for Preliminary Mental Health Screening
    If you suspect that a student has a mental health condition, and you are not sure which symptoms are most troublesome, or what your student’s diagnosis might be, click on Checklists for Preliminary Mental Health Screening to find checklists helpful for preliminary mental health screening. These checklists can help clarify which categories of symptoms might be most problematic for the student.

These checklists are not meant for you to diagnose disorders based on a particular “score.” They are only an initial indicator of how to categorize the types of symptoms you’ve observed. Diagnosis should be made only by a trained clinician after a thorough evaluation.

  • Screening Tools & Rating Scales
    If you have been told, or you suspect, that a student may have a particular mental health condition, click on Screening Tools & Rating Scales to find screening tools and rating scales. These tools can help you, the parents, and treatment professionals, to better understand and define the student’s difficulties, and to measure progress after interventions are put in place.

Do not assume that a particular “score” on any of these screening tools or rating scales means a student has a particular disorder—these screening tools and rating scales are just one component of an evaluation. Diagnosis should be made only by a trained clinician after a thorough evaluation.

  • Mental Health in the Classroom
    Click on Mental Health in the Classroom for information about addressing and accommodating mental health conditions at school, and for instructional materials designed for high school educators and school-based mental health professionals to teach students about emotional self-regulation and conflict resolution.

    Select Educational Evaluation for general information about assessing individual needs and tailoring a plan to accommodate the student.

    Select School-Based Interventions for information about specific accommodations and modifications that can be effective for each disorder.

    Select Creating a Safe School Climate for strategies and recommended steps for communities to foster respect and safety of all students.

    Select Curriculum for Teaching Emotional Self-Regulation Skills if you are an educator who would like to introduce emotional regulation and conflict resolution skills into the high school classroom.

  • Medications
    Here you will find information about medications that are used to treat children and adolescents with mental health conditions.  top

Maintaining Perspective During a Complex Process

You will find this web site most helpful if you keep the following points in mind:
  • Mental health symptoms, like asthma or diabetes, are very different in each individual, so even a "diagnosis" does not define your student. Each child is affected differently by mental health issues, and each child needs an individualized treatment and accommodation strategy.

  • Information about mental health conditions and treatments constantly changes, so use what you find here as a starting point to partner with your student's family and clinician(s).

  • If you suspect your student has mental health symptoms that interfere with school performance, contact the staff member(s) most familiar with mental health issues at your school. Never administer any of the screening tools or rating scales in this web site without consulting appropriate school staff (both mental health staff and administrative staff).

  • The School-Based Interventions in this web site are intended to provide options to consider in your school. It would not be feasible or appropriate to institute every accommodation for a student with particular symptoms. Instead, consider which symptoms most interfere with school success for a particular student, and consider which accommodations might work best for him or her.

  • Appreciate that the more accommodations you put in place, the more difficult it will be to keep up with each one.  top
    ©2010 Massachusetts General Hospital, School Psychiatry Program and MADI Resource Center
    Copyright | Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Department of Psychiatry  | Site Map