Mental, Social, & Behavioral Health
Options for 988 Specialized Support
People who contact 988 for support have a few options for specialized support:
- Option 1 to connect to the Veterans Crisis Line
- Option 2 to get crisis support in Spanish
- Option 3 to connect to The Trevor Project, which supports LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or questioning, intersex, asexual and two-spirit) teens and young adults
Regional Resources Support 211
For information related to support in your region call 211.
2-1-1 provides access to your local community services. 2-1-1 is available in multiple languages, allowing those in need to access information and obtain referrals to physical and mental health resources; housing, utility, food, and employment assistance; and suicide and crisis interventions.
WAISN Resource Finder can help find all necessary resources. We encourage families, caregivers, and community-based organizations to seek systems of support from local school districts as their first responders. School Districts and Education Service Districts are designed to provide unique set of supports according to location and region.
OSPI provides a number of programs and resources that can help Washington's youth achieve a healthy lifestyle. Through legislation, guidance, grant funding, programs, and webinars the goal remains that all students can be successful in school when their individual mental, emotional, social, and behavioral health needs are met. Please look into the OSPI programs that are beneficial in maintaining a student's mental, social, and behavioral health as well as the drop-down menus for both comprehensive and systems level overviews of supports.
If you or a loved one are needing immediate mental health support please call 988 or visit Lifeline.org.
The 988 Lifeline offers free, confidential, 24/7/365 support for thoughts of suicide, substance use concerns, and any other type of emotional distress. Trained crisis counselors who answer the calls, texts, and chats can listen, offer support, and provide helpful resources.
- Five Resources to Support Student Mental and Behavioral Health
- Contact your school counselor: Check your school or school district’s website to find your school counselor’s contact information. You can also visit the OSPI Counseling webpage.
- Contact your school district: For a full list of school district contacts, visit OSPI’s district contacts list.
- Contact your regional educational service district (ESD): Find your ESD online.
- Use OSPI resources: Visit our behavioral health webpage to learn more.
- Make a phone call:
- Impacting Legislation
Revised Code of Washington (RCW) 28A.320.127 requires that all K–12 school districts adopt a plan to screen, recognize, and respond to indicators of social, emotional, behavioral, and mental health (SEBMH) such as, but not limited to, sexual abuse, substance use, violence, or youth suicide.
WA School Counseling Legislation
School counselors must be certified and deliver a comprehensive school counseling program based on the national standards for school counseling programs of the American school counselor association.
A minimum of one full-time person, or equivalent, shall be provided for counseling and guidance services. Personnel assigned to...counseling and guidance responsibilities shall have a minimum of one year of training beyond the bachelor's degree including... (click link for more details).
Differentiates the roles of 3 ESA's: school counselors, school psychologists and school social workers. Also acknowledges these professionals are involved in multi-tiered systems of support for academic and behavioral skills.
Detail the requirements of district comprehensive school counseling program plans aligned with the national school counseling model and implementation expectations. This legislation requires, among other things, that staff implementing the comprehensive school counseling program spend 80% of their time in direct and indirect service to students.
Workforce Secondary Traumatic Stress
Substitute House Bill (SHB) 1363 and RCW 28A.300.825 acknowledges the significant toll STS has on educators, and subsequently students, and focuses on the adoption of policy and procedures so that districts and schools can take meaningful steps in supporting their staff’s health and well-being. By implementing policy through the strategic use of professional learning and a continuous improvement process, districts and schools can reduce staff turnover, increase student outcomes, and model healthy behaviors for the entire school community.
Every other school year, school districts must use one of the professional learning days funded under RCW 28A.150.415 to train staff on SEL or SEL-related topics. For more information on this requirement, please review the Professional Learning Day Guidance.
Mental Health Excused Absences
The Washington State Legislative Youth Advisory Council (LYAC) and other youth advocates worked with state representatives to introduce and pass House Bill (HB) 1834: Mental Health Related Absences, during the 2022 Legislative Session.
HB 1834 directs OSPI to categorize a student's absence from school due to a mental health reason as an excused absence due to illness, health condition, or medical appointment; and to develop the rule and guidance to implement the rule in consultation with a student advisory group and the Graduation A Team Effort (GATE) Advisory Committee.
- OSPI Model District Template: Student Social, Emotional and Behavioral, and Mental Health Recognition, Screening, and Response
- OSPI SSB 5030 Guidance Bulletin
- Washington-Developed SEL Resources: Review Washington-developed SEL resources to help implement social emotional learning, including equity tools, learning activities, and related briefs.
- Workforce Secondary Traumatic Stress (WSTS) Compliance Checklist
- Comprehensive and Systems Design Resources
Interconnected Systems Framework
Effective implementation of school-based behavioral health services and programs relies on a defined Multi-Tiered System of Supports or MTSS. The Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) is a structure and process that maximizes effectiveness and efficiency by blending the strengths of school and community mental health with strengths of the multi-tiered framework of PBIS (Barrett, Eber, Weist, 2013).
The SHAPE Quality Assessment may be used to evaluate and improve the quality of school mental health systems. The assessment also includes a library of additional resources.
Youth Mental Health First Aid
Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach how to help an adolescent who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders. Some ESDs offer YMHFA training. Reach out to your region’s prevention center director for more information.
Youth Mental Health Literacy Library Resource
The Student/Youth Mental Health Literacy Library gives any teacher, school counselor or other staff member a comprehensive resource of professionally vetted curricula and school presentations to easily and quickly compare available programs at their fingertips. The site has three very important features.
Whole Child Framework
A Whole Child Framework approach transitions from a focus on narrowly defined academic achievement to one that promotes the long-term development and success of all children.