School-Based Mental Health

With embedded mental health professionals in schools across the Anchorage School District, students face less barriers to accessing care at low or no cost.

VOA Alaska’s School-Based Services consist of an integrated model of care with the Anchorage School District (ASD). Qualified, committed, and experienced clinicians are based in various ASD sites to meet the need directly where our youth attend school. This integrated model with the school district combines education efforts with behavioral health support to promote the wellness of the youth in the community.

Students have access to integrated assessments, drug and alcohol education, crisis intervention, individual and family therapy, and mental health and substance use counseling. Students are taught life and coping skills and feelings and behavior management skills to improve their ability to function within and outside of the school setting. Case management and care coordination are also provided to support the student and their family, as well as linking them to needed resources and positive social activities in their home community. 

This effort is supported through our partnership with Anchorage School District, Anchorage School Based Health Centers, and ASD Alternative Schools.

Expanding Access to Behavioral Health for ASD Students

VOA Alaska, in partnership with Providence Alaska and the Anchorage School District, has the following goals for our coordinated effort to expand existing school-based services and further integrate with ASD academic culture. In doing so, we will promote earlier behavioral health intervention, support, and services, resulting in an improvement of overall well-being for those we have been called to serve.

Together we will:

  1. Provide behavioral health services and supports to referred students and their families
  2. Provide navigation and support for referring youth and their families to valuable community-based resources for long-term care through involvement and participation in ASD’s Crisis Response Team.
  3. Provide district-wide referral pathway for support and behavioral health consultation services.
  4. Provide training and behavioral health support to students, families, educators, and school staff.

What Does Success Look Like?

  • Clinicians are integrated into the academic culture.

  • Students can access mental health services at or through school.

  • Education for students and staff on behavioral health is readily available.

  • Effective collaboration and communication occurs when barriers or conflicts arise.

  • Early intervention occurs.

Guiding Principals

Trauma Informed. A trauma informed approach is used to guide policy, program development, and practice.

Climate of Well-Being. All stakeholders are unified by shared goals, with mental health and academic progress valued equally. School climate is supportive of integrated behavioral health services, which are seen as a critical and integral part of reaching academic and wellness goals.

Best Practice. Implemented strategies are evidenced-based and built on best practices that have proven to support children’s success at school. Consistent clinical models will be used across schools to allow for replication and scalability.

Integration. Behavioral health and wellness is integrated into the school climate, not seen as a separate scope, and is supported through building a collaborative partnership between school personnel and service providers.

Community Collaboration. All stakeholders cultivate and encourage collaboration with community members and partners to provide additional services as part of a coordinated service delivery system.

Identify Conflict and Seek Solutions. Partners promote an environment which seeks to find solutions for barriers and points of conflict. Partners agree to positively navigate relationships with the aim of resolving conflict when it occurs.

Together we can make a difference.

This program is supported by a CARES Act grant from the Municipality of Anchorage.