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School Mental Health: Role of the SAMHSA and Factors Affecting Service Provision

The U.S. Surgeon General reported in 1999 that about one in five children in the United States suffers from a mental health problem that could impair their ability to function at school or in the community. Yet many children receive no mental health services. While many of the existing mental health services for children are provided in schools, the extent and manner of school mental health service delivery vary across the country and within school districts. Federally led initiatives have identified schools as a potentially promising location for beginning to address the mental health needs of children.

This report from the Government Accountability Office describes:

  1. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's coordination with other federal departments and agencies to support mental health services in schools

  2. the efforts SAMHSA has made to identify and support evidence-based school mental health services and best practices for service delivery, and

  3. factors that affect the provision of mental health services in schools.