Mocinic & Feresin (2012) published a brief paper on the importance of teacher and school psychologist collaboration in assisting primary school students with mood disorders. Teachers are in a valuable position to recognize disorders in children and should be the first point of contact in regards to their classroom behavior and potential symptoms for mood or behavioral disorders. If a teacher is noticing some symptoms that are out of the ordinary for a student, it is important to note these concerns to an parent, administrator, and/or the school psychologist through a referral.
According to this article, some teachers may not be aware that a school psychologist could potentially assist with these situations. Though it is true that we are not psychotherapists, school psychologists have training in mental disorders and can be a valuable first step for connecting a student or parent to community-based resources, or as a triage step if they cannot receive outside services.
The authors recommend a universal screening process and referral of students who score highly for further evaluation and follow-up. Then, a treatment plan can be implemented through collaboration with the psychologist, teacher, parents, and any outside providers or involved individuals. The article also mentions a few simple steps for facilitating this collaboration, including:
- Involving the teacher in therapy if possible and helpful
- Providing a supportive environment in the classroom
- Helping create positive peer connections
- Continuing to report any changes or successes visible in the classroom
- Regularly meeting as part of a multidisciplinary mental health team
These tips can be applied to most student observations, and facilitating a positive relationship between teachers and the school psychologist (e.g. through the previous post’s advice) can lead to increased outcomes for the students in our schools at any ages.
Mocinic, S. & Feresin, C. (2012). The importance of collaboration between teachers and school psychologists in helping primary schoolchildren to cope with mood disorders. Occasional Papers in Education & Lifelong Learning: An International Journal Volume 6, Nos. 1—2, 2012, pp. 98—108 . Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/237077708_The_importance_of_collaboration_between_teachers_and_school_psychologists_in_helping_primary_schoolchildren_to_cope_with_mood_disorders.