Importance of Teacher-Psych Collaboration for Mood Disorders

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.

 

Reference

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.

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