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Mental and Behavioral Health

  • Promoting Student Engagement, Learning, Wellbeing and Safety During Remote and Hybrid Learning (Winter 2020) Download Word Document: The Department is providing this document for districts to use to continue to engage with students and their families, and to connect students and families with additional supports they may need during remote and hybrid learning. The document compiles excerpts of previously released as well as new Department guidance, resources, and recommendations.

  • Creating Positive Learning Environments: Recommendations and Resources to Support the Social Emotional Well-being of Students, Staff, and Families (Summer 2020) Download Word Document: The Department is providing this resource to help districts and schools support the social emotional well-being of students, staff, and families. This document is intended to complement the reopening guidance. It includes a series of recommendations and sample resources to support planning and implementation, and builds upon related guidance offered this Spring (below).

  • Guidance on Behavioral and Mental Health Services During School Closures (Spring 2020): The Department has developed guidance for school counselors, psychologists, and other specialized instructional support personnel involved in providing school-based behavioral and mental health supports and services during the COVID-19 school closures Download Word Document (download). This document provides recommendations and resources.

  • To learn about opportunities as they arise this year, related to strengthening comprehensive school mental health systems (e.g., professional learning or resources available), use this online interest form.

  • MA Tools for Schools is a clearinghouse from the Department of resources to support sustainable school improvement in Massachusetts. The MA Tools for Schools COVID-19 Resources page contains links to local and national resources for implementing multi-tiered systems of supports during this time, including slides and links mentioned on recent webinars such as "Supporting Students' Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Mental Health Needs in the COVID-19 Era Webinar" held on March 31 and April 9, and the "Establishing District-Wide Systems to Support the Mental Health Needs of Students and Educators during COVID-19 Webinar" held on April 17 and 24, and the "Building Systems to Support the Whole Child Amid COVID-19 Webinar" on June 9.

  • DESE-SEL Newsletter periodically shares updates and offerings related to holistic supports & enrichment, including efforts to help strengthen social emotional competencies, health & safety. The April 15, May 15 and June 5, 2020 Newsletter editions have been released during school closures associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. The August, September, October, and December 2020 Newsletter editions are also now available. They include a sampling of Department offerings and other information designed to help bolster efforts to support student, staff, and family well-being and safety, alongside implementation of new modes of teaching and learning. You may sign-up online for this and other Department newsletters.

Last Updated: January 6, 2021

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Helene Bettencourt
Associate Commissioner
Phone: 781-338-3120

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Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
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