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Mental Health in Urban Public Schools

Megan Yeager (August, 2021)


Many urban public schools serve marginalized Black and brown students, and these schools rarely have the resources to fully support the mental health and well-being of these children. Programs that attempt to improve mental health services come and go, but systemic change is a pipe dream in many urban centers. While some cities such as Washington D.C. have been innovative in their approach to mental health, there is still a long way to go on the road to effective mental health policy in school settings. Using the work of researchers who have been designing mental health interventions across the country, policy solutions are closer than ever to being a reality. In this paper, I will discuss the mental health challenges faced by marginalized students and the existing programs and supports schools use to address these issues. I will then focus on Washington D.C. as a case study of a school district in the process of implementing changes to better the mental health and well-being of their students. After reviewing several proposed interventions, I will conclude by discussing a policy change that would support the mental health of students.

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