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Wellness Counselor talking to student in office

Mental health and wellness a priority for SFUSD

05/24/19

Across the country, Mental Health Awareness Month is recognized in May. For students within the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD), mental health and wellness is a priority year-round.

As part of the Student, Family and Community Support Department (SFCSD), School Health Programs offers a number of resources to students to support student wellness and mental health. This support is rooted in accomplishing three goals:

  1. Access & Equity: Making social justice a reality

  2. Student Achievement: Engage high achieving and joyful learners

  3. Accountability: Keep our promises to students and their families

Most students face personal challenges at school or at home at some point, and our school staff and community agencies who work with our schools are there to help.

We have school nurses and social workers at every school and all of our high schools have Wellness Centers. In fact, SFUSD’s ratio of social workers and nurses to students is smaller than the state average. SFUSD has one social worker or nurse for every 326 students, whereas statewide there is one social worker or nurse for every 1,859 students.

Elementary school students jumping on school yard

School social workers are dedicated to addressing barriers to student success in addition to enhancing the social and emotional growth and academic outcomes for all students. This is done through school-focused case management for individual students and families, small group counseling, individual 1-on-1 support, and trauma informed teacher consultations for positive classroom climate and student support.

For high school students, ensuring students are aware of the wellness services available to them and how they can access them is crucial. Schoolwide and classroom-based outreach and education helps increase comfort and reduce stigma of accessing services. A constellation of group-based and one-to-one wellness services provides intensive support to students who have experienced or are currently experiencing negative academic, social and health outcomes.

“Our students bring all the complexity of their lives when they arrive at school,” said Kevin Gogin, Director of Safety and Wellness for School Health Programs. “Providing mental health supports acknowledges this. Moreover, it helps them address the challenges of growing up in an urban environment. This is one way we can help them be safe, and healthy, ready to learn, and ready to be partners in the 21st century world.”

The SFCSD is dedicated to supporting San Francisco youth and families, through building school capacity to address student needs, and working to achieve District-wide academic goals. Through its programs, services and curricula, SFCSD seeks to increase student achievement, and pro-social student behaviors so all students can become high achieving and joyful learners.

High school students pose for photo in library

To learn more about the SFCSD and all student wellness support and resources available, visit: https://www.healthiersf.org.