School Nurses and Mental Health

  1. Saw this article on NPR and it raises some interesting points I hadn't considered about this specialty. I mean.... I tend to think of you guys being responsible for physical health and student well being during school hours. When it comes to mental health- how do you suss out what is really an issue vs what is normal teen behavior in such a small window of time with students? What can you even do about it? If its not an abuse situation you can't really report it.... idk... so many questions

    School Nurses Can Be Mental Health 'Detectives' But They Need Help : NPR Ed : NPR
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    About PewpSmith, RN

    Joined: Dec '15; Posts: 38; Likes: 173
    Emergency Nurse; from US
    Specialty: Emergency

    9 Comments

  3. by   Windchaser22
    I work as part of a team for MH issues. We are fortunate to have both guidance and social workers on staff.
  4. by   Farawyn
    We can do a lot. Honestly, half the time we are the doorway to the kid getting further help.
    Listen, be accessible, refer and report. That's how we roll.
  5. by   NurseKitKat
    We do not have counselors or social workers at my school...it's just me! I try my best to help as much as I can, but do I not feel completely "qualified" for this role. I am learning as I go.
  6. by   100kids
    No guidance or social worker in my school either, but thankfully we have a School Psychologist here 1 day/week and I can reach her by phone at other times if needed. Listening is key here. Also I am in a small school so I know each kid in the building, and their family, really well. This helps a great deal.
  7. by   Farawyn
    Quote from NurseKitKat
    We do not have counselors or social workers at my school...it's just me! I try my best to help as much as I can, but do I not feel completely "qualified" for this role. I am learning as I go.
    Quote from 100kids
    No guidance or social worker in my school either, but thankfully we have a School Psychologist here 1 day/week and I can reach her by phone at other times if needed. Listening is key here. Also I am in a small school so I know each kid in the building, and their family, really well. This helps a great deal.
    Thank goodness for you both, then. Although it's not fair.

    I can't imagine a school not fully staffed with support staff. I just had a suicidal kid TODAY. Came through the Health office, but right away got the proper referrals.
  8. by   lvnforschool
    I fight this battle everyday. We have a pyschologist on staff, but the poor guy see's like 30 kids a day. There is 1 student, who just always seems to have something wrong. Teachers are too scared to call BS on him, and instead send him to me. If the student was fine the whole class and just sits down right in front of you, it's not really a medical issue. He comes up with new things everyday. This week he has discovered if he picks his nose, it bleeds. I just throw up my hands, cause he really can't stop himself. I just don't baby him, I tell him he has to suck it up and go back to class. If teachers would just take a hard stance, he would not be getting so much attention and repeatley keep faking injuries to get out of class, or get attention. It's so mentally draining dealing with him.
  9. by   MrNurse(x2)
    I have no social worker or counselor, it's me. I have less this year, as a few left, but I basically assess for threat and let them chill in my office. My school didn't have a nurse 18 months ago, so I am thankful to be here.
  10. by   bsyrn
    We are lucky to have a social worker. Once I deem the student medically fit....off they go!
  11. by   PedNephNurse
    Our nation's mental health system needs so much improvement. No matter the age, a lot of individuals lack the ability to seek help. They either don't know who to go to, what someone can do for them or the difference asking for help can make. As a nurse I'm surprised how easily someone can open up to you when they feel comfortable. I'm not a school nurse but I work with pediatrics. Your question is a great one! Sometimes it can be very difficult to know when someone needs help. Asking is the first step. If you ever wonder just say "hey, how are you doing today? Is there anything you want to talk about?". If they look at you like you're crazy it's ok lol some people aren't used to someone caring about them.

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