Opportunities for expanding school-based mental health interventions

November 16, 2022

An estimated 80% of children and youth who receive mental health services access those services in schools. Following an increase in federal funding and state support, Oklahoma schools in urban and rural districts are increasing the implementation of the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS) framework to ensure needs-based access to academic, behavioral, and mental health interventions in schools.

This report provides a brief overview of the MTSS framework and specifically its Tier 2 level of interventions, the current status of child and youth mental health in Oklahoma, and recommendations for key stakeholders to support the expansion of robust services. With Oklahoma students experiencing high rates of trauma and mental health symptoms and risk factors, targeted Tier 2 interventions anchored within a comprehensive MTSS program are crucial to the well-being of youth in our state.

Key Findings

  • Adoption of an MTSS framework has increased both nationally and in Oklahoma, driven by the model’s focus on a coordinated, preventive approach with the potential to improve student outcomes.
  • An MTSS framework for mental health supports all students, identifying and matching those in high need to the appropriate level of interventions to avoid escalation and crises.
  • As Oklahoma schools continue implementing MTSS programs, special attention should be given to developing and implementing consistent, high-quality Tier 2 early interventions for students who are at elevated risk or have emerging concerns. Innovative workforce solutions, partnerships with community organizations, and new federal funding opportunities can support these initiatives and, ultimately, Oklahoma’s students.
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