Identifying Data Sources

Identifying the right data sources involves pinpointing reliable and relevant information streams that can offer insights into the mental health needs, trends, and outcomes within a school community. By leveraging diverse data sources (e.g., including surveys, health records, academic performance metrics, feedback from students, parents, and educators) schools can gain a comprehensive understanding of the mental health landscape to: 

  • Inform the design of targeted interventions
  • Enable ongoing monitoring and evaluation of program effectiveness
  • Empower school communities to create more responsive, impactful, and sustainable mental health initiatives that are tailored to the unique needs of their student populations.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The School Health Profiles (Profiles) is a system of surveys assessing school health policies and practices in states, large urban school districts, and territories. Profiles surveys are conducted biennially by education and health agencies among middle and high school principals and lead health education teachers.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) measures health-related behaviors and experiences that can lead to death and disability among youth and adults. Results help monitor health trends, identify emerging issues, and plan and evaluate programs that can help improve adolescent health.

Developed by the Hopeful Futures Campaign

This report summarizes state policies that support school mental health. The policies fall into eight categories ‚Äď school mental health professionals; school-family-community partnerships; teacher and staff training; funding supports; well-being checks; healthy school climate; skills for life success; and mental health education.

Developed by Mental Health America

This report summarizes the most up-to-date data and information about disparities faced by individuals with mental health challenges.

Developed by the What Works Clearinghouse

This database includes filterable and downloadable datasets, including targeted data from intervention reports, studies, and findings. 

Developed by the Health Resources and Services Administration’s Maternal and Child Health Bureau (HRSA MCHB)

Here you will find an annual publication of the Child Health USA Databook – a survey providing national and state-level data for key indicators of child health and well-being.

Assessment and Screening

Assessment and screening are foundational to ensuring decision-making is data-informed. Regular and thoughtful assessment and screening serve as essential tools for early identification and intervention of students’ mental health needs that help educators and mental health professionals in detecting emotional, behavioral, and social challenges a child may face and ensuring they are connected to timely and appropriate interventions, tailored to the individual student‚Äôs needs. These processes also contribute to destigmatizing mental health issues and encouraging a culture of openness and understanding within the school community.

Creating a safe and supportive school environment also requires the assessment of policies, systems, and environments related to staff and student well-being and to inform measurable and sustainable action plans. 

Developed by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH)

The SHAPE Screening and Assessment Library is a free database designed to assist schools and districts in selecting and implementing effective mental health screening and assessment tools. This comprehensive library offers a curated collection of evidence-based instruments that are specifically tailored to evaluate students’ mental health and emotional well-being ‚Ästfrom broad screenings aimed at identifying potential mental health concerns to more detailed assessments for diagnosing specific issues.

This tool is a part of the School Health Assessment and Performance Evaluation (SHAPE) System ‚Ästa public-access, web-based platform that offers schools, districts, and states/territories a workspace and targeted resources to support school mental health quality improvement.

Developed by the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH)

This guide provides background information, strategy recommendations, best practices, examples from the field, and more for mental health screening and assessment in schools. 

Developed by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The RISE Index is a free assessment tool that school and district leadership teams can use to evaluate their current policies, practices, systems, and environments through the lens of student and staff resilience.

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The School Health Index (SHI) is an online self-evaluation and planning tool for schools. The SHI is built on CDC’s research-based guidelines for school health programs that identify the policies and practices most likely to be effective in reducing youth health risk behaviors.

Trauma ScreenTIME 

Developed by the Child Health and Development Institute

The ScreenTIME courses provide staff in child-serving systems with best practices for trauma screening.

LGBTQ Inclusivity in Schools: A Self-Assessment Tool

Developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

This tool assists schools and districts in addressing the health and academic needs of LGBTQ students by helping school and district staff understand current policies, programs, and practices that may contribute to safe, inclusive environments where all youth can be successful.


Contextualizing Data Across Populations

Contextualizing data across populations is essential for the effectiveness and equity of school-based mental health, as it ensures that mental health services are inclusive, relevant, and responsive to the needs of all students. It helps to: 

  • Enhance Inclusivity and Equity: Adapts mental health interventions to meet the needs of diverse student backgrounds, ensuring equitable care and attention to each student’s unique needs.
  • Assess the Effectiveness of Interventions: Improves the impact of mental health initiatives by aligning interventions with the cultural and social contexts of students to enhance engagement and outcomes.
  • Identify Systemic Issues: Contextualized data helps in uncovering systemic disparities and implement targeted strategies to overcome these challenges and promote a healthier, more supportive environment.

Developed by Illuminate Education

This resource provides a process and resources to learn how to use data to identify and support the Tier 1 social, emotional, and behavioral needs of all students and align effective, targeted Tier 2 and 3 SEB interventions for students most in need.

Developed by Illuminate Education

This workbook helps data-driven teams practice viewing whole child data through various lenses to identify patterns and trends among groups of students. It includes worksheets for attendance, behavior incidents, and then assessment data.

Developed by the National Forum on Education Statistics

This guide is intended to identify some of the overarching benefits and challenges involved in data disaggregation; recommend appropriate practices for disaggregating racial/ethnic data in districts and states; and describe real-world examples of large and small education agencies disaggregating racial/ethnic data successfully.

Developed by various authors

This blueprint describes a framework and multistep process to reduce disparities and disproportionality in your community or state. The steps are (1) readiness, (2) community engagement, (3) identification, (4) assessment, (5) intervention, (6) evaluation/continuous quality improvement, (7) replication, and (8) sustainability.

Developed by the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

Establish Norms for Data-Informed Conversations

This resources outlines strategies to establish a space for safe and productive collaboration and recommended norms to ensure that conversations that relate to data are inclusive and result in concrete next steps.

Careers at NACDD

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