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School-Based Services

Anyone connected in some way to a school would agree a seismic disruption to a youth’s education because of childhood trauma can create gaps in learning. Oklahoma’s Systems of Care School-Based Initiatives bridge those gap to ensure youth and families have emotional support and services in local schools.

Intervention Practices in School

Oklahoma Systems of Care School-Based Initiative works with schools and local Community Mental Health Centers to:

  • Develop strategies to implement school-based behavioral health services using practice standards developing under Project AWARE (Advancing Welfare And Resilience Education) and BISS (Behavior Intervention Services and Supports).
  • Leverage access to prevention programming, early identification of behavioral health challenges, and treatment options using the Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS).
  • Increase communication between community partners and school staff to improve the quality of care for students and school systems
Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services partners with Oklahoma Evolution Foundation and Oklahoma Family Network.

Crisis Helplines

Youth Mobile Crisis: Call the crisis stabilizations line for urgent connection and support: 1-833-885-CARE

Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741 to communicate with a trained crisis counselor 24/7

Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

LGBTQ+ Helpline: 1-866-488-7386 or text START to 678678

Sexual Assault Helpline: 800-656-4673


Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education (AWARE)

Project AWARE West, East, and South are five year federal grants to increase mental health supports and services to students in the public school setting. The grants were awarded to the Oklahoma State Department of Education in partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

School staff in each AWARE district are trained in evidenced based curriculum and strategies that focus on mental and behavioral health and can be utilized in the school environment. Examples of this are Youth Mental Health First Aid and The Good Behavior Game.

Students enrolled at middle school and high school campuses in AWARE districts may qualify for a small group service named SPARCS. SPARCS is a small group for adolescents experiencing high levels of stress related to traumatic events or ongoing stressful interactions. The groups are run by school counselors, AWARE staff and providers from the local community mental health partner.

Building strong partnerships with local community mental health providers is an important part of AWARE grants. These partnerships give both the school and families a resource for mental health needs and education. The partnerships also help reduce stigma and misunderstanding about what mental health services are and how they can benefit students, their families and the community as a whole.

Behavioral Intervention Services and Supports (BISS)

BISS is the flagship school-based project for the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Systems of Care Initiative. BISS works with local school administrators (teachers, principals, and school-based counselors) to support the emotional needs of youth, and provide educators with training to encourage and promote positive classroom behavior. BISS is currently being implemented in 90 school sites across the state, with more sites being added each school year.

Learn more about our partneriship with Oklahoma State Department of Education.

Contact the School Based Services Team

Last Modified on Apr 29, 2022