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Department of Psychology

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Enhancing Capacity in School Mental Health

The Enhancing Capacity in School Mental Health program (ECSMH) provides an undergraduate internship and graduate school mental health enhancement to help close the gaps in school mental health services and increase the recruitment of a well-trained school mental health workforce. The School Behavioral Health Team will recruit and train undergraduate and graduate students interested in pursuing careers in school mental health. 

The School Mental Health Undergraduate Internship is a school mental health liaison role to help connect students and families to resources provided by school mental health professionals.  

This program accepts undergraduate students who have completed at least two years of schooling and are interested in pursuing a career in school mental health (e.g., clinician, social worker, psychologist, counselor).  

Program Expectations (140 hours)  

Milestone One: Learn the roles of the school mental health team. Work with the school mental health clinician, counselor, social worker, psychologist, nurse, resource officer or other team members to promote and support school mental health. 

Milestone Two: Identify resources at the school and in the community.  

Milestone Three: Complete training with the USC team to provide appropriate mental health support to schools. 

Milestone Four: Develop materials to inform families, students and schools of the roles of the mental health team. 

Milestone Five: Conduct a needs assessment to help facilitate meeting the mental health needs of students and their family.  

Milestone Six: Interns will attend at least 20 hours of professional development (10 hours with a mental health team member and 10 hours with USC team).

This certificate program is designed to train graduate students in social work, school psychology, counseling and other mental health-related programs to develop their skills and expertise in school mental health. Students will receive added training in school mental health strategies, theories and practices that will aid them in gaining employment in the school system.  

Graduate students will take part in training and professional development opportunities in addition to their graduate program requirements. Students will participate in 16 weekly webinars on such topics as:

  • Defining roles of professionals in School Mental Health 
  • Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) 
  • Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) 
  • Consultation Skills in School Mental Health 
  • Community and family outreach 
  • Motivational interviewing and goal orientation 
  • Teaching brief coping skills to students to use in the school setting 
  • Self-Care 
  • Cultural humility in the school system 
  • Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs) 
  • School Mental Health policy to support students and families 
  • Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) 
  • LGBTQ+ in Schools 

Students must attend 50% of the trainings live. All trainings will be between 90-120 minutes and will take place on Fridays between 10 a.m. -12 p.m. 

  • To assist the undergraduate intern, school leaders will identify a primary on-site coordinator (e.g., school mental health clinician, social worker, psychologist, counselor) to assist the intern with meeting milestones and learning the school culture. 
  • The on-site coordinator will meet regularly (1-2 times monthly) with the intern and provide updates on the progress of the intern (prompted by USC team). 
  • The on-site coordinator will identify any barriers to the intern completing milestones at the outset of the internship using the Internship Agreement Form. 

The Enhancing Capacity in School Mental Health program (ECSMH) is supported by a grant provided by the BlueCross® BlueShield® of South Carolina Foundation. 

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