Chesterfield County Public Schools’ approach to supporting student mental health is preventive and responsive and focuses on partnering with students, families, educators and community resources to maximize student safety and adjustment. Our Mental Health Support Services team includes elementary, middle and high school mental health support specialists who collaborate with school-based personnel to provide training to educators about signs of psychological distress and how to assess threats of harm to self or others. They facilitate our seventh- and 10th-grade Signs of Suicide prevention program in partnership with school counselors, school social workers, school psychologists and Chesterfield County Prevention Services professionals. Additionally, Chesterfield County Public Schools partners with county, regional and state mental health service providers to help families access mental health support services for students in need.
Chesterfield County Public Schools also uses Gaggle, an online tool that scans documents written by students in the school-based G-Suite account on their Chromebooks. If students write or share something that suggests a mental health or safety concern related to self or others, engages in bullying behavior or uploads inappropriate content to their Google Drive, Gaggle sends an alert to schools and the Mental Health Support Services team for assessment and response. During school days, the school-based administrative and counseling team reviews documents and meets with students to assess concerns and collaborates with students and their parents to address alerts and offer resources. After school hours, parents are notified of alerts and resources for mental health or community support by our mental health support interventionists who are on call to respond to alerts about student mental health and safety as quickly as possible. This information is shared with parents immediately with a focus on rapidly securing student safety and well-being. If a student is in risk of imminent harm and parents cannot be reached, law enforcement will be contacted to make a safety check at the home.