Tier Two: Targeted, at-risk
Targeted interventions (Tier 2) are geared toward students at risk of mental health or behavior problems. Students at this level are generally not identified as needing special education and/or mental health services and may include children with mild mental disorders, ADHD, and those living in stressful home environments. Children with physical or developmental disabilities might struggle with low self-esteem or the stress associated with having a disability. In addition, all children are likely at some point in their lives to struggle with situational stressors such as friendship issues, bullying, parental divorce, the death of a family member, or academic challenges, to name a few. During such times, character strengths, coping strategies, participation in enjoyable activities, and environmental supports can serve as important "buffers" in the prevention of mental illness. General education students demonstrating behavioral or learning difficulties because of such mental health conditions may be provided "coordinated early intervention services," even if special education is not needed (IDEA) or accommodations under Section 504 for enhancing school functioning. At this level, close collaboration among all school personnel and mental health providers to develop and co-facilitate targeted interventions is essential.
What you can do? Be observant! Learn about early signs of a variety of mental illnesses and mental health problems (e.g., depression, anxiety, obsessive–compulsive disorder, schizophrenia) and how such symptoms might manifest themselves in school settings. Modify learning demands and academic routines to foster successful participation and promote positive psychological functioning (e.g., breaking down school assignments and giving one part at a time to minimize anxiety; teaching relaxation strategies). Use the following fact sheets to help you out:
- Minnesota Association for Children’s Mental Health Fact Sheets at http://www.macmh.org/publications/fact_sheets/fact_sheets.php
- American Occupational Therapy Association’s (AOTA) School Mental Health toolkit at http://www.aota.org/practice/children-youth/mental%20health/school-mental-health.aspx