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What are Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS)?

What are Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS)?

Educationally Related Mental Health Services (ERMHS) are provided after assessments have determined that ERMHS are needed to support academic progress pursuant to an IEP. The purpose of ERMHS is to support adjustments related to education and academic functioning when educationally related mental health services have been deemed necessary for a student to benefit from his or her education. When ERMHS are added to a student’s IEP, the student may receive counseling and guidance or individual counseling, or both, depending upon team determination and based on need. These supports can at times help with increased academic performance and engagement in academic activities, improved attendance, and fewer disruptions of the learning environment.
  • Counseling and Guidance: Provided by EGUSD staff pursuant to an IEP. May include educational and personal counseling in a one-to-one and/or group setting.
  • Individual Counseling: Provided by EGUSD staff pursuant to an IEP. Therapeutic interventions will be provided to promote academic functioning.

What is an IEP?

An IEP is an Individualized Education Plan created through a team effort to improve educational results for children who qualify for special education services. The team is comprised of parents, the student when appropriate, at least one general education/special education teacher of the child, school administrator, and other individuals with special expertise regarding the child which may include related service providers.

How is an initial referral made?

  • If a student exhibits social, emotional, and/or behavioral concerns that begin to impact his or her ability to benefit from his or her special education, the site should attempt interventions prior to making a referral for an educationally related mental health services (ERMHS) assessment. Various interventions that will be employed prior to the referral include:
    Behavior contract, individual instructional supports, positive behavioral supports, motivational systems, social support, active supervision/monitoring, counseling and guidance, services by site school psychologist, general social skills training, guidance programs, (bullying prevention, safe and drug-free schools), teaching school rules and behavior expectations, changes in class schedule/staff, parent conferences, firm, fair and corrective disciplining, home/school communication, group therapy, and environmental supports.
  • If the behavioral interventions implemented do not appear to reduce the social, emotional, and/or behavioral concerns to the extent that the student could benefit from his or her special education, then the school site psychologist will make a referral.
  • The referral will consist of a summary of pre-referral activities (including the frequency, duration, start date, IEP containing the services, the effect of the intervention). Copies of relevant student records, including: current psycho-educational assessment, any other relevant assessment, attendance and discipline records if notable.
    The designated ERMHS school psychologist will contact the referring school psychologist within 5 days of receiving the referral packet to begin the collaborative assessment process.
  • Upon the completion of the mental health assessment, the student’s IEP team will convene within 60 days to discuss the assessment results and any need to amend the student’s IEP to include educationally related mental health services.

What happens during the assessment process?

The school psychologist will gather information regarding the student’s strengths, challenges, developmental history, school history, and how that relates to current educational functioning. Information from school records, health care providers, previous mental health providers, and educational staff will also be incorporated.
The school psychologist will complete an assessment and prepare a written report to be presented and reviewed at an IEP meeting.
Any agreed upon recommendation made by the IEP team will be implemented and the district will coordinate provision of services recommended by the IEP team.
The assessment and services provided are school related, and are therefore, free of charge to the student. The student will receive educationally related mental health services in the least restrictive environment to benefit from his/her special education plan.

What types of services may be provided through ERMHS?

  • Consultation with educators and parents regarding child development, academic performance, and social skills.
  • Training in problem solving and coping skills
  • Individual counseling
  • Group Counseling
  • Behavior Support Plans (BSP) Crisis Prevention and Intervention
  • Coordination of community services and resources

Who provides ERMHS?

The Elk Grove Unified School District employs school psychologists and mental health therapists to provide a range of mental health supports to students. ERMHS professionals are trained according to stringent professional criteria. In addition, these professionals must abide by their own professional and ethical standards that guide the provision of services to students and their parents. These professionals can only provide services within the scope of their training and experiences.

What happens after a student has been identified as an ERMHS student?

The ERMHS provider will meet with the student to provide ERMHS in the school setting. The provider will meet with a site administrator to determine the best location on campus for individual meetings. The provider will be flexible regarding the student’s availability during the academic day.

Why contact the ERMHS provider?

Teachers and other school personnel are often in a position to observe changes in a student’s behaviors that may be a cause for concern. Some behaviors that may indicate a call to the provider: skipping school or missing classes, difficulty in getting along with family or friends, mood swings or often appearing “down”, changes in dress or appearance, a decline in grades, often preferring to be alone, not sleeping or sleeping too much, talking about death or hurting oneself, others, or animals, loss of interest in activities/hobbies, frequently irritability or anger, use of alcohol or drugs, and change in eating habits.

How do you communicate with the ERMHS provider?

The ERMHS office can be reached at (916) 681-7581 from 8 AM to 4 PM. The designated provider will return the call at their earliest availability. If a mental health emergency arises, please call 911.

Disability Categories*

  • Specific Learning Disability (SLD): Average to above average intelligence with a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological process.
  • Speech or Language Impairment: Exhibits a communication disorder, such as stuttering, impaired articulation, a receptive and/or expressive language disorder.
  • Autism Like: A developmental disability that can affect the verbal/nonverbal communication, social interaction, and can have a negative effect on the child’s education.
  • Emotional Disturbance (ED): Individuals With Disabilities Act (IDEA) defines emotional disturbance as follows: “…a condition exhibiting one or more of the following characteristics over a long period of time and to a marked degree that adversely affects a child’s educational performance:
    • An inability to learn that cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors.
    • An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers.
    • Inappropriate types of behavior or feelings under normal circumstances.
    • A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression.
    • A tendency to develop physical symptoms of fears associated with personal or school problems.”
  • Cognitive Intellectual Disability: Defined as significantly below average general functioning, with challenges in adaptive behavior.
  • Other Health Impaired (OHI): The child exhibits limited strength, alertness, due to chronic or acute health problems, including but not limited to asthma, cancer, diabetes.
  • Orthopedic Impairment: Displays severe impairments that are the result of congenital anomaly, developmental, or other causes (such as CP).
  • Multiple Disabilities: The child exhibits two or more severe disabilities, one of which is intellectual disability.
  • Hearing Impairment: Exhibits a hearing loss that is permanent or fluctuating.
  • Visual Impairment: Impairment is such that educational potential cannot be fulfilled without special services and materials.
  • Deafness: Residual hearing is severely impaired in processing the spoken word.
  • Traumatic Brain Injury: The child has an injury to their brain resulting in total or partial functional disability.
  • Deaf-Blindness: Child has both hearing and visual disabilities.
*Categories are listed in order of frequency in CA

Common Language and Acronyms

ADD – Attention Deficit Disorder
ADHD – Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
BSP – Behavior Support Plan
ED – Emotional Disturbance
FAPE – Free and Appropriate Public Education
GE – Grade Equivalent
IDEA – Individuals with Disabilities Act
IEP – Individualized Education Plan
ILS – Independent Living Skills
LEA – Local Education Agency
LD – Learning Disability
LRE – Least Restrictive Environment (educational)
RTI – Response to Intervention
SST – Student Study Team
ID – Intellectual Disability