Ohio School Wellness Initiative

The Ohio School Wellness Initiative was designed to explore, implement, and sustain a full continuum of care including prevention, early intervention, and treatment practices for K-12 students within local districts who adopt student assistance programs, Tier II/III supports, and staff wellness frameworks.

Ohio Model Student Assistance Program (SAP)

The cornerstone of this initiative is the development of a model SAP that can serve as a best practice standard for Ohio's K-12 schools.  Schools implementing a student assistance program will benefit from:

  • evidence-based approaches to support education, prevention, early identification, evidence-based intervention, referral processes, and guided support services for K-12 students who are exhibiting a range of substance use, mental health, and behavioral health risk factors
  • resources, online training, and guidance related to school board policy, staff development, program awareness, internal referral process, problem-solving team and case management, direct services to students, cooperation and collaboration, integration with other school-based programs, program evaluation, and continuous improvement strategies

Tier II & Tier III Supports

Throughout this initiative, integrative approaches will be identified to strengthen Tier II supports (targeted supports such as social skills groups, self-management, and academic supports) and Tier III supports (intensive, individualized supports such as functional behavioral assessments and wraparound services) within the Ohio Model SAP for students experiencing substance use, mental health, and behavioral health concerns. School integrating Tier II/III supports within their SAP will benefit from:

  • best practices for early intervention and individualized, intensive intervention to address substance use, mental health, and behavioral health concerns among students
  • resources and staffing guidance for embedding Tier II/III supports within their SAP
  • partnerships with the Ohio Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports Network and state-wide prevention education training initiatives

Staff Wellness Framework

In alignment with the Ohio Whole Child Framework, a Staff Wellness Framework will be developed to promote wellness among school administrators and staff. Schools implementing the Staff Wellness Framework will benefit from:

  • best practices to support staff wellness, professional resilience, secondary trauma prevention, resiliency, self-care/self-compassion, efficacy/confidence building, and mental/physical health
  • recommendations for human resource department policies related to employee assistance programs, such as mental health days and mechanisms to support wellness and resilience
  • specific guidelines for human resources departments to support their staff who are at risk of and/or experiencing substance abuse and mental health disorders, such as depression screening, low-risk drinking guidelines

For all three components, a needs assessment and resource audit will be conducted to:

  1. Develop a crosswalk of existing initiatives, training models, and resources in the state of Ohio.
  2. Leverage existing practices and partners.
  3. Identify gaps to inform the creation and dissemination of high impact content and resources.

In approaching this work, the project team will prioritize a comprehensive and sustainable approach in which the components are aligned (when appropriate); tools, resources, training and supports on SAPs, Tier II/III supports, and staff wellness frameworks are readily available; 80 pilot schools (10 per region) representative of Ohio's diverse districts are identified to implement SAP, Tier II/III, and staff wellness action plans; and regional training, coaching, and support networks are established to provide ongoing support to school districts, community service providers, and students/families.

Crucial to the success of this project, Miami University will partner collaboratively with education and mental health professionals throughout the state to establish regional networks of support for school districts as they implement and sustain the three components