An exploration of the effects of school-based mental health services on truancy

The study explores the effects of a school-based mental and behavioral health program on the truancy rates of students at a large, comprehensive high school in Oakland, California. The study, guided by socio-ecological and systems theories, compares the number of face-to-face encounters students receive from mental or behavioral health providers to students’ attendance patterns over the course of one school year. Review of the literature shows that truancy is reaching epidemic proportions in the United States; this is especially problematic as truancy has been found to be closely connected to other delinquent behaviors and negative outcomes in life. The results of the study were consistent with previous research on the impact of mental health services on truancy. The findings show the positive effect of face-to-face encounters with mental and behavioral health providers on students’ attendance. This study lays the groundwork for further study of the impact of school and community program partnerships on student academic performance.