Maryland School Mental Health Response Program (MD-SMHRP)

The mission of the Maryland School Mental Health Response Program (MD-SMHRP) is to support, enrich, and enhance, not replace the work of site-based student services personnel.

Program Overview

In these past few years, school communities across the state of Maryland have been impacted by new and growing mental health concerns. For this reason, the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) has developed the Maryland School Mental Health Response Program to provide timely consultation and support to school systems to address student and family mental health concerns. The Maryland School Mental Health Response Program consists of six components – the Maryland School Mental Health Team, an expansion of current programs, an electronic/web-based hub, research and evaluation, strategies to provide sustainability, and partnerships with community mental health agencies.

This program provides school and district leadership with direct access to the Maryland School Mental Health Response Team. The program’s mission is to support, enrich, and enhance, not replace, the work of site-based student support services personnel (school psychologists, school counselors, pupil personnel workers, school social workers, and school nurses). The team provides professional support and consultation services, develops a learning community of practice, and offers training and professional development opportunities for schools and LEAs regarding current mental and behavioral health concerns.

2023-2024 Learning Community

Learning Community sessions will be a series of nine 60-minute Zoom meetings with an introduction and welcome; ~45 minutes of facilitated presentation and discussion by local school district leaders to share successes, challenges, and resources related to each topic; and ~10 minutes of presentation by leaders from the Maryland State Department of Education and the National Center for School Mental Health. We encourage participation by district leaders and teams engaged in supporting student well-being and school mental health efforts.

  1. Addressing Substance Use in Schools (September 13, 2023)

    Students’ use of and exposure to others’ use of tobacco products and electronic smoking devices, alcohol, marijuana, and other drugs are major concerns for schools and communities. This session will focus on increasing knowledge and access to student substance use prevention and intervention supports and services. Presenters will share best practices including support for identifying and referring students with substance use concerns and strategies to support students who have been exposed to adversity and distress, including substance use stressors.

  2. Positive and Restorative Approaches to Discipline (October 11, 2023)

    Punitive discipline practices may neglect root causes of students’ behavior, leading to negative impacts on well-being and academic success. This session will focus on how the use of restorative practices, a diverse and multi-tiered set of classroom and school-based strategies, can improve school climate, offer an alternative to exclusionary discipline, and help students and communities heal from harm and/or trauma. Presenters will share successes, challenges, and resources regarding implementing positive and restorative approaches to discipline in their district.

  3. Supporting Student Transition to/from Inpatient Hospitalization (November 8, 2023)

    Supporting students’ transition to or from inpatient hospitalization ensures continuity of care, promoting students’ mental health and academic success. This session will cover critical topics including suicidal ideation assessment, crisis protocol development, provider collaboration, reintegration planning, and family engagement. Presenters will share successes and challenges in implementing targeted interventions, fostering a supportive environment, and addressing potential challenges to seamless transitions.

  4. Tier II Implementation (December 13, 2023)

    Implementing early intervention services and supports for students with mild distress or at risk for additional concerns (Tier II) may pose a greater challenge than promoting mental health for all (Tier I) or treating students’ significant distress and impaired functioning (Tier III). This session will review best practices for identifying, staffing, implementing, and funding Tier II services and supports and provide Tier II intervention resources. Presenters will share their experiences implementing Tier II services and supports, including utilization of specific interventions.

  5. Supporting Cultural & Racial Equity in School Mental Health (January 10, 2024)

    Supporting cultural and racial equity in school mental health improves student well-being and fosters an inclusive environment. This session will provide actionable steps to assess and address biases and historical disparities, enhance cultural humility, and identify resources for diverse populations. Presenters will share how they address social injustices in their communities and create safe, supportive learning environments for all students.

  6. Managing Behavioral Health Crises (February 14, 2024)

    Increases in student behavioral health crises remain a concern for school systems in Marland and across the nation. This session will focus on the use of culturally-responsive and trauma-informed crisis response systems and crisis intervention, management, assessment, and prevention tools. Presenters will review crisis response and prevention successes, challenges, and strategies including topics related to school staff training and community partnership in crisis response.

  7. Funding School Mental Health (March 13, 2024)

    Best practices in school mental health funding and sustainability include braiding a variety of funding pathways, maximizing reimbursement opportunities, retaining school mental health staff, and maximizing community partnerships. This session will review available funding mechanisms and strategies to implement funding best practices. Presenters will share their successes and challenges in obtaining funding, supporting students regardless of insurance type or status, and accessing community resources to supplement school and district capacity.

  8. Behavioral Threat Assessments (April 10, 2024)

    Maryland’s Model Policy for Behavior Threat Assessment provides guidelines for implementing behavioral threat assessments in Maryland public schools. However, local environments may influence best practices and student and community outcomes. This session will address behavioral threat assessment implementation considerations such as team development, equity, family and community engagement, information sharing, follow up, and safety planning, Presenters will discuss how threat assessments fit into their larger comprehensive school safety efforts and their implementation successes and challenges.

  9. What Worked and Where We Are Going: Reflecting on School Mental Health Successes and Planning for Next Year (May 8, 2024)
    This session will highlight districts’ past-year school mental health successes including ways that the Maryland School Mental Health Response Program (MD-SMHRP) has supported, enriched, or enhanced hard-earned school mental health wins! District leaders will discuss how their use of MD-SMHRP supports and other strategies contributed to school continuous improvement efforts, positive outcomes for their district, and strategic and action planning for next year.

Local and National Suicide Prevention Hotlines

Dial: 988

1-800-273-TALK (8255)


Mike Muempfer
Director, Maryland School Mental Health Response Program

Office: (410) 767-0481

Training and Professional Developoment Menu

Training and professional development topics are available from the MD-SMHRP in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH:

Maryland School Mental Health Response Program Resource Guide

This Resource Guide was developed by the Maryland School Mental Health Response Program (MD-SMHRP) in partnership with the National Center for School Mental Health, University of Maryland School of Medicine. Resources included in the MD-SMHRP Resource Guide are reflective of Maryland-specific school mental health system support requests. The Guide includes a comprehensive, but not exhaustive, list of evidence-informed, best-practice resources and organizations to support school mental health efforts across Maryland.

Learning Community for Maryland LEA Leaders

CDC Releases Comprehensive School Mental Health Action Guide

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a school mental health action guide to provide K‑12 schools with actionable strategies to help improve the mental health of their students. The action guide describes six proven in-school strategies to promote and support mental health and well-being. The guide also describes specific approaches to put each strategy into action and examples of evidence-based policies, programs and practices.

Administration for Children and Families Releases New Resources on Behavioral Health for Young Adults, Families, and Professionals

ACF has been working in partnership with young people, parents, and caregivers to design and develop new behavioral health resources, including a mental health video series, an enhanced behavioral health webpage with resources for different audiences, and a tip sheet for parents and caregivers developed by young people. You can read the blog post and find links to the resources.