• VISION, MISSION & GOALS

    The MHS Department maintains the mission of supporting students' academic success through a variety of services, focused on their emotional, behavioral and physical wellbeing. MHS strives to increase equity across our communities, by providing school-based and community-based services. These services address physical and mental health concerns, including those related to depression, anxiety, academics, and family dynamics. Through the provision of services, we promote positive health and overall wellbeing, as well as the academic success of our students.

    DEPARTMENT HISTORY

    CONCEPTION

    In the early 1970s, the Psychological and Social Services Department (PSS) began providing on-campus mental health services. The program’s goal was improving a student’s academic achievement and wellbeing by providing positive behavioral support. Services were comprehensive and multidisciplinary, including individual/group/family counseling, crisis intervention, consultation, and training.

    In 1993, Dallas ISD and Dallas MHMR established a comprehensive school-based mental health clinic, beginning the Youth and Family Center (YFC) Program. The YFC Program was created to improve access to care and promote the physical and emotional wellbeing of children and their families. Later, in 1995, Dallas ISD and Parkland Health and Hospital System combined resources to provide cost-effective, accessible, quality physical and mental health care services.

    Following the turn of the millinium, particulalary during the years between 2007-2013, the Youth and Family Centers experienced additional growth and expansion, with several additional clinics opening across the city. Additionally, some existing programs were relocated to spaces that offered additional expansion and the ability to better serve our population.

    2020 BOND PROPOSAL

    Leading up to 2020 bond proposal, management from both YFC and PSS identified the need for more cohesive collaboration between the two departments. Recognizing the need to increase access to services, the DISD Board of Directors were proposed a major initiative to enhance the mental health services provided throughout the district. This proposal requested funding to be able to combine existing departments and increase staffing across the district, in order to continuing bridging the gap between services needed and services available within the community.

    Upon approval of the proposed plan, the DISD departments of Psychological and Social Services (PSS) and Youth and Family Center (YFC) merged to form one cohesive team in July of 2020, thus, the conception of the Mental Health Services Department. These teams focus on the whole child and assist with mental, emotional, social, and physical development to allow students to achieve educational success. Currently, stakeholders can find Licensed Mental Health Clinicians across the city, with staff covering every district campus, as well as more than 13 Youth and Family Centers available throughout Dallas communities. 

    FUTURE OF THE DEPARTMENT

    The MHS Department continues to work to identify existing needs throughout the district and plans to continue increasing access to services, throughout the city of Dallas. Department managers regularly meet with the DISD Board of Directors, to identify immediate needs of the program and is working to strength community ties, to ensure families receive the services needed to make progress. 

    HOW WE'RE DIFFERENT

    The MHS team works collaborately with other departments within DISD, including, but not limited to the Special Education, Counseling and Social Emotional Learning departments. While each department pursues the goal of providing appropriate services to help students achieve academic success, each of these departments has separate functions, to ensure this goal is met. The MHS department focuses on the provision of services (crisis intervention, short & long-term counseling, medication management, physical health, etc.) that promote healthy physical and mental health. 

    If you believe your student may need services that are unrelated or not directly related to mental or physical health, please follow up with the appropriate department: Section 504, Special Education, Dyslexia Services, Counseling, Social Emotional Learning, Homeless Education, Alcohol & Drug Intervention, Parent Advocacy & Support Services.

    EXECUTIVE & CLINICAL DIRECTORS

    Dianna Smoot

    Jennifer Reed