Giving Compass' Take:

• EdSurge interviews Douglas Gotel, Program Manager with the District of Columbia Public Schools Mental Health Team, about how social workers utilize Evidence-Based Treatment interventions to address students' mental health issues. 

• The interventions support approximately eight to eleven percent of all children in DC who show symptoms of emotional or mental health conditions. If this program is successful, how can it be replicated in other states? 

• Read about why schools need more mental health services for students. 

Douglas Gotel understands trauma and its crushing consequences; when he was 21, his 11-year-old cousin was murdered. He recalls feeling helpless watching his cousin’s mother suffer, in anguish without access to a grief therapist in the small town where they lived.

Today, Gotel approaches trauma from a clinical perspective as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Registered Play Therapist Supervisor. And as a Program Manager with the District of Columbia Public Schools Mental Health Team, he and his colleagues support the efforts of school-based social workers who deliver Evidence-Based Treatment (EBT) interventions.

The interventions support the eight to eleven percent of all children in DC who have signs, symptoms or diagnosable emotional and mental health conditions, including those related to trauma.

Here, Gotel speaks with EdSurge about the impact EBT interventions have on DCPS students. He also shares how the district uses case management technology to track these interventions, support clinicians and help assess when students need help—and when they don't.

EdSurge: Tell us about your Evidence-Based Treatment interventions.

Douglas Gotel: DCPS has 49,000 students, and more than 4,100 of those students are receiving ongoing, prescribed behavioral support services through our comprehensive service delivery model. We've been offering EBT interventions as part of that model since the 2011-2012 school year.

Our ultimate goal is to strengthen kids’ coping capacity and resilience. We also want to reduce disproportionality—where minority students (specifically, black and Latinx students in our district) are overrepresented in special education and discipline referrals.

Read the full article about using data for mental health support services by Wendy McMahon at EdSurge.