Advocacy: School

School Advocacy


Mood Disorders, Bipolar, and Fear of Harm impact learning and require specific accommodations for school success.



Ideally, school is a place for learning, academic achievement, social exploration, and development. But for kids with mood disorders, bipolar, and Fear of Harm the school environment can often be downright traumatizing. In fact, many kids with these disorders spend a portion of elementary and high school  homeschooled rather than enduring the insurmountable anxiety that can accompany school attendance. 


For parents, these years are no less stressful. The burden of school refusal, meltdowns over homework, calls from the school during your workday, and confusion over how to make sure your child’s needs are met at school exhausts parents and caregivers.


Partnering with your school district often isn’t as easy as it should be. Parents and caregivers are frequently expected to educate teachers, school staff, and administrators on what will help their children find success in school. Parents find themselves having to be caregivers, therapists, educators, and mental health experts all rolled into one, which is awfully hard to do under the best of circumstances, let alone when you’re so overwhelmed.


Failure to devise IEP and 504 plans that take your child’s needs into account can escalate tension between your child and their teachers, you and your child, and between your family and the school. Worse, it can cause your child to miss out on essential learning and development and damage their self-esteem and self-confidence.


CMHRC Is Here To Help


Every child deserves a learning environment that encourages their success. For those with a mood disorder, bipolar, or Fear of Harm diagnosis that involves accommodations that grant them access to their education. Your child also deserve to be assessed and have their goals measured appropriately and according to the limitations their diagnosis imposes. 


CMHRC’s school advocacy resources provide support to parents and caregivers as they struggle through the complicated process of requesting assessments, developing a practical and useful IEP and/or 504 plan interventions, and putting those plans into action at school. CMHRC provides guidance, education, and support from an experienced mental health professional who is an expert in these diagnoses and how they manifest in childhood.


What We Offer


CMHRC’s school advocacy program provides integrated advocacy and education services designed to support the child, the family, and the school at highly competitive rates. 


For a flat fee of $1,500 families have access for 1 full year to their assigned mental health advocate (MHA) in order to:

  • Plan for meetings with the school;
  • Develop realistic goals for their child’s school day;
  • Understand intervention strategies;
  • Build cooperative communication tools to share with the school; and
  • Have your questions answered. 


As a direct support to both the family and the school, your assigned MHA will:

  • Virtually attend IEP and 504 plan meetings with you and the school.
  • Meet individually with SPED staff to facilitate the productive use of home-to-school communication tools.
  • Provide resources and education to school staff regarding:
    • Your child’s mental health diagnosis;
    • Its symptoms;
    • How they present at school;
    • How they present at home;
    • The impact they have on your child; and
    • The impact they have on your child’s school day. 


Most importantly, your MHA will provide:

  • Context to understand symptom driven behaviors seen at school; and
  • Provide suggested accommodations and interventions that will help to manage them more effectively at school.


Remember… You Don’t Have To Do This Alone

A full week of school – not one call or email from the school. This is a first.

-DM, parent of a child with bipolar and Fear of Harm



CMHRC is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The fees charged for our programs and services are kept at below market rates because we believe that good quality mental healthcare support should be available to as many people as possible. 


Charitable giving supplements the cost of running our programs and services and provides funding for our free resources, supports, and educational efforts.