The first step in getting help is to let someone at school know that a student needs additional support.

If you’re a student, check in with your school counselor or school principal, or any other trusted adult. Every student’s situation is different. Let them know that you’re worried about how you’re feeling. They can connect you with the help you need.

  • The LGBTQ National Youth Talk Line provides free, confidential peer support for people under age 25: 1-800-246-7743. 

If you’re a parent or guardian, here are some ways that you can support your child:

  • Talk to your child or teen about how they’re feeling. Reassure them that they can always talk to you if they’re struggling or feeling overwhelmed.
  • Look for signs that your child or teen is having a difficult time. 
  • If your child or teen shares with you that they are struggling, let your child’s teacher or school counselor know that your child is struggling and needs additional support. They will connect you and your child with the right support services.
  • See also these tips for parents from the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and the National PTA.

If you’re a staff member, here are some ways that you can support a student who may be struggling:

  • Be on the lookout for students who are struggling. If you recognize signs that a student is having a difficult time, reach out to them discreetly to ask how they’re feeling. 
  • Make yourself available for anyone who needs to talk. 
  • Know which staff in your school can best provide support to students in need.
  • See also “8 ways teachers can support students’ mental health during Covid-19 school returns,” from UNICEF.
  • Be mindful of your own mental health, too. Contact the City of Somerville’s Employee Assistance Program provided by New Directions Health at 800-624-5544 for information about free, confidential resources available for staff.

Schools Contact List

See also the Additional Resources page on this site.

If you feel that you or someone you know needs help right away, call 9-1-1.

Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) & Mental Health Support Services in our Schools

Programs and Structures

Bridge Program at Somerville High School: This program supports students who struggle with a variety of mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, eating issues, school phobia or other life factors such as trauma, that often require hospitalization and/or may prevent students from attending school on a regular basis. The Bridge Program provides a therapeutic environment that allows for students to slowly transition back to a full-time school day while receiving the case management, social/emotional and academic support needed. The goal is to transition students back to class as soon as possible. Some students will need this program for 2- 8 weeks and some will need it intermittently throughout a school year.

Community System at Somerville High School: Somerville High School’s four Communities are designed to meet students’ academic and social needs through a comprehensive, collaborative team approach. The focus is on practicing preventative, proactive counseling and support to help students successfully navigate the high school experience and prepare for post-secondary success.

Mediation: The Mediation Program for Somerville Public Schools provides conflict resolution services to all schools in the district. Mediation is a method of resolving differences between individuals or groups using a neutral third party who listens to both sides of the conflict to create understanding between them and explore possible solutions. Under adult supervision, student mediators who have participated in a 2-day training program, assist their peers in arriving at a mutually satisfactory agreement. The program promotes peaceful resolution of conflicts and cooperation and tolerance through group work, activities and classroom workshops. 

Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS): The Massachusetts MTSS is a framework that districts can use to build a system of practices and supports to ensure that every student has access to a high-quality learning experience. Multiple resources allow districts to meet students where they are and provide them with the supports they need to recover, stay on track, and thrive.

Restorative Justice: SPS is at the beginning phase of a 3-year rollout of restorative justice practices in classrooms. Restorative practices support healthy conflict resolution, helps develop a sense of community, facilitates productive conversation, including difficult topics, and is a trauma informed and culturally sensitive approach to discipline. Educators integrate restorative approaches in daily practice in the form of community circles, to establish a positive classroom climate and to build social and emotional skills. In the younger grades, teachers and students work in circles to build a safe space to speak, develop classroom norms, and address painful incidents in the classroom, school, or broader community.

R.I.S.P. Program at Somerville High School: The Redirect Program at SHS supports students who often feel disengaged from school and who may be struggling with mental health issues or stressors outside of school. Redirect strives to provide an affirming, supportive, and safe space in a class environment that best fits their individual schedule. A teacher/counselor oversees the program while Riverside clinical support and academic tutoring are also available to students.

Second Step: Second Step is a research-based social-emotional learning (SEL) program that SPS uses district-wide in grades PK-8. The program fosters a common language across schools that helps build strong relationships and strong communities. Second Step is based on teaching Self-Awareness, Self-Management, Social Awareness, Relationship Building, and Responsible decision-making, with lessons taught explicitly and woven in throughout the day. The SPS Counseling staff also compiles additional lessons by age group on more recent topics such as the effects of Covid-19, that educators can tap into. 

Student Support Teams (SST): Each SPS school has a Student Support Team (SST) that meets weekly to identify students in need of additional support. The team develops a plan and follow-up process for addressing those needs. Team members include the school Principal, Assistant Principal, Dean of Students or Redirect Teacher, School Counselor, Adjustment Counselor, School Nurse, District Social Worker, Supervisor of Attendance, and the embedded counselor assigned to that school.  

Therapeutic Community at Next Wave / Full Circle: Next Wave / Full Circle is an alternative therapeutic school community for students in grades 6-12 with different learning styles and needs. Each student at Next Wave / Full Circle has a three-person support team that includes their guidance counselor, teacher counselor, and a mental health clinician. Students also receive regular counseling during the day.

Counseling & Student Support Staff Positions in our Schools

There are a number of guidance, counseling, and therapeutic support staff in our schools based on the needs of each school population. The following details some of the staff supporting students' social-emotional wellness and mental health in our district.

  • Adjustment Counselors
  • Bridge Adjustment Counselor @ SHS
  • District-wide Prevention and Intervention Specialist Social Worker
  • Dean of Students
  • General Education Behaviorist
  • General Education Counselors
  • M.L.E. Adjustment Counselor
  • LGBTQIA+ Supports Counselor
  • Redirect Teacher
  • R.I.S.P. Counselor
  • School Counselors
  • School-based Social Workers
  • Special Education Adjustment Counselors
  • Special Education Tier III Behaviorist
  • K-8 Coordinator of Social Emotional Supports, Services and Programming for Special Education Students

School Embedded Counseling & Partners

Boston Children’s Hospital: Boston Children’s Hospital serves as a social emotional learning support group and provides professional development and training to SPS staff on Central American Youth Trauma and Resilience.

Cambridge Health Alliance Teen Connection @ Somerville High School: Teen Connection is a Cambridge Health Alliance center located in Somerville High School. Teen Connection provides on-site medical and mental health supports to Somerville High School students.

City of Somerville Health and Human Services: Somerville’s Health and Human Services (HHS) team is a critical partner in supporting our students and families. HHS provides clinical support, safety assessments, drug and alcohol assessments and education, professional development, and is part of our district’s crisis team.

Neighborhood Counseling & Community Services: Neighborhood Counseling offers a broad range of services that include individual, family, and group therapy as well as other services, to support individuals who may be dealing with a mental health diagnosis or who may be looking for support in finding a wellness path that meets their goals. 

Riverside Community Care: Riverside Community Care is a long-standing partner, working with students across the district as needed. Riverside provides one-on-one and group school-based counseling, mental health support and assessments for students. They also consult at SST meetings. Bilingual counselors are available. 

The Children’s Room: The Children’s Room offers grief support services to children, teens, and families. They offer peer support groups, parent groups, teen programs, and Family Nights.

Somerville HHS Supportive Services

Somerville Public Schools and Health and Human Services work closely to ensure that students and families get the support they need through a network of providers.

The Human Service Division of the City of Somerville Department of Health and Human Services is now available to take online referrals for services through a new online contact form. Referrals may be completed by individuals directly seeking services, parents or guardians, service providers or community partners. The services provided are available at no cost to Somerville residents of all ages and include:

  • Supportive counseling for individuals and families
  • Short-term/interim case management 
  • Service coordination for individuals and families
  • Information and Referral to services 
    • Including mental health services, utility and benefit assistance, workforce development, housing support, youth services, financial literacy, legal assistance, survivor services, literacy and language development, public health services, substance misuse services for youth. 
  • School consultation, support, and advocacy

If you or someone you know is interested in services you can access the online contact form here or on the Human Service Division - Support Services section of the City of Somerville website located at

HHS Human Service Division Team Members Includes: Case Manager, Clinical Youth Specialist, Social Worker, Substance Misuse Prevention Coordinator.