Date of Submission


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


School Psychology

Department Chair

Jessica Kendorski, Ph.D.

First Advisor

George McCloskey, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Richard Allen, Psy.D.

Third Advisor

Ryan Murphy, Psy.D.


This study examined the perspectives of school guidance counselors to determine current and best practices in planning and supporting student returns to school after absences for mental health reasons. The literature review highlights the sharp decline in adolescent mental health over the years, the rise in hospitalizations for mental health concerns, and the need for attention to school practices that support student mental health when a student requires hospitalization. The intent of this study was to build upon previous literature that examined practices existing in schools to help reintegrate students after absences. It sought to investigate whether schools have a set procedure, or a protocol, to help guide the planning process. It also sought to obtain perspective on aspects of planning that respondents believed were essential in the planning process to begin to provide a framework for the development of a formal protocol. Counselors at the middle and high school level in public schools and public charter schools were the target audience surveyed. Responses indicated that most guidance counselors believe a protocol should exist and would be helpful in planning. Responses helped to define several aspects of planning that guidance counselors agreed are essential in considering when helping a student return to school.