Transforming School Mental Health Services Based on a Culturally Responsible Dual-Factor Model

Philip J. Lazarus
Beth Doll
Samuel Y. Song
Kisha Radliff


In this article the authors advocate for a culturally responsible dual-factor model for the delivery of mental health services in the schools. This case is made because too many children are not receiving the mental health care they need in order to succeed in school and life. This is especially true for Black, Indigenous, children of color, and other minoritized youth. This transformative approach will require a dramatic change in how school psychological services are currently being delivered. The culturally responsible dual-factor model places a much greater emphasis on psychological well-being (as opposed to psychopathology), unwavering attention to rectifying discriminatory disparities in school mental health practices, an emphasis on population-based over individually focused mental health services, and a commitment to ensuring access for all children—not just those who are receiving special education services or 504 accommodations. This model is proactive and prevention oriented and focuses on equity. The case is presented that we continue to have a mental health crisis in today’s youth with an increase in anxiety and depression. The authors conclude the article with implications for school psychology training, public policy and advocacy, and school-based practice. Impact Statement The culturally responsible dual-factor mental health framework is a transformative approach to school mental health services that is needed to address the nation’s mental health crisis. It is needed because traditional approaches, models, and practices have been too narrow and, thus, continue to fail for diverse and minoritized children, families, and schools. A culturally responsible dual-factor mental health approach expands traditional approaches by emphasizing well-being, cultural strengths of minoritized communities, accessibility of services, and systems and structures (e.g., racism) that contribute to discrimination and disparities in mental health services.