Mental health services are emerging rapidly in schools to address a wide range of trauma exposure that impacts the daily lives of students. While traditional clinical providers have a long-standing practice of professional self-care, this is an unfamiliar territory for educators. Treating student trauma can evoke adverse reactions and high levels of stress by the instructional staff; school psychologists are uniquely qualified to provide leadership, training and supports for educators.
Richard Kleindienst, worked in the field of special education for the past 36 years, specializing in emotional and behavioral disabilities. During the first 18 years worked as a nonpublic school administrator; designing programs based on applied behavior analysis and cognitive behavioral therapy. From 2012-2020 was the Coordinator of Behavioral and Mental Health Series at Hemet USD, supervising a multidisciplinary team of school psychologist, mental health therapist, and behavior specialist. In addition to supporting students with trauma and behavioral challenges his team also coordinated the support for the district’s crisis response team, risk assessments, and the B.E.S.T.T. program. Since recent retirement, Richard has been focusing his time on consultation, workshops, and teaching ABA at Brandman University. he is currently the Region VI representative for CASP, long time board member of RASP, and a LEP. Areas of advocacy include early access to behavioral and mental health services, systems of support for school providers, and ending the criminalization of student behaviors.