Among the variety of topics that are keystones for the promotion of mental health in schools, an issue that may go unaddressed-perhaps because it seems so elementary-is this: before student mental health can be supported in school, students must be in school. Evidence of failure to get students in school is seen not only in daily attendance rates, but is reflected in other sources of evidence including the surprisingly low high school graduation rates and in truancy data. Absenteeism is among the most serious threats impacting school success and has been shown to be associated with a variety of factors such as the school environment, home environment, and individual student characteristics. The goal of this chapter is to explicate the influences impacting attendance such that educators can effectively plan for success in this most basic requirement for promoting mental health in schools.
Keywords: Absenteeism, drop out, graduation, school refusers, truancy, school mental health, high school, minorities and school, school attendance, school environment, home environment, IQ and absenteeism, mental health and absenteeism, school refusal, school reorganization, community partnerships.