Positive mental health is essential to the overall health and are affected by many factors—the family, school, and community environments in which we are raised—our genetics, physical health, coping skills, and the unexpected traumatic events we may experience. Social exclusion, bullying, and poverty are known risk factors affecting mental health. One in five children are reported to have a behavioral or mental disorder, yet only a fraction of those needing services is ever referred for care. In addition, youth suicide rates have been on the rise for years.
Addressing the full continuum from mental health promotion to prevention, our work promotes social and emotional learning and positive mental health. We study and apply what we know through research, evaluation, and training and technical assistance best practices in the field on the use of evidence-based programs, curricula, and experiences for children, youth, and families. Our aim is to improve school and community environments to promote mental health and reduce violence. We do this by:
- Conducting needs assessments and environmental scans at the school, community, and state levels that examine school mental health services and linkages to community providers;
- Creating partnerships among youth- and family-serving systems to build a foundation supporting equitable mental health services and programs for diverse youth and families;
- Developing and providing tools, training, and ongoing support to help school and community leaders and staff create and sustain comprehensive school mental health programs;
- Guiding schools, community, and state stakeholders, including education and behavioral health, on examining organizational polices and processes that drive effective equitable school mental promotion and using Medicaid and other financing opportunities as a funding strategy; and
- Sharing what we learn with the growing field of mental health, public health, and education working to implement a comprehensive school mental health model in their communities.
NCSSLE offers information and technical assistance focused on improving school climate and conditions for learning. We believe that with the right resources and support, educational stakeholders can collaborate to sustain safe, engaging, and healthy school environments that support student academic success.
The National Center for Healthy Safe Children offers resources and technical assistance to states and local schools and communities to promote the overall well-being of children, youth, and families. Visit the Safe Schools Framework Implementation Toolkit (FIT) to view the planning guides, online learning modules, handbooks, worksheets and other tools to help you plan, implement, and sustain a comprehensive mental health plan to meet the needs of all youth and families you serve.
In Conversation: What Do Rising Rates of Anxiety and Depression Mean for Families, Schools, and Communities?
Join school mental health experts, Frank Rider and Kelly Wells, as they discuss the rising rates of anxiety and depression the COVID-19 pandemic has presented families across the country.
Telemental health can act as a lifeline for communities and individuals who are struggling with the impact of COVID-19. In this installment of IMPAQ’s extended COVID-19 blog series, AIR and IMPAQ experts Brandon Hesgrove, Frank Rider, Stevland Sonnier, and Kevin Van Dyke discuss policy shifts to support expansion of telemental health delivery and implications for future services.
School counselors can provide access to supports that help bolster the well-being of students and succeed academically. This brief profiles efforts by two state school counseling associations, four districts, and 13 school counselors to meet the needs of students and families during the COVID-19 pandemic.