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Promote better student outcomes through mental health programs and support.

Mental health is an important part of a child’s overall health and well-being. It can affect how children think, feel, and act and is shaped by a combination of individual and community factors. Mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation have become more common among young people.

K-12 schools are critical partners in supporting the mental health and well-being of students. In addition to education, schools provide opportunities for social, mental health, and physical health services that can help protect against negative outcomes. Schools can also serve as communities of support, connecting students to caring adults and encouraging positive peer relationships.

School mental health programming can include an array of services that address prevention, early intervention, and treatment needs of students. By supporting students who are experiencing mental health challenges, schools can help foster a sense of safety, prevent worsening of mental health conditions, and create better outcomes.

Strategies to Consider 

There are several strategies schools and districts can implement to support student mental health and well-being. Some of these measures include: 

  • Provide access to school-based mental health services and/or connect students and their families to community providers and resources.
  • Implement multi-tiered systems of support that address students’ academic, behavioral, mental health, and social and emotional needs.
  • Increase student and staff mental health literacy through classroom-based activities, training, and curricula.
  • Promote social, emotional, and behavioral learning programs that improve students’ social skills and emotional development. 
  • Integrate trauma-informed practices that recognize, respond to, and support students affected by traumatic stress.
  • Foster positive, safe, and affirming learning environments and engage families to build school connectedness.

Filter Resources

All Mental Health Resources

Access additional resources below to learn more about mental health and related best practices. Use the filters to sort resources based on subtopic and/or preparedness action.

Mental Health
Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network

Department of Health and Human Services, May 2019

This guidance provides information on services available through the Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) Network, which covers the full continuum spanning mental illness prevention, treatment, and recovery support.

Mental Health

Department of Justice, 2013

This guidance is a training resource for professionals that teaches best practices in working with children who have experienced or witnessed serious violence. The courses describe the prevalence and characteristics of different forms of victimization, their psychological, behavioral, social and health consequences, and implications for practice.

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