GUIDELINES FOR SCHOOL ASSEMBLIES ON MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) are working together to provide schools, families, and communities resources to help increase awareness, understanding, and tolerance of mental health issues and mental illness in our society. We have joined with the National Association of Secondary School Principals to help promote and facilitate school assemblies on mental health to answer President Obama’s call for a National Dialogue on Mental Health.
Our goals in promoting school-based assemblies on mental health are to:
- Educate students and teachers about mental health and mental illness
- Empower students to speak openly about mental health;
- Support students and families in making lifestyle changes that promote mental health;
- Encourage students to seek help when they need it and speak up when they see others in need.
School counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers are the most qualified school staff to address the mental health needs of students and identify those students and families in need of more intensive services. These professionals are also ideally equipped to help facilitate mental health assemblies and other programming to educate students, teachers and administrators about mental illness. Additionally, school-employed mental health professionals are available to provide ongoing in-service training and consultation for teachers, principals, and other school staff, and to implement school-wide programs to improve school climate and conditions for learning. These professionals should be available in every school to address these critical needs and support schools in their mission of academic achievement. We offer the following resources to help plan for and implement school mental health assemblies.
Download 4 page pdf Guidelines.
Considerations When Planning Mental Health Assemblies or Other Discussions With Youth Source: National Association of School Psychologists
Suggested Talking Points Source: National Association of School Psychologists
Building Bridges for Children's Mental Health The Colorado Department of Education's Building Bridges for Children's Mental Health Project has developed a number of Tip Sheets containing basic information about some common mental health disorders, a list of the more common symptoms, a summary of the educational implications of the disorder, and instructional strategies and classroom accommodations. Other Tools for Families and Schools, resources and powerpoints are also available.
Child Mind Institute: Tools for parents worried about a child's mood, behavior, or success in school. Including a Mental Health guide, Symptom Checker, Developmental Milestones, Quick Facts on disorders and a Glossary of useful terms.
Mental Health Information Source: National Institute of Mental Health
MentalHealth.gov: Let's Talk About It. Mental Health Resources. Talk About Mental Health Developed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
Overview of School Based Mental Health Services Joint document regarding School Based Mental Health by the School Social Work Association of America, the American School Counselors Association and the National Association of School Psychologists
Responding to the Mental Health Needs of Students Source: Principal Leadership, 2006 National Association of Secondary School Principals
Toolkit for Community Conversations About Mental Health Source: Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration
Treatment of Children with Mental Illness: The National Institute ot Mental Health offers a 6 page fact sheet that addresses common questions about diagnosis and treatment options for children with mental illnesses. Disorders affecting children may include anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorders, bipolar disorder, depression, eating disorders, and schizophrenia