Healthy Minds

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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How Do You Prioritize Mental Health?

It’s important to support the mental health of all children—before, during and after challenges arise — and to support parents' and caregivers' mental health too!

National PTA has developed the PTA Healthy Minds Program to empower families to make mental health an everyday priority. Check out the resources on this webpage, including informational and activity resources directly for families and resources to help PTAs run PTA Healthy Minds programming.   

Mother and daughter meditating

Healthy Minds Resources

Learn more about having Healthy Minds.


For Families: Healthy Minds


Families play an important role in:

  1. Providing children with strong mental health support.
  2. Incorporating positive mental health practices into their daily lives.
  3. Helping your children if they are struggling emotionally, mentally and physically.

National PTA has created tools to increase families’ knowledge, skills and confidence about:

How to Use Strategies to Strengthen and Prioritize Mental Health in your Daily Lives


Access Topic-Specific Family Resources


Depending on where your family is on your mental health journey, you may be looking for different types of supports. Although everyone’s circumstances are different, there are actions all families can take to strengthen their mental health—and you can start by taking small steps!

National PTA has resources to help make it easier for your family to prioritize mental health. We encourage you to use our informational resources and family activities below to begin learning more about how you can build Social Emotional Learning and resilience skills and better understand and address depression, anxiety, loneliness & isolation, and grief and loss.


Social Emotional Learning & Service Learning

There are many things you can do with your children at home to help them develop social and emotional skills, like the ability to solve problems or how to use coping strategies when they face challenges. These resources provide more information on what these “SEL skills” look like and how you can build them with your children by doing activities together in your daily lives.


Social Emotional Learning Resources 
Service Learning Resources 

Resources to come in January 2022



One in six adults will experience some type of depression in their lifetime. It’s important to know what depression is and how it can be managed so you can address it if it arises for yourself and/or your children.

Depression Resources 
  • What is Depression? (en español) – Strengthen your understanding of what depression is, challenge common stigmas, and learn about the risk factors.
  • Depression Assessment Tool (en español) – Use this form to help assess your child's risk factors for depression, look for any depression signs and symptoms, and determine if your child may need professional help.
  • Depression Discussion Guide (Erika's Lighthouse) – This guide is designed to assist parents in having a discussion with their teen about depression and the importance of good mental health.
  • Managing Your Depression (Erika's Lighthouse) – Ideas for young adults coping with depression.



Anxiety is the most common mental disorder. Each year 18% of adults in the U.S. experience anxiety, and 31% have had anxiety at some point in their lives. Approximately 8% of children and adolescents also experience anxiety each year. Use these resources to better understand what anxiety is and how it can be managed.

Anxiety Resources 


Loneliness & Isolation

As National PTA and Learning Heroes’ recent poll—A Year Into the Pandemic: Parents’ Perspectives on Academics, Assessments and Educationfound, “more than 7 in 10 parents (72%) indicated they worried ‘a lot’ or ‘some’ about their child missing out on important social interactions at school or with friends, more than any other issue/topic.” Check out these resources to better understand what loneliness and isolation can look like and what your family can do about it.

Loneliness & Isolation Resources


Grief and Loss

Grief and Loss Resources



Building Resilience Resources


Additional Resources

Partner Resources 

New Mental & Emotional Health Resources

Shine Light on DepressionDepression and suicide are hiding in plain sight, affecting more and more young people. National PTA is part of a five-organization collaboration working to create real and hopeful conversations around mental health. Check out these Shine Light on Depression resources to learn more


For PTA Leaders: Healthy Minds


Before diving into this Healthy Minds work, keep in mind that your PTA has the awesome opportunity to play an important role in:

  1. Helping families understand that for children to thrive both in the classroom and in life, they must be healthy not just physically, but mentally and emotionally too.

  2. Connecting what is happening in families’ homes to what is happening within the school building.

  3. Supporting school leadership in providing relevant school-based mental health supports and services to families and teaching positive social and emotional skills to kids.

  4. Ensuring Diversity, Equity and Inclusion considerations are kept top of mind in all mental health efforts, both in and outside of the school building.

Healthy Minds Toolkit


So what does implementing this PTA Healthy Minds Program look like?

Your PTA should use these resources below to 1) Listen to and Learn from Your School Community, 2) Partner with your School Administration, and 3) Empower Families to Prioritize Mental Health (via resource promotion and options for facilitated engagement sessions, either In Person or At Home).

Listen to and Learn from Your School Community

  • Learn the mental health needs of your school community.
  • Identify gaps in existing school mental health services and supports.

Partner with Your School Leadership

  • Review existing local and district school mental health survey data, resources and services.
  • Share family feedback with local and district school administration.
  • Discuss together ways your PTA can support school leadership in:
    • Providing relevant school-based mental health supports and services to families.
    • Teaching positive social and emotional skills to kids.
  • Form a Healthy Minds Team.

Empower Families with the Information and Tools they Need to Make Mental Health a Priority

  • Promote and distribute National PTA’s Healthy Minds family tools and resources.
  • Use social medial/email/newsletter messaging to reach families.


These resources can help your PTA do this.

Taking Action to Improve Mental Health

How Your PTA Can Help Improve Students' Mental Health

Webinar Transcripts


Notes from the Backpack: A PTA Podcast

Notes from the Backpack features real conversations with real parents, experts and educators who offer real-life advice, ideas and strategies parents can use to help their children succeed in and out of school.

Episodes Focused on Mental Health


National PTA Awarded for Mental Health Efforts

National PTA is proud to have received the following awards relating to areas of mental health.

National PTA Awarded by Child Mind Institute

National PTA is committed to supporting families on their journey to make mental health a priority by providing tools and resources to empower families to take action.

Child Mind Institute Change Maker Award

National PTA Awarded the Platinum Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health by Mental Health America (MHA)

The Bell Seal for Workplace Mental Health is a distinction awarded by Mental Health America (MHA) to companies who meet the standards for a mentally healthy workplace. National PTA earned this status for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to employee mental health and well-being.

Bell Seal for Mental Health 2021


Founding & Supporting Sponsors

GoGuardian Pear Deck

Allstate Foundation

New York Life Foundation

CDC Foundation