Healthy Minds

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

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How Do You Prioritize Mental Health?

Life is full of ups and downs. It is normal for our emotional state to change on a day-to-day basis and in periods throughout our lives. When our minds are healthy and strong, we are more resilient to life’s challenges, able to use healthy coping methods, have better relationships, and maintain our overall health and well-being. That’s why it is important to be proactive about our mental health!

National PTA has developed the PTA Healthy Minds Program to help families 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

This page has tools and resources for both PTA leaders and families to learn more about how to have and promote healthy minds. Choose either For Families or For PTA Leaders below to go right to the section with tools created just for you.


For FamiliesFor Families: Healthy Minds


When our minds are healthy and strong, we are more resilient to life’s challenges, able to use healthy coping methods, have better relationships, maintain our overall health and well-being, and prevent chronic illnesses. That’s why it is important to be proactive about our mental health!

Families play an important role in:
  • Providing children with strong mental health support.
  • Incorporating positive mental health practices into their daily lives.
  • Helping your children if they are struggling emotionally, mentally and physically.

Family Discussion

Family Toolkit


Build a Framework for Strong Mental Health Support

These resources will help guide your family in building healthy minds.


Tools to Take Action: Positive Mental Health Practices

This discussion guide can help your family navigate having conversations about mental health, and the action plan gives you some tangible actions your family can take to start making building healthy minds a regular part of your lives.


Get Help Now: Support Resources

School counselors, nurses, psychologists and psychiatrists can connect your family to mental health services and providers in your community, and reaching out to them should be your first step.

However, there are also many national organizations that offer direct mental health support, assistance and referrals; local chapters that provide counseling, referrals, education etc.; and peer-to-peer support groups.

Check out the information below for specific resources, which can also be found in the PTA Healthy Minds: Community Resource Finder

Find Mental Health Support from National Organizations 

Some of these organizations include:

  1. Warmlines (Mental Health America): Talk to someone who can provide support during hard times. 
  2. Find a Mental Health Support Group (Mental Health America): Find support groups in your area.
  3. Behavior Health Treatment Locator (SAMHSA): Locate treatment facilities in the United States or U.S. Territories for substance use/addiction and/or mental health problems.
  4. Self-Help Clearinghouse (National Mental Health Consumers): Connect to self-help and advocacy resources.
  5. Mental Health Resources for Underrepresented Communities (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention): Find national resources for suicide prevention focused on supporting individuals in minority communities, reviewed for accuracy, mental health and community context, and ease of use by AFSP. 

Find Topic-Specific Mental Health Support 




Mental Health Services

Depression, anxiety, loneliness


National Alliance on Mental Illness


Provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives.

Get information, resource referrals and peer support for people living with a mental health condition and their family members and caregivers— free of charge. Call 1 (800) 950-6264 or contact

Many NAMI affiliates offer an array of free support and education programs. Find your local NAMI Alliance using the search function on their website.

Discrimination, racism, exclusion

Trevor Project


Suicide prevention and crisis intervention for LGBTQ+ youth.

Connect with a Crisis Counselor via chat, text or phone 24/7, 365 days a year, from anywhere in the U.S, free of charge.

Discrimination, racism, exclusion

Black Mental Health Alliance


Develops, promotes and sponsors trusted culturally relevant educational forums, trainings and referral services that support the health and well-being of Black people.

The Connect with a Therapist function on the Black Mental Health Alliance website offers confidential referrals for those seeking mental health services.

Discrimination, racism, exclusion

Therapy for Latinx

Provides resources for the Latinx community to heal, thrive and become advocates for their own mental health.


Search a database of therapists who either identify as Latinx or has worked closely with and understands the unique needs of the Latinx community. The website is also offered in Spanish.

Discrimination, racism, exclusion

United Way

Improves lives by mobilizing the caring power of communities around the world to advance the common good.

Call 211, a 24/7 confidential hotline providing referralsif you or someone you know needs help locating mental health resources, talking through a problem,or exploring treatmentoptions.


Many local chapters provide mental health services. Find your local United Way here.

Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA)

Supports individuals and families affected by eating disorders, and serves as a catalyst for prevention, cures and access to quality care.

Text NEDA to 741741 to connect with a trained volunteer 24/7, free of charge.



Dougy Center


Provides support in a safe place where families who are grieving can share their experiences before and after a death.

Use the worldwide program directory to find a grief support center near you.

Substance Misuse

Narcotics Anonymous

Offers recovery from the effects of addiction.

Find a meeting helps addicts who wish to pursue and maintain a drug-free lifestyle find local peer support meetings.

Substance Misuse

Alcoholics Anonymous

Helps alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Meeting Guide helps alcoholics who wish to achieve and maintain sobriety find local peer support meetings.

Substance Misuse


Helps families and friends of alcoholics.

Find a support group of peers to share your experience related to the effects of a problem drinker in their lives.

Suicidal thoughts


National Suicide Prevention Lifeline


Provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis.

Connect with providers in your community that can support your needs, available 24 hours a day, free of charge.

Starting July 16, 2022, just dial 988 to be directly connected to the lifeline. In the meantime, you can dial the full phone number at 1 (800) 273-8255 for support in English or 1 (888) 628-9454 for support in Spanish.

Suicidal thoughts

Crisis Text Line

Provides free, 24/7, high-quality text-based mental health support and crisis intervention.

Text HOME to741741to connect with a Crisis Counselor.


This Community Resource Finder tool is supported by the CDC Foundation by way of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and as part of a financial assistance award totaling $447,531 with more than 99% funded by CDC/HHS and $2,400, less than 1%, funded by non-government source(s). The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by CDC/HHS, or the U.S. Government.


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!


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

Anxiety Resources 


Research shows that children who experience bullying are at a much higher risk for mental health challenges like depression, anxiety and low-self esteem. There are ways you can prevent bullying and help your children respond appropriately when they are being bullied or seeing others in that situation.


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

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.

Grief and Loss

Grief is a natural physical, emotional and behavioral reaction to experiences of deep loss. Loss is when a person no longer has someone or something in their life, or they have less of something. Loss can take many forms.

Grief and Loss Resources

Grief and Loss Resources
What is Grief and Loss?
Supporting Children Through Grief and Loss
Coping with Grief and Loss
Dealing With Community Violence and Traumatic Events
Other Grief and Loss Resources:


Loneliness and 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 and Isolation

Loneliness and Isolation Resources


Resilience is the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress—such as family and relationship problems, serious health problems, or workplace and financial stressors. It is the ability to not only successfully overcome serious challenges, but to grow from the experiences.

Resiliency Resources

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 (SEL) Resources

Social Emotional Learning Resources 
What is SEL?
Learn more about how you can build five important SEL skills with your child at home:

Social Awareness
Relationship Skills
Responsible Decision-Making

Other SEL resources include:

Additional Resources

Check out these additional resources regarding mental health.

Additional Resources

Additional Mental Health ResourcesMindfulness and Self-Care Resources

Suicide and Suicide Prevention

Peer-to-Peer Resources for Students

Additional 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


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


PTA Healthy Minds Videos

National PTA has three modules you and your family can watch to learn more about how to build healthy minds. Each of these informational videos have related activities your family can do to put these concepts into practice.

PTA Healthy Minds Module: Healthy Minds 101

This module explores the difference between mental health and mental illness, provides examples of ways families can prioritize mental health together, and shares information on available mental health supports and services.

PTA Healthy Minds Module: Building Resilience

With this module, you will learn what resilience is and is not as well as why it is important and practice ways you can help the children in your lives build resilience.

PTA Healthy Minds Module: Building Social and Emotional Skills

In this module, you will learn what social and emotional skills are, why they’re important, and how you can help your family build these skills at home.

Mental Health Conversations

Check out these videos to see examples of families having conversations about mental health in their daily lives!

Mental Health Conversations: How and When Parents Can Start Open Dialogue
Conversaciones Sobre Salud Mental: Cómo y cuándo los padres pueden iniciar un diálogo abierto

Mental Health Conversations: Behavior Changes and What Parents Can Do

Mental Health Conversations: OK to Let Your Kids Know You Are Not OK
Conversaciones Sobre Salud Mental: Está bien que sus hijos sepan que usted no está bien


For PTA Leaders: Healthy MindsFor PTA Leaders


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 that mental health supports are available and accessible to all students and recognize the uniqueness of each child. 

Healthy Minds Toolkit for PTA Leaders


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) Share useful resources and information with families, and 4) Build a Healthy Minds program that will best fit the needs of your community by utilizing National PTA’s program materials to create learning and engagement opportunities for families at your school. 

Guide to Running the PTA Healthy Minds Program — check out this short guide to running the PTA Healthy Minds program that provides tips to get you started in your program planning and examples of how other PTAs have implemented Healthy Minds programming in their school communities. 

Listen to and Learn from Your School Community

Before you start, take time to listen and learn about the mental health needs of your school community through:

  • Asking to meet with your school administration, teachers, and school counselors to learn about what the school is already doing and what the challenges are.
  • Gathering feedback from parents directly through a school-wide survey or a parent focus group(s).
This information will help you determine the needs of your school and if there are any specific topics your Healthy Minds program may need to address.  

Partner with Your School Leadership

A key partner for you is your school’s leadership and staff. Start planning your program by meeting with them to:

  • Share the goals of the PTA Healthy Minds program.
  • Find out what the school is already offering to support students' mental health and build students’ social and emotional skills.
  • Ask them to share existing school or district data on student mental health to build parents’ understanding of the needs of their students. 
  • Brainstorm ideas for PTA’s Healthy Minds program in partnership with school leadership. 

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.

Build Your Healthy Minds Program

The PTA Healthy Minds Program contains two primary elements: 1) Distributing National PTA's family resources and tools; and 2) Hosting the PTA Healthy Minds Education Series. The rest of the program is up to you and your PTA! You can be creative and add additional sessions, strategies and resources based on your community’s needs.

The PTA Healthy Minds Education Series creates opportunities for families to learn together and discuss important Healthy Minds topics as a group. This helps to build community and show everyone that they’re not alone. There’s flexibility in how you offer this programming so it can best meet the needs of your community. You can…

  • Host an In-Person or At-Home “PTA Healthy Minds Session” in Real-Time. This lets everyone participate and interact together. All of the materials you’ll need are below. 
  • Or, if it better meets the needs of your community, you can also give families a Self-Paced option where they can watch these videos which cover similar (but shortened) content from the PTA Healthy Minds Sessions.

The PTA Healthy Minds Education Series includes the three sessions outlined below (more to come in 2023!):

PTA Healthy Minds 101
PTA Healthy Minds: Building Social and Emotional Skills at Home
PTA Healthy Minds: Building Resilience
  • Share these handouts with families as well.

  • Additional Opportunities

    As a PTA leader, you are also well-positioned to help your school become part of the Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative (GSSI), which seeks to better equip teachers to care for grieving students by introducing and other valuable grief resources to local schools at no cost. You will already be doing some of this work by participating in the PTA Healthy Minds program, so why not look into taking it a step further? Go here to learn more about the process of becoming a Grief-Sensitive School. Have questions? Email

    Did you know? GoGuardian, one of the PTA Healthy Minds program's Founding Sponsors, offers the Beacon tool to help schools identify students who are at risk of suicide or possible harm to others through threats, violence, and bullying.

    Taking Action to Improve Mental Health


    How Your PTA Can Help Improve Students' Mental Health


    Webinar Transcripts

    Healthy Minds Summit at the National PTA 2021 Convention

    What is Mental Health
    What is SEL

    How PTA Leaders Can Advocate for Mental Health
    How PTA Leaders Can Create Space for Conversations

    How PTA Leaders Can Foster Community Partnerships
    How PTA Can Keep DEI at the Forefront

    Key Factors Impacting People's Mental Health
    Learn From What Other PTAs Have Done

    Mental Health Support Cycle for Children
    The Importance of Being Proactive About 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 Sponsors

    GoGuardian Pear Deck

    Allstate Foundation

    New York Life Foundation

    CDC Foundation