Mental Health

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Notes from the Backpack Podcast

Strengthening Mental Health in Your Community

National PTA’s Mental Health initiative equips you with helpful information to implement new policies, services and supports to improve the overall mental health in your schools and families. Whether your own kid is experiencing trauma, stress or other mental health challenges—or you’re trying to serve your school community—these resources are for you!

Mental health is consistently touted by mental health experts and PTA leaders as one of the most pressing issues to address this school year as a result of COVID-19. And, according to a survey by Education Trust, eight in 10 parents say their children are experiencing heightened stress levels right now.

Eight in 10 parents say their children are experiencing heightened stress levels right now.
– Survey by Education Trust

How Your PTA Can Help Improve Students’ Mental Health

Video IconTo learn more about effective school-based mental health services and ways your PTA can advocate for them to be implemented in your school community, check out these trainings for PTA leaders. 

What it Means to Fully Support Mental Health in Schools

Now more than ever, it’s important to understand how mental health systems serving children and youth should work, what services are available and what approaches to mental health are most effective for your school community. Sponsored by GoGuardian, this training covers the core components of mental health, how mental health intersects with learning, the vital role schools and PTAs play, and why it matters. Watch this webinar recording from September 2020 to learn the importance of taking a multi-tiered systems approach, who the key resources are in your building to support your efforts and why PTA leaders need to be prepared to educate and collaborate with school officials to improve their school’s mental health supports.

Here is the English transcript, the Spanish transcript and the Mandarin transcript.

Expert Voice

Benjamin S. Fernandez, MS. Ed., National Association of School Psychologists

National Association of School Psychologists

Taking Action to Improve Mental Health

You may realize that your school, district and/or state’s existing mental health policies don’t go far enough to address the current mental health challenges students are facing. This training, sponsored by GoGuardian, addresses how PTA leaders can effectively advocate for the mental health needs that exist now and those that will arise throughout this school year. Check out this webinar recording from September 2020 to learn more about methods of advocacy and ways to get support for recommended policies, as well as specific policies schools benefit from having and the need to be inclusive of all students in the policies that are created.

Here is the English transcript, Spanish transcript, and Mandarin transcript.

Expert Voices
Sam Brinton

Sam Brinton, Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs, The Trevor Project

Keygan Miller

Keygan Miller, Advocacy Associate, The Trevor Project

Trevor Project

Mental Health Resources for PTAs, Leaders and Families

Access National PTA’s curated library of essential mental health resources for PTAs and families. These resources will help you learn about mental health and some of the most pressing issues and approaches, access tools to help you and your families or school community cope, and find the information to effectively advocate for better mental health services in your school community.

Whether you are a parent or caregiver or a PTA leader or member, these resources are meant for you! Check out the tools below to learn more about mental health and what you can do to improve it in your family, school and community.

What You Need to Know

These articles and videos will help you learn more about mental health issues. Share your favorites to educate your family, school and community.

Teens & Suicide: What Parents Should Know
This section of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s website provides facts about teen suicide and offers guidance on protecting your teens and tweens from suicide risk.

Will My Child Bounce Back From the Coronavirus Crisis?
This article from Child Mind Institute shares important information on what trauma is and how it can look for your child. It also gives tips on what you can do to help your child navigate this traumatic time.

Is Your Child Stressed Out?
This resource from Mental Health America shares signs families should look out for and tips for how to help children manage stress.

Is Your Child Lonely?
This resource from Mental Health America outlines common causes of loneliness, the effects loneliness can have, the role the internet can play and what you can do to help.

It’s OK to Not Be OK (VIDEO)
This video from Active Minds offer the student perspective on the COVID-19 pandemic and mental health. Teens share how they've been feeling and what they miss most. *COVID-related Resource*

Child Mind Institute’s CrisisLogger
Hear parents’ firsthand experiences with the effects of COVID-19 and share your own. These videos demonstrate you’re not alone in your struggles and help you build empathy for the families in your community.  *COVID-related Resource*

Tools You Can Use

These apps and online resources can help you, your family and your community cope.

Inner Explorer’s I am Present App
This app, designed for kids, provides a sequence of mindfulness practices (5-10 min. per day) for K-12 students and families that leads to less stress and anxiety, greater clarity and focus, improved emotional regulation and compassion.

Mental Health America’s Online Screening Tool
Online screening is one of the quickest and easiest ways to determine whether you are experiencing symptoms of a mental health condition. This tool will enable families in your community to screen for mental health conditions, with options available for adults and youth.

Trevor Support Center
The Trevor Support Center is a place where LGBTQ youth and their allies can find answers to frequently asked questions, and explore resources related to sexual orientation, gender identity and mental health. Trevor’s counselors are just a phone call, chat or text away for youth in need.

Resources for Advocacy

These research articles, survey results and model policies will help you find the information you need to effectively advocate for enhanced mental health services in your community.

Promoting Awareness of Children’s Mental Health Issues
The American Psychological Association shares background information about children’s mental health issues and provides data and talking points to help you in your advocacy work.

Trevor Project Model School Policy on Suicide Prevention
This adaptable document will help educators and school administrators implement comprehensive suicide prevention policies in communities nationwide. 

Key Messages and Talking Points to Remedy the Shortages in School Psychology The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) shares talking points and relevant statistics for you to use as you advocate for more mental health resources in schools.

Key Messages and Talking Points for School Psychologists: Advancing Social Justice
The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) shares talking points and relevant statistics for you to use as you advocate for schools to advance social justice. The information can help families advocate for schools to address racism and bias and better support LGBTQ+, immigrant and other marginalized groups of students.

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