A mental health disorder is an illness the affects the way people think, feel, behave or interact with others. There are many different mental health disorders, and they have different symptoms that affect a person’s mood, thinking and behavior.
One in five students in the U.S. come to school showing signs or symptoms of a mental health disorder. In a classroom of 25, that means five of the students could be suffering from depression, anxiety, substance abuse and self-harming behaviors. Alarmingly, nearly 80% of these students will not receive appropriate mental health support or services. Students with mental health needs that are not met can face major problems at school, including chronic absences, low achievement, disruptive behavior and dropping out.
Many believe schools can play an intricate role is identifying and supporting students with mental health challenges. Unfortunately, due to lack of resources and proper training, many educators are at a loss as to how to best support all of their students. The resources below are available to help you begin conversations on how to help students in your district.
Articles, brochures and reports
- 5 Actions Steps for Helping Someone in Emotional Pain – This infographic presents five steps for helping someone in emotional pain in order to prevent suicide. Steps include: Ask, Keep Them Safe, Be There, Help Them Connect, and Stay Connected.
- Addressing Whole Child Growth Through Strong Relationships – (2019) SEL expert Dr. Stephanie Jones andInternational Center for Leadership in Education founder Bill Daggett explore the evidence-based connections between academic and social-emotional learning — and the importance of strong relationships for learners.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences and the Lifelong Consequences of Trauma – This American Academy of Pediatrics document (2014) explains ACEs and how they contribute to adult physical and mental health outcomes.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences: A new way of understanding adult health risks in Iowa – Review information on adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and their impact on students. Iowa ACEs 360 is made up of representatives from more than 10 organizations dedicated to addressing adverse childhood experiences in Iowa.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences: The School Board’s Role in Building Connections and Support for Students – (2019) Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) impact the emotional and behavioral needs of students and present a more immediate concern for schools. This report by the National School Boards Association provides an overview of ACEs and their effect on a student’s readiness to learn, as well as the role of school boards in providing meaningful support.
- Best Practices for Measuring Social-Emotional Learning – Formal assessment of SEL outcomes enables districts to measure students’ SEL skills and implement targeted supports to increase those skills while sending an important message to students, families, teachers and staff that nonacademic outcomes are a priority. To help districts tackle these challenges, this Hanover Research brief (2019) provides strategies that school and district leaders can use to prioritize SEL skills to measure and select assessment methods and instruments.
- Depression: What you need to know – This booklet by the National Institute of Mental Health contains information on depression (depressive disorder or clinical depression), including signs and symptoms, treatment and support options, and a listing of additional resources.
- Feelings brochure – The National Alliance on Mental Health Ohio offers coping skills for helping student process their feelings.
- Four Basic Things People Get Wrong About Mental Illness and Addiction – This article by American Mental Wellness Association highlights four basic things that people were getting wrong when they thought about the brain.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder: When worry gets out of control – The National Institute of Mental Health explains the signs, symptoms and treatments for generalized anxiety disorder.
- Helping Children and Adolescents Cope with Disasters and Other Traumatic Events: What parents, rescue workers and the community can do – The National Institute of Mental Health explains how parents, rescue workers and members of the larger community can help children start the process of recovery to overcome traumatic experiences.
- Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators – The National Child Traumatic Stress Network describes reactions you might see and how you can help.
- How to Support Teachers’ Emotional Needs Right Now – The Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence explores how schools can develop a plan to help teachers who are feeling anxious and overwhelmed.
- An Initial Guide to Leveraging the Power of Social and Emotional Learning as You Prepare to Reopen and Renew Your School Community – In this guide, CASEL shares a framework with actionable recommendations to help school leadership teams plan for the SEL needs of all students and adults during the upcoming transition into summer and the beginning of the new school year.
- Leveraging Social and Emotional Learning to Support Students and Families in the Time of COVID-19 – The Learning Policy Institute which explores evidence-based and equity-focused strategies and investments to address the current crisis and build long-term systems capacity.
- Mental Health and COVID-19 resources – Mental Health America has compiled a range of resources and information to address in the increase in anxiety seen as a result of COVID-19.
- Mental Health Classroom Resources Toolkit – This toolkit was developed in partnership between the Ohio School Board Association (OSBA) and Hanover Research (2020) to serve as a resource for educators in Ohio working to implement classroom-based mental health and social-emotional learning (SEL) supports for students. School and district leaders can also use this toolkit to plan for the distribution of funds from the State’s Student Wellness and Success Fund to support student academic achievement through SEL.
- Mental Health Needs of Children and Youth: The benefits of having schools assess available programs and services – This issue brief by the American Institute for Research explores how continuous evaluation and assessment of a school’s mental health programming (e.g., classroom programs, interventions, services, parental involvement, etc.) can benefit students, families, schools, and communities. The article is not to be reproduced without permission of the American Institutes for Research. Freeman, E. V., & Kendziora, K. T. (2017). Mental health needs of children and youth: The benefits of having schools assess available programs and services. Washington, DC: American Institutes for Research. Retrieved from https://www.air.org/sites/default/files/downloads/report/Mental-Health-Needs-Assessment-Brief-September-2017.pdf
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: When Unwanted Thoughts or Irresistible Actions Take Over – The National Institute of Mental Health explains the signs, symptoms and treatments for obsessive-compulsive disorder.
- Panic Disorder: When fear overwhelms – The National Institute of Mental Health reviews the causes, signs, symptoms and treatments of panic disorders.
- The Physiology of Stress – This article by the American Mental Wellness Association explains the effects of stress on the body and mind.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – This brochure by the National Institute of Mental Health focuses on post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a disorder that some people develop after experiencing a shocking, scary, or dangerous event. It explains signs and symptoms in children and adults, risk factors, treatment options, and next steps for PTSD research.
- School-Based Behavioral Health Assessment: Understanding the Behavioral Health Needs, Strengths, and Gaps of Your School District – The Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Center for Healthy Schools and Communities created this guide to provide a framework, tools and resources for assessing and strengthening a comprehensive school-based behavioral health (SBBH) system.
- SEL resources during COVID-19 – The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) shares resources and best practices for parents, educators and state policymakers.
- Social Anxiety Disorder: More than just shyness – The National Institute of Mental Health describes the causes, signs, symptoms and treatments of social anxiety disorders.
- The State of Mental Health in America 2020 – This report by Mental Health America reflects on the trends the organization has seen in mental health across the United States
- Suicide prevention resources – According to the Centers for Disease Control, suicide is the third leading cause of death among persons aged 10-14 and the second among persons aged 15-34 years. To assist school districts in supporting students and families, OSBA has compiled research-based information regarding student suicide.
- Trauma-informed Resources Available During COVID-19 Quarantine – The Attachment & Trauma Network Inc. shares tips we have for families on a forced “Staycation” with children who have been impacted by trauma and by attachment disorders.
- The Two Pandemics Call for Commitment to Embedding Mental Health Concerns in All Forms of Schooling – The UCLA School Mental Health Project/Center for Mental Health in Schools shares a brief discussion about reopening schools with a different perspective on mental health concerns
- OSBA Mental Health and Social-Emotional Learning Virtual Series #4 – (July 16, 2020) Angela Duckworth, author and founder of the Character Lab Research Network, will discuss the traits and habits that allow students to be successful in the classroom.
- OSBA Mental Health and Social-Emotional Learning Virtual Series #3 – (June 10, 2020) Anna M. Bell, a life/professional coach discusses adult mental health and the importance of self-care.
- OSBA Mental Health and Social-Emotional Learning Virtual Series #2 – (May 14, 2020) Dr. John P. Ackerman, the suicide prevention coordinator for the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, discusses supporting student mental health from a distance and how to help students recover from traumatic experiences.
- Dr. John P. Ackerman’s powerpoint
- Comprehensive Suicide Prevention and Intervention in a Time of Distance Learning – This webinar by the National Association of School Psychologists reviews the step by step process for utilizing NASP’s suicide prevention and intervention teleassessment protocols.
- Center for Suicide Prevention and Research – Nationwide Children’s Hospital has resources on the signs of suicide and prevention resources.
- On Our Sleeves – Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s On Our Sleeve movement to transform children’s mental health through education, advocacy and research.
- OSBA Mental Health and Social-Emotional Learning Virtual Series #1 – (April 23, 2020) Hilliard City Schools Director of Social Emotional Learning & Measurement Molly Walker discusses implementing social-emotional learning strategies through distance learning, from both a classroom and district perspective.
- Mental Health Support for Students: The Legal Framework – Available for purchase from the National School Boards Association, speakers will explain and explore the current legal framework for identifying, evaluating and supporting students in need of mental health services, in and outside of the special education context.
- Trauma-Informed Schools are Safe Schools – (June 2019) Presented by the NSBA Center for Safe Schools, this free webinar explores the differences between safe schools and trauma-informed schools. Learn where they intersect and diverge and the qualities and characteristics of being safe and trauma-informed. This webinar is hosted by Dr. Melissa Sadin, director of Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools, Attachment and Trauma Network, author and educational consultant who also is a school board member in New Jersey.
- ACEs Response Toolkit: Raising Resiliency – Iowa ACEs 360 created a toolkit to address the question related to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), “So, what do I do about it?” The toolkit includes research, messaging, training resources and presentation materials.
- Adverse Childhood Experiences Questionnaire – This questionnaire, hosted by Traumadissociation.com, is designed to determine your Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) Score. The questionnaire is originally adapted from a training with the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN). Disclaimer: This self-assessment tool is not a substitute for clinical diagnosis or advice.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Registries of Programs Effective in Reducing Youth Risk Behaviors – CDC has compiled youth-related programs that various federal agencies have identified and consider worthy of recommendation on the basis of expert opinion or a review of design and research evidence. These programs focus on different health topics, risk behaviors and settings. Some, but not all, of these programs have shown evidence in reducing youth risk behaviors.
- Crisis Text Line – Provides free, confidential support 24/7. Ohio users can text 4Hope to 741741 to connect with a live, trained crisis counselor within minutes. You can access fliers, social media posts, images and more to spread the word.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness – This national organization provides advocacy, education, support and public awareness so that all individuals and families affected by mental illness can build better lives. Access infographics and fact sheets.
- National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio – Our goal is to improve the lives of individuals, families, and children who are impacted by a mental health condition by providing education, support and advocacy. We have affiliates throughout the state who are trained to provide numerous programs, including Family to Family, Connections Support Groups, NAMI Basics and Ending the Silence.
- National School Boards Association Center for Safe Schools – The NSBA Center for Safe Schools is an initiative of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) to support and ensure a safe and secure environment for students, staff and the community.
- National Wraparound Initiative – Promotes understanding about the components and benefits of care coordination using the Wraparound practice model. Offers an explanation of the wraparound process and what it entails as well as a handbook that explains the concept of wraparound.
- Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities – This statewide organization that represents the interests of Ohio’s county Alcohol, Drug Addiction, and Mental Health Boards. Use the County Board Director to find resources in your county.
- Ohio Suicide Prevention Foundation – A not-for-profit organization that works to bring about changes in attitudes and perceptions surrounding suicide and its relationship to mental illness, alcohol and drug abuse, and other issues. Offers articles and materials, including Kognito, a free training for teachers that focuses on suicide prevention.
- On Our Sleeves – The national movement to break stigmas around children’s mental health. Created by Nationwide Children’s Hospital, its mission is to provide free mental health educational resources to every community in America to educate families and empower advocates. It also support access to services by connecting families to trusted local resources.
- SAMHSA-HRSA Center for Integrated Health Solutions (CIHS) – Promotes the development of integrated primary and behavioral health services to better address the needs of individuals with mental health and substance use conditions, whether seen in specialty behavioral health or primary care provider settings. The website offers screening tools to enables earlier identification of mental health and substance use disorders.