Building Capacity of School Personnel to Promote Positive Mental Health in Native American Children and Youth

3:00pm - January 18, 2023 thru 5:00pm - May 10, 2023 | Timezone: US/Mountain
Mountain Plains MHTTC
Registration Deadline: January 10, 2023
Need more information?
Contact us at [email protected] OR [email protected]

Event Description

The Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (Mountain Plains-MHTTC) serves schools in Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. We are inviting you to participate in a multi-state initiative that will build capacity of school teams to promote positive mental health in children/youth throughout the school day using a multi-tiered approach. The training will occur Spring 2023. Specifically, the Mountain Plains MHTTC will build capacity of school personnel to learn about and implement model programs, such as Every Moment Counts and Circle of Courage and embedded strategies emphasizing mental health promotion and prevention.  

Please think about the benefits of participating in this project and your availability to attend the five virtual sessions. Please contact LaVonne Fox at [email protected] or Sarah Nielsen at [email protected] or at 701-777-2208 to indicate your interest in participating no later than January 10, 2023. 

What will this involve? What will you be expected to do?  

If you agree to participate, you will:  

• Identify 3-6 interdisciplinary team members to be a part of a Community of Practice (CoP) at your school. The CoP should be an interdisciplinary team including any of the following: teacher, paraprofessional, occupational therapist, administrator/counselor, nurse, speech language pathologists, social workers or school psychologists. It is strongly recommended that the team include a classroom teacher and be interdisciplinary in nature as training emphasizes application in the classroom and interdisciplinary collaboration.  

• The CoP will participate in five 2-hour virtual training sessions (see schedule overview below). *attendance is critical  

• Each CoP will develop a strategic plan identifying gaps or opportunities to improve mental health promotion throughout the school day and identify strategies to implement change.  


The Mountain Plains MHTTC will:  

• Provide the training described above and any technical assistance during development of the strategic plan and implementation.  

Provide continuing education credits to the CoP members (20 contact hours). If your state requires transcripted credit, the MHTTC will have the training approved, but the transcripted fee is the responsibility of the teacher.  

• Provide required readings and resources to the CoP.  

• Follow up on the implementation plan.  


Benefits to you:  

• Enhanced capacity of all school personnel through enhanced understanding of how to apply knowledge about children’s mental health in the school.  

• Free resources for each CoP.  

• Free educational sessions and online discussions regarding mental health promotion.  

• Feeling connected to other schools implementing the projects.  

• Continuing education credits (20 contact hours for CoP team members).  



January 18 

  • Introduction Historical, Intergenerational Trauma, Historical Loss and the Influence on Mental Well-being  

  • Introduction to Communities of Practice Process and Strategic Planning  

February 15 

  • Understanding Multi-Tiered Approaches to School Mental Health and Embedded Service Delivery  

March 8 

  • Embedded Programs that Support Social and Emotional Well-being Throughout the School Day  

April 5 

  • Mental Health Literacy  

May 10 

  • Indigenous Programs to Support Students who are Struggling Emotionally  

  • Final Reflections and Strategic Planning  

 ***Click on the thumbnail image below to view/download a flyer with information on how to register.*** 








LaVonne Fox, PhD, OTR/L


She currently is employed at the Turtle Mountain Community College in Belcourt, ND and recently accepted the position of Vice President of Academic Affairs. LaVonne was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Chippewa reservation. She has considerable experience researching Indigenous Youth programs for positive mental health and wellness connected to identity. She is currently developing a Master in Education Program that focuses on decolonization/deconstructing the educational system and embedding indigenous values and beliefs. was an associate professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, in the Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine and Health Sciences for 26 years until December 31, 2019.  


Sarah Nielsen, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA


Sarah is an associate professor at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, ND, in the Department of Occupational Therapy, School of Medicine and Health Sciences. Sarah has over 19 years of experience working with children, youth and young adults with mental health issues in communities and schools. Her clinical practice included developing and implementing trauma-informed approaches in mental health care. She assisted students transitioning from mental health programs back to public schools where she trained and assisted schools in this effort.