School- Based Mental Health Program

Educators are often the first line of support in addressing mental health needs for students. They recognize the impact a student's mental health has on learning and achievement and realize that there's a great deal that can be done to help students in the school setting.

In response, the Mountain Plains Mental Health Technology Transfer Center (MHTTC) has developed training, technical assistance, and resources to support school- based mental health. The MHTTC team continues to develop online resource guides and toolkits as well as curricula and self-paced trainings to assist school professionals in understanding and implementing core concepts of best practices in school mental health. The Mountain Plains MHTTC team members are also available for technical assistance and in person or distance training on topics and issues most relevant to your school, district, or state.

Primary goals of the Mountain Plains MHTTC School-Based Mental Health Program include:

  1. Provide training and technical assistance on implementation of evidence based mental health services, supports, and programs in schools and districts.
  2. Build capacity and create learning communities among educators.
  3. Provide resources and support for schools, districts, and teachers to address trauma and incorporate trauma responsive practices in the classroom.
  4. Integrate mental health into teacher preparation so teachers are prepared to support all students.


Current Mountain Plains MHTTC School-Based Initiatives

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

Free, self-paced, continuing education (6 contact hours) opportunity for all school personnel.The purpose of this course is to build capacity of frontline interdisciplinary personnel to address the mental health needs of children and youth in schools. Emphasis is on knowledge translation and implementation of evidence-based mental health promotion and prevention strategies within a Community of Practice.

Helping Teachers Support Student Mental Health: Recommendations for Strengthening K-12 Teacher Preparation Curricula

This whitepaper describes the work and recommendations of a work group developed to discuss mental health and wellness training needs in teacher preparation. The Higher Education Teacher Preparation work group discussed the need to increase mental health awareness and skills in training programs for emerging teachers. This paper provides recommendations that higher education institutions and decision makers should consider in an effort to help teachers feel more prepared to address mental health in the classroom.

Promoting Positive Mental Health in Rural Schools: A Resource Guide

This resource guide provides an examination of policy and practice implications and offers tools to assess students’ needs. Included are suggestions for next steps and evidence-based strategies to assist rural school officials in meeting the mental health needs of their student body.

Trauma Informed Care and Practices 3-part webinar series

Dr. Tami DeCoteau, a national expert on trauma-informed care, offers insight to providers and educators interested in gaining a deeper understanding of trauma, including content on historical trauma and adverse childhood experiences.

Training and technical assistance is available to all states/district in Region 8 to bring all or parts of this training to you. Please contact us to get more information and let us know how we can support your efforts to improve school mental health.


Additional School-based Mental Health Resources

Military Children and Family

Military connected students face unique challenges in the school setting. The following resources offer insight to addressing those needs and building on the resiliency and strengths of military families.

Rural School Mental Health

In rural areas where mental health resources may be scarce, schools have a unique role and responsibility in providing or linking students to mental health services. The following resources address the specific needs and issues of rural schools.

School Mental Health

The following resources provide general tools for including mental wellness as part of overall school health. Additional information is available around data collection, mental health literacy, and training opportunities for students and educators.

School Safety

The following resources provide models and tools implemented in other states, districts, and school settings that you may use to develop threat assessment policies and protocols.

Social Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions. The following resources share evidenced-based SEL programs as well as specific examples of SEL interventions.

Suicide Prevention

Although a holistic approach to suicide prevention is a best practice, the following resources are intended as additional programs and efforts to support overall school mental health. Increased training for teachers and students alike will help identify and encourage students at risk to seek help.

Teacher and School Staff Wellness

The following resources provide a variety of training, tools, and ideas to promote teacher wellness beyond self-care and boundary setting.

Trauma Responsive Practices

When schools understand the educational impacts of trauma, they can become safe, supportive environments where students make positive connections with adults and peers, manage their trauma symptoms so they can behave appropriately, and feel confident to learn. The following resources include free on-line training packages and opportunities, resources, and tools to equip educators with the skills needed to become trauma responsive.