Mental Health Awareness
Mental illness is a major global health issue. In the United States alone the National Institutes for Health reports that more than one in five U.S. adults live with a mental illness (57.8 million in 2021). Raising awareness and increasing the understanding of mental health can change the way society views and responds to this complex issue. AIR promotes positive mental health through school and community-based approaches involving youth, families, school, health care providers, and other stakeholders.
Through research, training, technical assistance, evaluation, and policy work, AIR experts are at the forefront assisting states, schools, and communities in raising awareness and implementing strategies that have lasting effects on a number of topics, including:
- Trauma-informed care
- Mental health in schools
- Youth violence prevention
- Mental health in the justice system
- Bullying prevention
Learn more about mental health issues and strategies in the resources that follow.
The COVID-19 PandemicThe pandemic has significantly impacted the mental health of people of all ages. Here are some resources we've developed to shed light on the struggles and offer potential solutions:
- AIR’s COVID-19 Response and Resources
- Catching Up During COVID-19 - Not Your Average Back to School Year: Advice from Our Experts (Spotlight)
- How Expanded Learning Programs and Schools Work Together to Support California Students During the COVID-19 Pandemic (Q&A)
- When Schools Go Dark, School Counselors Shine: School Counseling During a Global Pandemic (Brief)
- Mental Health First Aid in Schools: Connecting Public Health, Policy, & Equity in COVID-19 (Webinar recording)
- In Conversation: What Do Rising Rates of Anxiety and Depression Mean for Families, Schools, and Communities? (Q&A)
- A Quick Word with: Kathleen Guarino on Mental Health During a Health Crisis (Q&A)
- COVID-19 and Whole Child Efforts: Reopening Update (Brief)
The National Resource Center, operated by AIR, works closely with and offers many resources for states, schools, communities, tribes, and territories. Among them are self-paced learning modules and online learning events to support and provide training on a wide range of topics related to mental health promotion and youth violence prevention.
- The School Mental Health Modules series offers an interactive, self-paced learning experience on developing and implementing a comprehensive school mental health program at the school and community level with support from the state.
- The Safe Schools/Healthy Students Framework Implementation Toolkit is designed for use by school-based teams at the community level, and can also be used by teams based at community mental health and youth-serving organizations working in law enforcement, juvenile justice, and social services.
- An e-book on core strategies to promote young child wellness highlights community experiences from SAMHSA-funded Project LAUNCH (Linking Actions for Unmet Needs in Children’s Health) grantees and offers creative approaches and innovative strategies that can inform early childhood efforts in all communities.
The Children Exposed to Violence Training and Technical Assistance Center (CEVTTAC) at AIR supports children exposed to violence project sites/grantees (CVEPS) funded through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.
Our provision of training and technical assistance helps CVEPS achieve project objectives related to building capacity of families and communities to more effectively respond to children exposed to violence and increase protective factors across all levels of a child’s social ecology. We do this by supporting community violence interventions that focus on individual- and relational/family-level and community- and societal-level strategies.
Other Related AIR Work
- The National Center on Safe Supportive Learning Environments (NCSSLE)'s Lessons from the Field Webinar Series includes webinars about substance abuse in schools.
- A new blog post from NCSSLE, Voices from the Field: How Might Peer Counseling Help LGBTQI+ Students Fight Mental Health Issues on College Campuses? touches on the intersection of May's Mental Health Month and June's Pride Month.
- Trauma-Sensitive Schools and Social and Emotional Learning: An Integration examines how trauma-sensitive schools and social and emotional learning can be integrated and expanded to create safe, supportive, and culturally responsive schools.
- Grantee highlights from NCSSLE: Featured work and innovations from ED-funded grantees (school districts and state education agencies across the country) on how they are promoting mental health, preventing youth violence, and improving student outcomes, particularly now in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Expanding the pipeline of mental health providers into rural school districts in New York: The Sodus Central School District has partnered with local colleges and universities to provide internship experiences for graduate level social workers, school counselors, mental health counselors, and school psychologists and provides training in a variety of interventions, including restorative practices (see the toolkit).
- Building student resilience in middle school and junior high: NCSSLE developed a toolkit for educators to help students strengthen resilience and rise above the challenges they face.
- Helping people recover and rebuild after a disaster: The SAMHSA-funded Crisis Counseling Assistance and Training Program helps states, U.S. territories, tribes, and local providers plan for and respond to behavioral health needs after a disaster, including the COVID-19 pandemic.