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In-Service Mental Health Education for School Professionals

NAMI is delighted to offer our Parents and Teachers as Allies in-service mental health education program to school professionals.  This two-hour in-service program focuses on helping school professionals and families within the school community better understand the early warning signs of mental illnesses in children and adolescents and how best to intervene so that youth with mental health treatment needs are linked with services. It also covers the lived experience of mental illnesses and how schools can best communicate with families about mental health related concerns.

This program responds to the recommendations included in Goal 4 of President Bush’s New Freedom Commission report on mental health that calls for schools to play a larger role in the early identification of mental health treatment needs in children and in linking them to appropriate services.  Our program is based on NAMI’s highly successful Parents and Teachers as Allies (P&TA) publication.

The components of the in-service education program for school professionals include the following:

  1. Welcome and Introductions – an education professional, who is also a family member, welcomes the school professionals and introduces the topics to be covered, often with a personal story.
  2. Early Warning Signs of Mental Illnesses – a facilitator walks the school professionals through the early warning signs of mental illnesses, closely following the P&TA publication.
  3. Family Response – a parent or caregiver of a child with mental illness covers the predictable stages of emotional reactions among family members dealing with the challenges of mental illness and the lived experience of raising a child with a mental illness.
  4. Living with Mental Illness – a mental health consumer that experienced the early onset of mental illness shares a view from the inside, including a discussion about the positive and negative impact that their school experience had on their life.
  5. Group Discussion
  6. Closing Remarks and Evaluation

This program is designed for teachers, administrators, school health professionals and others in the school community.  NAMI is also developing a program module for parents and caregivers in the school community on the early warning signs of mental illnesses.

The program is designed to target schools in urban, suburban, rural, and culturally diverse communities.  The toolkit is being developed to be culturally sensitive and will include a Spanish language version.

NAMI is working with the University of Maryland on the evaluation component to measure the program’s success and to help ensure continuous quality and program improvement.

For more information about this program, please contact:

Julie Schwarts
Email: Julie@namiut.org, Phone:  801-869-2875

See also NAMI Utah’s school-based educational program for students, parents and educators, Hope for Tomorrow. (please link to HFT page)

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suicidepreventionlifeline.org