Guidelines For School Assemblies on Mental Health Awareness
The American School Counselor Association (ASCA), the National Association of School Psychologists (NASP), and the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) are working together to provide schools, families, and communities resources to help increase awareness, understanding, and tolerance of mental health issues and mental illness in our society. We have joined with the National Association of Secondary School Principals to help promote and facilitate school assemblies on mental health to answer President Obama’s call for a National Dialogue on Mental Health.
Our goals in promoting school-based assemblies on mental health are to:
- Educate students and teachers about mental health and mental illness
- Empower students to speak openly about mental health;
- Support students and families in making lifestyle changes that promote mental health;
- Encourage students to seek help when they need it and speak up when they see others in need.
School counselors, school psychologists, and school social workers are the most qualified school staff to address the mental health needs of students and identify those students and families in need of more intensive services. These professionals are also ideally equipped to help facilitate mental health assemblies and other programming to educate students, teachers and administrators about mental illness. Additionally, school-employed mental health professionals are available to provide ongoing in-service training and consultation for teachers, principals, and other school staff, and to implement school-wide programs to improve school climate and conditions for learning. These professionals should be available in every school to address these critical needs and support schools in their mission of academic achievement. We offer the following resources to help plan for and implement school mental health assemblies.