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School Mental Wellness Resources

Mental Health is defined by the World Health Organization as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes their own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to their community.”  Much like physical health, mental health is a continuum from positive mental wellbeing to mental illness.

RIDE works to integrate mental wellbeing into a Multi-Tiered System of Supports that provides ongoing resources and services. These efforts help to build mental health literacy among faculty, staff, youth and families, as well as provide early identification and tiered interventions to those that are in need.

Many schools across the nation have begun to prioritize behavioral and mental health. Some in response to COVID-19, and some in response to the growing trends that show a need for early mental health supports for youth and families. This page is a collection of resources and guidance that are the result of the culmination of work through three federally funded efforts in the areas of school health and climate. These efforts are:

USDOE School Climate Transformation Grant

The RI Department of Education collaborates with the Center for Leadership and Educational Equity and MTSS-RI to support the School Climate Transformation Network.  Training and Technical assistance are provided to funded schools and a team from RIDE to increase high and equitable academic and wellbeing outcomes by developing a transformative culture through strong social emotional learning and mental health strategies using a multi-tiered system of support framework.  For more information, contact Samantha Brinz at samantha.brinz@ride.ri.gov or 401-222-8952. 

SAMHSA Project AWARE Grant

Project AWARE works with identified LEAs to provide professional development opportunities to increase mental health literacy as well as support and guidance to connect schools and communities with appropriate resources and services.  For more information, contact Kristen Petrarca at kristen.petrarca@ride.ri.gov or 401-222-8998.

USDOE School Based Mental Health Grant

This grant will increase the number of qualified mental health service providers providing school based mental health services to students. Recruitment and retention strategies will be developed, implemented and evaluated.  Respecialization for community based providers interested in working in schools will also be explored. For more information, contact Natalie Fleming at natalie.fleming@ride.ri.gov or 401-222-8991. 

Through these efforts, RIDE has implemented the School Health Advisory Council (SHAC).  The purpose of this council is to advise RIDE and other partners on policies, programs, and practices that promote equitable access to high quality school and community-based mental health and related services for youth and their families.  Currently there are 39 organizations/LEA’s represented on the SHAC with over 60 members.  The SHAC was initially convened to provide guidance for Project AWARE. As the resources to support behavioral health in schools grew, the scope of the SHAC broadened to guide all funded behavioral health efforts described above. 

“Mental health is everyday all day.”

Current Mental Health Initiatives

Nathan Bruno and Jason Flatt Act of 2021

  • Nathan Bruno and Jason Flatt Act of 2021 
  • Requires training of teachers, students, & school personnel regarding suicide awareness and prevention, and the establishment of a conflict resolution process between teachers or school personnel and students.  It requires each district to develop and adopt a student suicide prevention policy including prevention, intervention, and postvention 
  • Currently a model policy is in development and will be posted upon completion 

Current Mental Health Data

  • EOHHS (in development) 
  • SurveyWorks is Rhode Island’s annual school culture and climate survey, providing valuable perception feedback from students, educators, and families on how to improve Rhode Island Schools.  Feedback is collected on topics including belonging, relationships, teaching and learning, growth mindset, school climate, leadership, well-being and social emotional Learning.   
  • Youth Risk Behavior Survey is conducted through the RI Department of Health and assesses adolescent behavioral health risks of public school students in grades 6 through 12.  Results help policy makers, school administrators, social workers, and health personnel monitor risk behaviors of middle and high school students as well as to plan and improve youth based programs, develop effective interventions, and develop classroom lessons, school policies, and procedures geared towards reducing health risk behaviors among adolescents. 

LEAP Recommendations

Resources and Webinars for:  

Educators

School Mental Health Professionals

School Administration

Parents and Caregivers

Students

  • Mind Out Loud: Middle and High School Students boldly discussing mental health, Mind Out Loud inspires students to live authentic lives 
  • Trevor Project Resources for LGBTQ Youth - Access information preventing suicide and unique resources for youth.  Topics include well-being on Instagram and coping with anxiety and stress.   
  • Youth Pride RI is dedicated to meeting the unique needs of youth and young adults impacted by sexual orientation and gender identity/expression. 
  • JED Foundation Mental Health Resources - Provides essential information about common emotional health issues and shows teens and young adults how they can support one another, overcome challenges, and make a successful transition to adulthood. 

Additional Resources and Important Links