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2. Promoting Mental, Emotional, and Behavioral Health

Promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral health involves the implementation of strategies to enhance the well-being of youth by promoting pro-social behavior, teaching coping skills, and developing students’ skills at decision making, self-awareness, and conducting relationships. The potential benefits of promoting mental, emotional, and behavioral health are greatest when (a) efforts are focused on young people and (b) schools offer a natural setting to foster such promotion. 

The Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) initiative aims to decrease the number of students who abuse substances, to improve school climate, and to reduce the number of students who are exposed to violence. To meet these goals, SS/HS fosters partnerships between schools and mental health organizations and programs, so that students and families can benefit from increased access to school-based universal promotion, prevention, and early intervention services as well as the delivery of a broader and more intensive array of community-based mental health services. SS/HS encourages the use of empirically supported strategies to promote mental health and well-being, and to enhance students’ social and emotional competence.

Mental Health Awareness Month

Provides information on Mental Health Awareness Month. Mental health disorders are one of the leading causes of disability among adolescents, affecting about one in five children in this age group.  Infants and young children can also have mental health disorders that affect their relationships and overall development; about 1 in 10 children age birth to 5 experience social and emotional problems. Getting care and support for these problems early is essential to help prevent them from getting worse or interfering with growth and learning. 

Preparing Youth to Thrive: Promising Practices in Social Emotional Learning

Establishes best practice standards, developed by the Weikart Center for Youth Program Quality and eight out-of-school organizations, that linked to program effectiveness and supported by research, for building social and emotional learning (SEL) skills in six areas: emotion management, empathy, teamwork, initiative, responsibility, and problem solving. This guide presents standards and indicators of SEL practice, and four curriculum features shown to be foundational for supporting SEL practices.

Building Adult Capabilities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change

Depicts a theory of change from the Frontiers of Innovation community for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families. It describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children’s lifelong learning, health, and behavior.


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