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APA Foundation to Expand School Mental Health Program with Support from New SAMHSA Grant

  • September 21, 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C., – The American Psychiatric Association Foundation (APAF) is expanding its work in training K-12 school teachers and other personnel to recognize potential mental health concerns among students and to connect them with help when needed with the support of a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). The $560,000 grant will support implementation of the Foundation’s Notice. Talk. Act.® at School program over the next five years.

Notice. Talk. Act.® at School provides teachers and school personnel with training on evidence-based approaches and methods to help them connect and engage with students about mental health and other issues. The training curriculum focuses on the knowledge and skills needed to notice early warning signs of mental health conditions, to effectively talk to students exhibiting those signs, and to act to connect students and their families with appropriate services and supports when needed.

With this support from SAMSHA, the APA Foundation will offer, Notice. Talk. Act.® at School at more than 280 middle and high schools in Los Angeles and Atlanta over the five-year project. The training will be delivered to more than 28,000 middle and high school staff, including teachers, administrators, support staff, paraprofessionals, and contracted individuals (such as food service staff and custodial staff), impacting approximately 85,000 students. In addition, APAF’s companion program for parents and caregivers, Notice. Talk. Act.® at Home resources, will be distributed to families in the same communities and will be available to the general public online.

“Adolescence is a critical period for mental, social, and emotional development. Almost half of lifetime mental health disorders appear by age 14,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A., and APA Foundation Board Chair. “School personnel are uniquely situated to observe adolescent behaviors and to connect students to mental health resources and the Notice. Talk. Act.® at School program gives them the skills and tools to do that. We appreciate the support from SAMHSA that will allow us to continue this important work.”

A pilot of the program among more than 1,000 school personnel, impacting approximately 26,500 students in five states, found significant increases in mental health support referrals and significant decreases in major mental health events, discipline referrals and truancy. More than 90% of trained individuals said they had used the Notice. Talk. Act.® framework to connect students to appropriate support services throughout the school year.

“After several years of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social unrest, many students continue to struggle with mental health and emotional issues,” said APAF Executive Director Rawle Andrews, Jr., Esq. “We look forward to working with Chris Chun-Seeley and Joy Lloyd-Montgomery to expand the reach of the Notice. Talk. Act.® at School program to equip more educators with the APA Foundation’s evidenced-based tools to better support our students lead healthier and happier lives.”

American Psychiatric Association

The American Psychiatric Association, founded in 1844, is the oldest medical association in the country. The APA is also the largest psychiatric association in the world with more than 37,000 physician members specializing in the diagnosis, treatment, prevention and research of mental illnesses. APA’s vision is to ensure access to quality psychiatric diagnosis and treatment. For more information, please visit www.psychiatry.org.

American Psychiatric Association Foundation

The American Psychiatric Association Foundation is the philanthropic and educational arm of APA. The APA Foundation promotes awareness of mental illnesses and the effectiveness of treatment, the importance of early intervention, access to care, and the need for high-quality services and treatment through a combination of public and professional education, research, research training, grants, and awards. For more information visit www.apafdn.org.

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