School Programs

An image of three photos in a row. The left photo shows a women with an inquisitive expression raising her hand to ask a question. The center photo is a woman giving a speech in a classroom. The right photo is two elderly women laughing in the park.

Programs for Students and Schools

It’s time for action. 1 in 5 kids experience a mental health condition, but only 20% of them actually receive services. Nearly 5o% of students ages 14 and older with a mental health condition will drop out of school. By helping students and school personnel learn how to recognize risk factors and early warning signs of mental health problems and providing valuable resources and support information, NAMI programs can aid in successful recovery and often prevent unnecessary suffering. NAMI programs also help to battle the stigma often surrounding mental health conditions and help to make a difference in the lives of youth and their families.

Contact Susan Caban at scaban@namiswpa.org or (412) 366-3788 for scheduling and information.

Middle and High School Students: NAMI's Ending the Silence

Helping middle and high schoolers understand mental health issues makes a big difference. NAMI’s Ending the Silence (ETS) teaches students how to recognize early warning signs for themselves and their friends, where and how to get help, and when it’s not okay to keep a secret. The in-school presentation helps to raise awareness and change misconceptions of mental health disorders.

ETS  is designed for middle and high school age youth and can fit into a 42/50 minute class period. Students will leave the presentation equipped with facts and statistics regarding youth and mental health. More importantly, they will hear personal testimony about the challenges and triumphs of living with a mental health diagnosis. Students will also have the rare opportunity to ask questions and have an informed dialogue with both a family member and an individual who are affected by mental illness.

Knowing how to start the conversation is an important part of maintaining one’s mental health, and ETS can empower students with this tool. The ETS program aims to instill a message of hope and recovery, to encourage and educate teens how to actively care for themselves and their peers, and to reduce the stigma that can block a young person’s path to wellness.

Learn more about ETS or download a one-page Ending the Silence flyer.

School Personnel: Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is an 8-hour course designed to teach parents, caregivers, educators, school staff, coaches, human service workers, youth group leaders, and caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge or crisis. This free, one-day course is for any adult who regularly interacts with young people. At the end of the class, each attendee will be certified as a Mental Health First Aider through the National Council for Behavioral Health.

For additional information on the course, download a Youth MHFA flyer or visit the Mental Health First Aid website.

University Students and Staff: Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education

Mental illness and substance use challenges often come to light during young adulthood when many individuals are students at colleges and universities. This module is specially designed for college and university staff, faculty and students so that they may learn to help each other within a framework of their unique culture and set of resources. This module is ideal for anyone working with a population ages 18 to 24, including students themselves. Upon successful completion of the training, attendees will be certified as a Mental Health First Aider by the National Council for Behavioral Health.

For more information, download a Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education flyer.

NAMI In Our Own Voice: Living with Mental Illness

NAMI In Our Own Voice presentations change attitudes, assumptions, and stereotypes through the power of personal stories. This free, 90-minute, interactive presentation provides audiences a first-hand account of what it’s like to live with a mental health diagnosis while offering hope and providing insight into the fact that recovery is possible for people with mental illness.

NAMI IOOV presentations provide:

  • A first-hand account of what it’s like to live with a mental illness. Presenters humanize this misunderstood topic by demonstrating that it’s possible—and common—to live well with mental illness.
  • A chance to ask the presenters questions, which allows for a deeper understanding of mental health conditions and dispels stereotypes and misconceptions.
  • The understanding that hope and recovery are possible for individuals who have a mental health diagnosis.

This presentation is appropriate for peer groups, community organizations, educational settings, and mental health professionals. Download an In Our Own Voice flyer for more information. If you would like to host a presentation for your group, please contact Susan Caban at 412-366-3788 or scaban@namiswpa.org.

Parents and Teachers as Allies

Parents and Teachers as Allies (PTA) is a one-to-two hour in-service program that empowers teachers and school personnel to make a lasting difference in the lives of their students. This presentation will share how to recognize early warning signs of mental health conditions and suicide, how to communicate and partner with families effectively, and how to link to community services. The program also allows participants to hear personal testimonies from a parent raising a child with a mental health diagnosis and a young person who has faced the challenges of living with mental health issues during their school years. The presentation is provided by NAMI at no cost to school districts.

Contact Susan Caban at (412) 366-3788 or email scaban@namiswpa.org for information about the program and scheduling your own presentation.

Visit the PTA page for additional information or download the following: PTA flyer and Why PTA? handout.

Customized Presentations

Customized presentations for school personnel, parents and/or students are available upon request. Sample topics include Managing Anxiety in Youth; Recognizing Early Onset Mental Illness in Children and Adolescents; Why Can’t This Child Behave?; Understanding Mental Illness in the Classroom; What is Mental Illness?; and Parents as Education Advocates.

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