Thriving Minds: Building Comprehensive School Mental Health Systems

Supporting students’ mental health is critical to ensuring that they can learn and thrive. For many young people, the isolation, uncertainty, and trauma of the past year have bred anxiety and depression, with potentially long-lasting effects on their success in school and beyond. Schools must respond to this need by providing thoughtful and effective mental health supports. Offering timely interventions is only one part of the solution, though—investing in a range of isolated initiatives won’t lead to schoolwide structures that address student mental health in meaningful, consistent ways. Instead, schools should seek to build comprehensive mental health systems that allow them to support the wellbeing of all students, now and in the future. 

The Rennie Center, the Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium, and BRYT (Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition) have teamed up with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on a new initiative, Thriving Minds. Through a series of learning opportunities, educators will receive guidance and support on building comprehensive school mental health systems that address the holistic needs of their students. 

The foundation for these learning opportunities will be a series of professional development workshops on the fundamental components of a comprehensive school mental health system—such as data, interventions, and infrastructure—all presented with a racial equity lens. School teams wishing to go deeper will have the opportunity to participate in ongoing learning cohorts with peers engaged in similar work. And for teams with a plan to advance toward a comprehensive school mental health system, we will offer mini-grants to support implementation and shared learning.

 

Upcoming Sessions

Educator Wellness

For students and the adults that support them, the first half of the school year has been filled with constant change, ongoing uncertainty, unspoken losses, and increases in the manifestation of intense emotions. This session will explore ​they ways in which dysregulation impacts everyday functioning and emotions. Additionally, strategies will be discussed that can help foster regulation and resilience for kids and adults. Specifically, what things within our sphere of control can we let go of and cultivate to create a greater sense of belonging, wellness, and connection? This session is presented by BRYT in partnership with the MA School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC) and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy.

Tuesday, December 7th
3:00-4:30 pm
Audience: Administrators, Mental Health Staff, and Educators 

Register

Needs Assessment, Resource Mapping, and Professional Development Planning

In this session, participants will gain insight into the systems and practices that support the establishment of a Comprehensive School Mental Health System (CSMHS), including how to assess needs and map existing resources using the SHAPE System. Additionally, participants will discuss how best to support the continued development of school-based mental health staff (school counselors, adjustment counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists) and how each of these roles can help provide evidence-based mental health services across all tiers of a CSMHS. This session is presented by the MA School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC) in partnership with BRYT and the Rennie Center for Education Research & Policy.

Thursday, December 9th
3:00-4:00 pm
Audience: Administrators, Mental Health Staff, and Educators 

Register

 

New Learning Cohort

In partnership with the Center for Child Wellbeing and Trauma, Thriving Minds is now accepting applications from district teams interested in participating in a new Learning Cohort on Trauma-Informed Practices for School Mental Health. This program will train participants to develop and apply trauma-informed practices in their schools and districts. Through a series of professional development opportunities and cohort-based discussions, participants will deepen their understanding of and commitment to trauma-informed and healing-centered practices while also supporting the implementation of these practices, now and in the future.

Learning Cohort Members will participate in: 

Monthly professional development sessions on systems and practices to establish trauma-informed schools, such as:

  •                Understanding the causes of trauma and identifying the symptoms of trauma
  •                Incorporating trauma-sensitive classroom practices (Tier I)
  •                Using cognitive behavioral therapy and other Tier II/III interventions
  •                Teaming to support the implementation of trauma-informed and healing-centered systems and practices
  •                Applying anti-racist practices to support healing for each and every student
  •                Establishing systems to screen for trauma
  •                Addressing the effects of secondary trauma on educators

Bi-monthly coaching where Learning Cohort members can work on developing action plans for their settings and applying content from professional development sessions.


Applications are due on Friday, December 3rd.

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