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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Most students in middle grades are experiencing emotional and physical changes brought on by the onset of puberty. Some seventh and eighth grade students can seem “moody” as they experience the many physiological changes their bodies are going through. At this age, students are feeling many emotions but may not realize how these emotions impact their behavior. As a health education teacher, administrator, or other educator, you are in a unique role to support and encourage your students during a physically and emotionally challenging time. Building self-awareness through standards-based instruction on mental, emotional, and social health can foster academic success and emotional wellbeing for a lifetime. ​​

The Orange County Department of Education does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of links to particular items in hypertext are not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed or products or services offered on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.​​​

Information and Resources


Calling all middle and high school students (ages 13+) and staff in California to get trained in suicide prevention!​ If you are an employee working in any public middle or high school in California, you are eligible to complete this training at no cost. Middle and high school students and staff take the same training program. Students who complete LivingWorks Start are eligible to earn 90 minutes of community service hours. This training is sponsored by California Assembly Bill 1808.

Never a Bother (CDPH)

Never a Bother is a campaign launched in 2024 by California Department of Public Health’s Office of Suicide Prevention. Our big goal is to prevent suicide among teens and young adults in California. We also want to reduce self-harm, while encouraging friends to recognize the power they have to support someone in crisis.

The Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL)

CASEL’s mission is to help make evidence-based social and emotional learning (SEL) an integral part of education from preschool through high school.​​

Mental Health and Youth Suicide Prevention - CDE

A listing of resources to help school districts address the need for youth suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention, including a model youth suicide prevention policy for local educational agencies (LEAs). ​

National Alliance for Mental Health (NAMI): Mental Health Education

NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to building better lives for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness.​ They provide education classes, presentations, and outreach, advocacy & wellness related resources for students and families, including, NAMI Ending the Silence and NAMI Hearts + Minds.​​

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention provides information about suicide, including risk factors and warning signs, statistics and treatment, and how to report about it responsibly.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center provides information, programs, and training. on suicide prevention.​​

Bring Change 2 Mind

Bring Change 2 Mind provides a collection of multimedia campaigns, curate storytelling movements, and develop youth programs to encourage a diverse cultural conversation around mental health.​

California Mental Health Services Agency

CalMHSA helps fund, develop, and implement mental health services and educational programs at the state, regional, and local levels.

National Association of School Psychologists

The National Association of School Psychologists provides information, resources,​ and training for school psychologists​.

Walk in Our Shoes

Walk in Our Shoes explores mental health from the perspective of other peoples' mental health​ journey. Learning about other people can help you understand that they’re still a lot like you — they’re just on a journey in different shoes. ​

#Chatsafe: A Young Person’s Guide for Communicating Safely Online About Suicide (PDF | 6.7 MB)

The #chatsafe guidelines have been developed in partnership with young people to provide support to those who might be responding to suicide-related content posted by others or for those who might want to share their own feelings and experiences with suicidal thoughts, feelings, or behaviors.​

Help a Friend in Need: A Facebook and Instagram Guide (PDF | 524 KB)

This resource provides information to promote emotional well-being and to share potential warning signs that a friend might be in emotional distress and need help. ​​

Seize the Awkward

Seize the Awkward ​campaign encourages teens and young adults to embrace the awkwardness and use this moment as an opportunity to reach out to a friend. The campaign focuses on that moment to break through the awkward silence to start a conversation about how they’re feeling. ​

Youth Mental Health First Aid

Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12–18) who is experiencing a mental health or addiction challenge or is in crisis. ​

Directing Change

The Directing Change Program and Film Contest was launched as a demonstration initiative as part of Each Mind Matters: California’s Mental Health Movement. 

Grit X

Grit X was Developed by The Young Adult and Family Center at the University of California at San Francisco. Grit X is a collection of tools to help young adults inspire grit, learn how to find resilience, and be able to tell their own stories, their own way.​​

The California Healthy Minds, Thriving Kids Project for Middle School - Child Mind Institute

These middle school-age videos feature interviews with a diverse group of real kids. They teach key skills, normalize challenges kids face, and help spark productive conversations.

Curriculum and Lessons

Erika's Lighthouse

A suite of programs designed to allow educators to empower teens with an introduction to mental health, depression-literacy, help-seeking and what it takes to promote good mental health. Focused on grades 4-12,  t​hese no-cost, skills-based programs use diverse teen voices to spread awareness and reduce stigma.​ Depression Awareness (Ideal for grades 5-9): An introduction to depression by recognizing signs and symptoms with a strong focus on help-seeking and good mental health.​ ​

CalHOPE Schools

The CalHOPE Schools Initiative links 3 powerful resources together at one easy access point for CA educators: A Trusted Space: Redirecting Grief to Growth, Angst: Building Resilience, and adds Stories of Hope: SHORTS.


Work2BeWell (W2BW) is a mental health and wellness program focused on providing mental health resources and education for teens, parents, and educators. Our goal is to promote teen wellness across the country, and work to normalize the conversation about mental health and reduce the stigma that surrounds it. 

WEL Lab - Wellness Education Lab

Practical & Empowering Mental Health Training. W​EL guides students (13+) through evidence-based content offering practical skills to improve mental health and resilience.

Personal Power: Middle School Curriculum - Safer, Smarter Teens

Personal Power is a series of six mental health lessons, individualized for Grades 6, 7 and 8, to bring awareness to the different aspects of mental health and the stigma associated.​


Grade 7 - 8


​Partnering with the Family​​

  • Networking with parents, family members, guardians, caretakers, and friends of the students plays a role in developing an environment that fosters a student’s resiliency and a teacher’s bond with the student. 
  • Invite parents, guardians, and caretakers to a presentation on youth mental health issues, such as Walk in Our Shoes, and provide information about community mental health resources to support parents. 
  • Mental health notices and resources should be visible in class and readily available for student, parent, guardian, and caretaker access. ​

​​Partnering with your School​​​

  • Students can become school advocates for mental, emotional, and social health by promoting a positive and respectful school environment.
  • Students can create a campus-wide campaign to promote any of the issues covered in this section, such as lessening the stigma linked to mental health issues or awareness of the school’s required suicide prevention policy. Refer to The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for school-based programs and student training resources. 
  • Students can also create a school club on stress management where they not only promote stress prevention at school but also plan and enjoy health-promoting activities together. ​

​​Partnering with your Community​​

  • Students create a resource directory of mental health services in the community including immigrant and refugee services. 
  • Invite mental health speakers including age-group peers who have struggled with mental health issues. Some community-based organizations have memorandums of understanding or agreements with schools to provide anger management, stress management, or grief counseling services. 
  • Teachers are encouraged to check with their school or district regarding the availability of services.  ​
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