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​​​​​​​​​​Adolescence can be a challenging time for some students. Many high school students are experiencing physical, emotional, hormonal, sexual, social, and intellectual changes that may seem overwhelming. For some teens, these changes may lead to one or more mental health disorders (AAP 2017). Mental health conditions are considered by some as the most pervasive chronic disease (USDHHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 2018). Building self-awareness through standards-based instruction on mental, emotional, and social health can foster academic success and emotional wellbeing for a lifetime. Learning activities that include setting goals assist students in self-discovery of their strengths and can be particularly important at this juncture. ​

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.

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.​

Teen Mental Health

Teen Mental Health provides mental health literacy information, research, education and resources. ​

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.

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. ​​

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 High School - Child Mind Institute

These high school-age videos feature real high schoolers sharing about mental health challenges they face and how they cope.​

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 Education & Suicide Awareness (Ideal for grades 8-12): A deeper discussion about depression and suicide along 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.

Safe Zone Project

The Safe Zone Project (SZP) is a free online resource providing curricula, activities, and other resources for educators facilitating Safe Zone trainings (sexuality, gender, and LGBTQ+ education sessions), and learners who are hoping to explore these concepts on their own. ​

Active Minds Peer-Powered Mental Health Curriculum for High Schools

The Active Minds Peer-Powered Mental Health Curriculum for High Schools empowers and prepares high school students with the knowledge and skills to start conversations about mental health. The FREE 13-lesson curriculum can be facilitated in classrooms or to enhance the mental health programming of Active Minds’ high school chapters or other student groups. High schools do not need to have an Active Minds chapter to request the curriculum.​​

Be the Change: High School Curriculum - Safer, Smarter Teens

​​Be the Change is a series of six mental health lessons, for Grades 9-12, to help students understand different mental states and mental illnesses common in teenagers.

Films and Books

Grade 9 - 12


​Partnering with the Family​​

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

​​Partnering with your School​​​

  • To promote a positive and respectful environment, students can become a school advocate for social and emotional health by promoting a positive and respectful school environment. 
  • Students create a school-wide campaign to promote any of the issues, such as lessening the stigma linked to mental health issues. 
  • Students, teachers, and administrators should partner to bring greater awareness of the school’s required suicide prevention policy and the tools and resources available for suicide outreach and prevention. 
  • Students can also create a school club focused on stress management where they not only promote stress prevention at school but also plan and enjoy activities together such as hiking, going to a movie together, or watching a school athletic team compete. ​

​​Partnering with your Community​​

  • Students create a resource directory of mental health services in the community for distribution at places where youth congregate. 
  • Invite speakers from mental health organizations, including age-group peers who have struggled with mental health issues, to speak at a forum held at the school and open to the community. ​
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