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Staff Mental Health Perspectives, Competencies, and Wellness

Staff Mental Health Perspectives, Competencies, and Wellness


Adults in schools are shifting their perspectives to understand that attention to their students’ social-emotional and mental health needs is critical for their academic success. Students’ learning is enhanced through teacher/student relationships with self-reflection, listening, empathizing with the parent and student perspectives, and creating connections and supports.

Wisconsin School Behavioral Health Learning Community

The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), in partnership with CDC Healthy Schools Branch, formed a School Behavioral Health Advisory Committee to provide expertise on how states can expand and support access to school behavioral health programs and services. Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) and the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction (DPI) were selected for participation in the learning community, in partnership with a team of state stakeholders.

With a focus on expanding the capacity of school workforces to address behavioral health, the Wisconsin team conducted a survey of school administrators to explore the following two categories:

  • Environmental Scan: Behavioral health initiatives, programs, and tools that Wisconsin schools are currently implementing and have identified positive impacts and outcomes for workforce wellness.
  • Strength and Needs Assessment: The strengths and needs schools encounter when training and equipping staff to support student behavioral health.

A summary of the findings can be found in the Wisconsin School Behavioral Health Learning Community: School Administrator Survey Summary.

Mental Health Literacy and Stigma Reduction

Youth Mental Health First Aid is one of Wisconsin DPI’s spotlighted trainings on mental health. 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 addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. Contact the Wisconsin Safe & Healthy Schools Training and Technical Assistance Center for more information about attending or scheduling a Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

For additional opportunities to develop mental health literacy and reduce stigma, check out the following modules:

Self Care

Staff self-care is not only part of the comprehensive school health model, it is a necessary ingredient to the success of schools. Leaders and staff benefit from the knowledge, tools, and resources to be self-aware and promote their own health and well-being.

The Compassion Resilience On-Line Toolkit:

We want to show up as strong and compassionate educators every day. Compassion fatigue is real, and comes from caring about students whose needs can be complex.

Educators work in a larger context that is always evolving. Help yourself and your colleagues by learning about the skills and supports that build resilience. As leaders, empower your staff to manage the daily stresses of teaching.

Bottom line? Attract, support, and retain the best educators for Wisconsin’s children.

This online toolkit has activities that you can use right away, at no cost. Training and support are available.

Watch the following to learn more.

  • Teacher Care Meetings
    The Teacher Care Meeting protocol is a 20-minute brief intervention designed to provide the structure and communication style that will promote a positive meeting with parents/caregivers and a student. It is both strengths-based and collaborative, and designed to enhance student motivation for change. The Teacher Care Meeting was developed by local Wisconsin educators at a diverse middle school, and has become an integral part of the continuum of supports for students in numerous schools statewide. Parents and students have offered generous feedback about how positive these meetings are, and that they realized how much staff at school care. Teacher Care Meetings are successful, beginning in the upper elementary grades through high school. It is best applied with emerging issues at Tier Two, and generally addresses behavioral issues, motivation, attendance and academic work completion targets. Caution: this meeting may leave all attendees feeling energized and hopeful!
For questions about this information, contact Jessica Frain (608) 266-0986