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National Dialogue on Mental Health

As part of President Obama’s proposal to launch a national dialogue to increase understanding about mental health and its impact on youth, we are calling upon school leaders to address these issues with your students. Most educators are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of troubled students that are known to lead to violent behavior, and pinpoint interventions working with their colleagues in mental health. More and more, principals are identifying students who may need intervention in the earliest grades, often with an overwhelming number of cases as early as kindergarten. Ensuring that these students have access to mental health services is vital to creating a safe climate for learning.

Middle schools and high schools across the country are being invited to participate in this important conversation by holding an assembly on emotional health, negative attitudes toward people with mental illness, and the importance of reaching out to a responsible adult for help when needed. The content of the assembly will be designed by each school to best fit the needs of its student body, but in the coming weeks the Department of Health and Human Services will launch a new website with tips on how to talk about mental health and resources to connect individuals to mental health services when needed.

The White House plans to launch this national conversation at an event in March, and we are inviting schools in every state to join the dialogue by committing to holding a school assembly on mental health before the end of 2013.

Express your commitment here to hold a mental health assembly at your school: