June 3, 2013

Bob Farrace, NASSP

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President Obama Applauds NASSP Efforts to Raise Awareness of Mental Health Issues Among Young People

Reston, VA–President Barack Obama today applauded the commitment of NASSP (National Association of Secondary School Principals) to raising awareness and understanding of mental health issues and their impact on youth.

At today's National Conference on Mental Health, hosted at the White House, the White House issued a brief fact sheet that highlighted NASSP's specific commitment to "call on its 25,000 members—middle and high school principals and assistant principals from across the country—to hold an assembly on mental health awareness by the end of 2013."

"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," said NASSP Executive Director JoAnn Bartoletti. "More and more, principals are identifying students who may need intervention in earlier grades. Ensuring that these students have access to mental health services is vital to creating a safe climate for learning."

NASSP is collecting commitments from middle schools and high schools across the country to participate in the national dialogue by holding assemblies 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 assemblies will be designed by each school to best fit the needs of its student body, with content provided at, also released today to support the ongoing dialogue about mental health issues. NASSP issued a "soft" appeal to schools earlier this spring in anticipation of the National Conference event. Already, schools in nearly all 50 states have indicated their commitment to hold assemblies. NASSP anticipates a spike in commitments at with the formal White House event.

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The National Association of Secondary School Principals (NASSP) is the leading organization of and national voice for middle level and high school principals, assistant principals, and all school leaders from across the United States and more than 36 countries around the world. The association provides research-based professional development and resources, networking, and advocacy to build the capacity of middle level and high school leaders to continually improve student performance. Reflecting its long-standing commitment to student leadership development, NASSP administers the National Honor Society, National Junior Honor Society, National Elementary Honor Society, and National Association of Student Councils. For more information about NASSP, located in Reston, VA, visit