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The Problem

Mental illness is a term used for a group of conditions that can cause disturbances in thinking, feeling, sensing, and relating to other people, which result in a diminished capacity for responding to the demands of life. Mental health conditions can affect people of any age, gender, race, religion, and social or economic background.

  • Mental health conditions affect 20% of children and adolescents.
  • One in two cases of mental illness begin by age 14.
  • One in two children with a mental health condition don’t receive treatment.
  • About 18 million children are living with a mental health condition.
  • 50% of children with a serious mental illness drop out of school. A large percentage of those who drop out end
    up in juvenile detention centers. (from Final Report of the President’s New Freedom Commission)

Allies for Student Mental Health is a two-hour professional development program designed to help K-12 teachers, parents and school staff work as allies to identify and understand mental health conditions that can have significant impact on students’ academic success and overall well-being.

The Solution

The program addresses a range of mental health conditions with emphasis on:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Oppositional Defiant Disorder
  • Trauma

It provides practical, solutions-oriented information, including:

  • Signs and symptoms
  • Resources
  • Classroom strategies and accommodations
  • Strengthening alliance with families
  • Understanding stigma and empathy

The Presenters

The program is presented by a panel of  engaging speakers with uniquely relevant  expertise and perspectives:

  • A young adult challenged by mental health issues as a student speaks about his/her experience in school.
  • A teacher offers personal classroom experiences, pedagogical strategies, and resources/tools for educators.
  • A parent shares the struggles and successes as his/her child progressed through the school system and tips for communicating with families.


  • Improved ability to recognize signs and symptoms of common youth mental health conditions
  • Awareness of resources, tools and strategies available to teachers, parents and staff
  • Increased success for vulnerable students


For more information on the “Allies for Student Mental Health” program and to schedule a presentation, please call Please contact Eliza Williamson, In Our Own Voice Coordinator, 617-580-8541, extension 221.  View or print out the brochure

Allies for Student Mental Health Reviews