Mental Health in the Schools

Resources for Iowa Schools and Parents

  • Office of Consumer Affairs – A statewide resource for information, referrals, community education, individual education, problem solving and system navigation.

    855-622-4692 (855-OCA-IOWA)
    Office of Consumer Affairs/NAMI Iowa
    3939 Merle Hay Road, Suite 229
    Des Moines, Iowa 50310

  • Mental Health First Aid for Children – This website will help you search for courses offered in your area.  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. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders (including AD/HD), and eating disorders.
  • NAMI Basics Course – NAMI Basics is the signature education program for parents and other caregivers of children and adolescents living with mental illnesses.  The NAMI Basics course is taught by trained teachers who are the parent or other caregivers of individuals who developed the symptoms of mental illness prior to the age of 13 years. The course consists of six classes, each lasting for 2 ½ hours.   Classes may be offered weekly for six consecutive weeks, or may be offered twice per week for three weeks to accommodate the hectic schedules of parents. All instruction materials are FREE to participants. For locate a class near you, contact NAMI Iowa at; (515) 254-0417; 3839 Merle Hay Road , Suite 229, Des Moines, IA 50310
  • NAMI Ending the Silence Program – Helping middle and high schoolers understand mental illness makes a big difference. We can teach them about the warning signs for themselves and their friends. NAMI Ending the Silence helps raise awareness and change perceptions around mental health conditions. Through this free classroom presentation, students get to see the reality of living with a mental health condition. During the 50-minute presentation, a young adult living with mental illness and a family member tell their stories about mental health challenges, including what hurt and what helped. For arrange a presentation at your school, contact NAMI Iowa at; (515) 254-0417; 3839 Merle Hay Road , Suite 229, Des Moines, IA 50310
  • Please Pass the Love – Please Pass the Love is committed to increasing school-based mental health supports to improve the quality of life and educational opportunities for children, families, and educators as well as offer culturally responsive comprehensive services and evidence-based supports to school systems. We strive to bridge positive relationships between the educational and mental health communities to more effectively prevent and address mental health issues for our children and adolescents throughout the state of Iowa. They offer conferences and trainings for educators, parents, and youth as well school-wide programming.
  • Tourette Ambassador – Iowa has a Tourette Ambassador! The TAA Youth Ambassador Program brings together, trains and supports teens to advocate for and talk about Tourette and Tic Disorders in their community, with their elected officials and before their peers at school, sports leagues, scout troops, camps and afterschool programs. If you would like to arrange a presentation, contact

Upcoming Events for Parents and Educators

  • October 17, 2017 Iowa School Mental Health Conference –  Join hundreds of teachers, administrators, support staff, counselors, psychologists, therapists, parents, and many more from across the midwest for the only school mental health conference in Iowa.
  • November 10, 2017Digital Literacy Conference: The Media, Critical Thinking & Wellness -Experience one of the most renowned groups of experts in the world to have ever been brought together for one day. This ground-breaking conference on digital literacy explores the latest global developments in critical thinking skills for the 21st century. This issue is of critical importance to educators, parents, professionals, faith community and business leaders. If you wonder about the effects of media on health, educational achievement, workplace productivity, body image, aggression, and wellness you do not want to miss this. Find the rest of the Digital Literacy Story in the documents to your right. Who should attend this conference:  Educators, treatment providers, prevention counselors, and persons involved in child behavior and health care.
  • November 17, 2017NAMI Iowa Annual Conference – This year with a special track on School mental health including the following sessions: !) Alteranatives to Punishment in K-12 Schools by Sean Casey, Consultant, Challenging Behaviors, The Iowa Department of Education; 2) Special Education Rights for Parents by Nate Kirstein, J.D., Staff Attorney and Beth Rydberg, Senior Staff Advocate, Disability Rights Iowa’ and 3) School Accommodations by Susan Gill form Ask Resources.

State and Federal Code

Data Resources

Policy and Policy Recommendations



Reports, Articles and Media Coverage

Mental Health in the Schools – General

Restraint and Seclusion

 Alternatives to Restraint and Seclusion

School-to-Prison Pipeline

 Special Education

Trauma-Informed Care

Programs, Grants, and Initiatives


Positive Behavioral Intervention & Supports – U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) Technical Assistance Center

Sandy Hook Promise Know the Signs Prevention Programs: 1 Signs of Suicide Prevention Program for middle and high school students. 2 Say Something Program which trains children and teens how to recognize signs, especially in social media, of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and say something to a trusted adult to get them help. 2. Safety Assessment & Early Intervention – training for schools and community organizations on how to identify, assess, and respond to threatening behaviors before they escalate to violence. 4 Start with Hello – Teaches children, teens and young adults how to be more socially inclusive and connected to one another. All training is paid for by Sandy Hook Promise.


  • Executive Summary of Now is the Time Mental Health Grant, May 12, 2016,
  • Project Aware Grant (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education)
    Awarded October 2014, a five-year 9.6 million dollar federal grant through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and SAMSHA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration). It is part of the Now Is the Time federal initiative to make schools safer and increase youth and children’s access to mental health services and supports.
  • School Climate Transformation Grant
    Awarded October 2014. This is a federal grant through the U.S. Department of Education. It is complementary to the Project Aware Grant. Both grants are part of the Now Is the Time federal initiative to make schools safer and increase youth and children’s access to mental health services and supports.