Parents and Teachers as Allies is an in-service mental health education program for school professionals. This two-hour in-service program focuses on helping school professionals and families within the school community better understand the early warning signs of mental illnesses in children and adolescents and how best to intervene so that youth with mental health treatment needs are linked with services. It also covers the lived experience of mental illnesses and how schools can best communicate with families about mental health related concerns.
This program responds to the recommendations included in Goal 4 of President Bush’s New Freedom Commission report on mental health that calls for schools to play a larger role in the early identification of mental health treatment needs in children and in linking them to appropriate services. Our program is based on NAMI’s highly successful Parents and Teachers as Allies (P&TA) publication.
This program is designed for teachers, administrators, school health professionals, college students in the Education field, and parents
The components of the in-service education program for school professionals include the following:
- Welcome and Introductions – an education professional, who is also a family member, welcomes the school professionals and introduces the topics to be covered, often with a personal story.
- Early Warning Signs of Mental Illnesses – a facilitator walks the school professionals through the early warning signs of mental illnesses, closely following the PTAA publication.
- Family Response – a parent or caregiver of a child with mental illness covers the predictable stages of emotional reactions among family members dealing with the challenges of mental illness and the lived experience of raising a child with a mental illness.
- Living with Mental Illness – a mental health consumer who had experienced the early onset of mental illness shares a view from the inside, including a discussion about the positive and negative impact that their school experience had on their life.
- Group Discussion
- Closing Remarks and Evaluation