Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Logo
The Department has moved to 135 Santilli Highway in Everett. The Department's office and Licensure Welcome Center are open. The new location has free parking and is a short walk from the Wellington station on the MBTA's Orange Line.

Mental and Behavioral Health

  • Promoting Student Engagement, Learning, Wellbeing and Safety — School Year 2021-2022 (Released Summer 2021) : (Power Point slides / eLearning Module) The Department is providing this document to support district efforts to promote the wellbeing of students, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. This document replaces the January 2021 Promoting Student Engagement, Learning, Wellbeing and Safety document and includes guidance previously released by DESE, as well as new and updated resources to help districts develop, strengthen, and implement comprehensive systems for engaging with students and their families, connecting students and families with additional supports they may need, and promoting student safety. This document also includes racial equity and cultural responsiveness considerations to support districts in ensuring the wellbeing of all our students.

  • Ongoing Training Series — Thriving Minds: The Department, in partnership with the Rennie Center, Bridge for Resilient Youth in Transition (BRYT), and MASMHC, is pleased to offer a series of learning opportunities that offer educators guidance and support on building comprehensive school mental health systems that address the holistic needs of students.

  • Youth Mental Health First Aid: The Department is pleased to offer Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training sessions this year. Find the latest available dates, request up to two (2) trainings for your district and/or register for a session. The YMHFA training helps teachers and other school staff to recognize, support, and refer to professional mental health services, if needed, students who may be experiencing mental health or substance use challenges and/or may be in crisis. This training is particularly important to offer at this time as we are all navigating the challenges related to COVID-19 and heightened national discourse related to our country's long history of institutional racism. We know that teachers and other school staff are seeing increased numbers of students who report and demonstrate changes in mood as well as more intense feelings of anxiety and stress.

  • Examples of Mental and Behavioral Health and Wellness Supports for schools can also be found on the Office of Student and Family Support (SFS) webpages.

  • MA Tools for Schools is a clearinghouse from the Department of resources to support sustainable school improvement in Massachusetts. The MA Tools for Schools COVID-19 Resources page contains links to local and national resources for implementing multi-tiered systems of supports during this time.

A DESE Newsletter periodically shares updates and offerings related to holistic supports and enrichment, including efforts to help strengthen social emotional competencies, health, and safety. You can sign-up online for this and other Department newsletters.

Last Updated: October 5, 2022

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
135 Santilli Highway, Everett, MA 02149

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.