Coronavirus/COVID-19

Mental and Behavioral Health

  • Promoting Student Engagement, Learning, Wellbeing and Safety — School Year 2021-2022 (Released Summer 2021) : (Power Point slides ) 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 a training 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. Whether students are fully in person, hybrid, or fully remote, it is likely 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.

  • Comprehensive School Mental Health System Opportunity: The Department, in partnership with the Massachusetts School Mental Health Consortium (MASMHC), is engaged with selected districts in a learning collaborative facilitated by the National Center for School Mental Health during the 2021-2022 school year. The initiative includes professional development, technical assistance, and ongoing coaching to pilot practices to support the establishment of a comprehensive school mental health system. For more information, see the brief overview. Anyone with questions can contact DESE's Office of Student and Family Support at achievement@doe.mass.edu or 781-338-3010. You can also use this online interest form if you would like to receive information about additional related opportunities as they arise.

  • 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: January 10, 2022

 
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