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2021 Policy Institute: Addressing Youth Mental Health Needs in Schools

Mental Health America's 2021 National Policy Institute with Kaiser Permanente:

Addressing Youth Mental Health Needs in Schools

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

12:00 pm ET - 3:00 pm ET

Watch Now

COVID-19’s impact on the nation’s mental health is apparent and will be apparent for years to come. Yet, even more concerning is the impact on children and adolescents. MHA’s 2020 screening data indicates the population most impacted by the covid-19 crisis were youth ages 11-17 years old. This age group scored positively for anxiety and depression more often and more severely than other age groups. Suicide and self-harm also increased significantly in 2020 in youth ages 11-17 years with more than 35 percent of youth reporting having thoughts of suicide more than half the days of the month. Feelings of isolation and loneliness crept up as the leading factor contributing to a person’s mental state at the time of the screening, followed by feelings related to a past trauma.

MHA has partnered with Kaiser Permanente to host discussions with the nation’s leading education and health experts to highlight key principles to inform policies and practices of reopening schools that will help youth early and through equitable means. By meeting children and adolescents where they spend most of their time, in school, MHA and its affiliates are helping to prevent mental health crises before stage four.

A virtual meeting, Addressing Youth Mental Health Needs In Schools, will air on Tuesday, June 8, 2021, at 12:00 p.m. ET – 3:00 p.m. ET. Policy Institute is a 3-hour half-day event preceding MHA's Annual Conference. 


Agenda for Policy Institute on June 8, 2021
12:00 p.m. ET


Caren Howard, Mental Health America

MHA's B4Stage4 Philosophy
12:05 p.m. ET

Welcome Message Kickoff

Don Mordecai, M.D., Kaiser Permanente Support Center and Youth Trainings
12:10 p.m. ET

Lessons from MHA's 2020 Screening Data

Paul Gionfriddo, Mental Health America

MHA's 2020 COVID-19 Screening Data
12:15 p.m. ET

Panel 1: Reopening Schools

Elizabeth Cook, Healthier Generation

Sharon Hoover, National Center for School Mental Health

Joyce Dorado, University of California San Francisco

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

National Center for School Mental Health (NCSMH)

UCSF Hearts: Healthy Environments and Response to Trauma in Schools

12:40 p.m. ET

Principles from MHA's Education Policy Report: A Guide for Districts and Policymakers

Sydney Daniello, Mental Health America

Principles from MHA’s School-Based Mental Health Policy Report: A Guide for Districts and Policymakers
12:45 p.m. ET

Youth Advocacy: Call To Action

Angela Wallace, National Student Advocate

The Boston Globe: Lawmakers hear call to update public school curriculum
12:50 p.m. ET

Reducing Disparities Through School-Based Mental Health

Bernadeia Johnson, Minnesota State University

Mental Healthcare Access for Children through Schools
1:00 p.m. ET Break  
1:05 p.m. ET

Panel 2: Data and Innovative Solutions

Terri White, MHA of Oklahoma 

Jill Bohnenkamp, National Center for School Mental Health

Ben Ballman, DMV Students for Mental Health Reform

Mental Health Association Oklahoma

The SHAPE System


1:30 p.m. ET Presentation of the Youth Advocacy Award to Ben Ballman  
1:35 p.m. ET

Fireside Chat: Transforming Institutions 

Chelsea Prax, American Federation of Teachers

Moderated by: Laura Bay, Former President of the Parent Teachers Association and MHA Board Member

2:00 p.m. ET

Mindfulness Exercise Break

Laura Bakosh, Inner Explorer

Mindfulness-Based Interventions Improve Mental Health

Mindfulness in Schools

2:10 p.m. ET

Panel 3: Financing 

Mei Wa Kwong, Center for Connected Health Policy

Alexandra Mays, Healthy Schools Campaign

Phyllis Jordan, FutureEd 

The Center for Connected Health Policy

Medicaid Free Care Rule by State

U.S. Department of Education Guidance

2:45 p.m. ET

Youth Advocacy: Empowered

Melanie Zhou, Oasis Mental Health

Oasis Mental Health
2:50 p.m. ET


Annie Reed, Kaiser Permanente Thriving Schools

Building Healthier Schools for Youth and Staff


About Mental Health America

Mental Health America (MHA) - founded in 1909 - is the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to addressing the needs of those living with mental illness and to promoting the overall mental health of all Americans. Our work is driven by our commitment to promote mental health as a critical part of overall wellness, including prevention services for all; early identification and intervention for those at risk; integrated care, services, and supports for those who need it; with recovery as the goal.

Questions about the Policy Institute? 
Contact MHA's Executive Vice President of Policy, Mary Giliberti, at or MHA's Director of Policy and Advocacy, Caren Howard, at