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We are calling for more mental health and suicide prevention education in schools.

How we think about our mental health is developed early on in our lives: the strategies we use to process our emotions and learn to manage them, both by ourselves and when we could use a helping hand. It’s vital that we make mental health education a standard component of the learning experience, so that young people understand that mental health is part of all our lives, and know how to look out for their friends, feel comfortable asking for help, and are aware of the resources available to them.

Teachers and others who interact with students daily are in a prime position to recognize the signs of suicide risk and to support those students and their families in accessing help. We know early intervention can help save lives, and school staff need guidance and training to be able to connect a struggling student to the right resources. AFSP supports requirements for regular suicide prevention education for all staff in K-12 schools and the adoption of suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention policies. AFSP also supports the use of age-appropriate suicide prevention and mental health education for students as part of the health curriculum.

Below are several bills that AFSP supports:

This bill would support the mental health of school-aged children, by providing improved services and programs for early intervention for mental and behavioral health issues through the creation of a grant program to fund comprehensive mental health and suicide prevention education in school based settings. (S.3628)

This bill would expand funding for the Project AWARE grant program and would improve access to comprehensive school-based mental health services and supports through training for faculty, community members, and families. (S.1841/H.R.721)

This bill would address poor recruitment and retention of school-based mental health services providers in low-income educational settings through a grant program and student loan forgiveness program, to incentivize and better support this vital workforce. (S.1811/H.R.3572)

This bill would award grants to create a student mental health and safety helpline, which students who are dealing with abuse, bullying, depression, self-harm, or suicidal ideation, could access by phone, text, or social media, to be connected with resources and supports. (H.R.5235)



You can play an important role in championing the cause of more mental health and suicide prevention education in schools. Bring this and other mental health topics up when talking with others in your community, share a message on social media, and encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to help spread the word.

I Demand More School-based Education For Mental Health

AFSP has local chapters in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico, working to educate and provide support and resources to those around them. Visit your local chapter to find out what’s planned in your community and join the raised voices of thousands of volunteers and advocates to demand #MoreForMentalHealth.

Visit AFSP’s Action Center to learn more about the federal bills AFSP supports related to mental health and suicide prevention education in schools. Sign up to become an AFSP mental health and suicide prevention advocate, and join 40,000+ other passionate advocates dedicated to changing the culture around mental health.

Group of four women in front of the Capitol

A Mother’s Perspective: The Need for Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Education in Schools

By Wendy Sefcik

Group of four women in front of the Capitol

It’s more important than ever before that we make mental health and suicide prevention education in schools a priority – and the good news is that anyone can get involved in helping to advocate for it.