The foundations for good mental health must be laid early in life. According to the American Psychiatric Association, 50% of mental illnesses manifest by age 14. Parents, families, and school personnel all have the opportunity to have a positive impact on the mental health of the children in their lives.

Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) impact the mental health of today’s youth. ACEs include divorce, abuse, neglect, and mental health conditions or addiction in the household. They have been shown to have a negative impact on brain and emotional development, particularly in children with 4 or more ACEs. ACEs contribute to chronic mental and physical illnesses later in life.

Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana (MHANI) follows guidelines set forth by the Indiana School Mental Health Initiative.

Teachers & Schools

Uplifting Teachers and Administrators

Teachers and administrators are in an important position to support the social, emotional, and mental health of students. However, most schools and their personnel require some preparation before implementing social and emotional learning (SEL) curricula. This is where Mental Health America of Northeast Indiana (MHANI) can help.

Through a three-step process, MHANI helps schools prepare an environment where SEL can be most effective.


Step One: Establish a Foundational Understanding

Knowledge is power and gaining understanding is the basis of the system we work within. Teachers who understand their own neurobiology and emotional well-being are more able to model positive regulation and guide students to develop high levels of emotional intelligence.

Our primary goal at this phase is to support teachers and help them identify and understand their own level of self-awareness and compassion satisfaction. Wellness tools are introduced and practiced in order for teachers to better balance their own stress before being asked to focus on students’ social-emotional learning.

“I’m surprised that few people seem to connect the dots back to their own children. When I think of my daughter, I know that I don’t want her to spend an entire day with an adult who is feeling overwhelmed, under-appreciated, and mistreated.”

— How Many Teachers are Highly Stressed?

Professional Development for teachers address common issues such as:

  • Mental Well-Being

  • Regulation and Co-Regulation

  • Brain State

  • Neurobiology

  • Natural Supports

  • ACES

  • Secondary trauma

  • Avoiding Burnout and Teacher Turnover

During this phase, teachers can also participate in Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) courses. The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP®) is a personalized wellness and recovery system born out of and rooted in the principle of self-determination. Working with a WRAP® can help individuals to monitor uncomfortable and distressing feelings and behaviors and, through planned responses, reduce, modify, or eliminate those feelings. WRAP was created by The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery. Learn more about our WRAP courses at our Peer Support page.

Administrators are welcome to attend any of the professional development opportunities described above. Administrators at the highest levels in schools can support the shift in workplace culture that is necessary for SEL implementation. Before students can be successful with SEL, teachers must feel that their own social and emotional health is supported within their own workplace culture.

“Administrators set the tone in their building for how teachers are perceived and supported. Prioritizing teacher well-being and giving higher rates of recognition and positive feedback to teachers versus criticism and judgment helps set a positive tone.”National Education Association

View our Training Menu and White Paper to learn more.


Step Two: Create a Team of Champions

In 2019, the Indiana Department of Education established a list of seven Social-Emotional Learning Competencies. Adoption of these competencies requires a cultural shift that extends the breadth and depth of a school district. MHANI supports schools during this shift.

The purpose of this step is to gather a group of teachers and staff who will serve as the SEL and emotional wellness advisory committee within your school. MHANI can help lead this team to do the work that is necessary to provide the most fertile ground to accept a culture of compassion that integrates Social-Emotional Learning Competencies district-wide. MHANI will meet with the team, explain the competencies, and help this core group of leaders understand the importance of SEL as it relates to student behaviors and neurobiology.


Step Three: Establish a Shared Vision

MHANI will work with and guide administrative teams and teacher with the intention of setting district, school, and/or grade level goals. Together, questions such as: Why are we dedicated to SEL? Why is SEL important to our students? Why is SEL important for families? How will SEL help students live an independent and happy life? What is our SEL mission?

Services for Parents

Parent Cafes are fun, free, supportive, educational, parent-led get-togethers where parents can talk openly with one another about the struggles of parenting and ways to strengthen their families. Café discussions are led by parents who have been trained on how to help facilitate deep conversation. The goals of these sessions are to help parents help each other to

  • Grow stronger and more flexible

  • Build friendships

  • Learn about resources and obtain support

  • Add to parenting knowledge

Visit our Parent Cafe page to learn more and register for a Parent Cafe class.

Additional education opportunities are also available for parents. Visit our Events Calendar to find our next training.

Additional Resources

Indiana department of education
Indiana School Mental Health Initiative
Professional Quality of Life Scale Measure