Mental Health Education Institute

Mental Health Education Institute: "Using Your Story in the Classroom"

Stay tuned for dates in Summer 2024!

Schools around the world are searching for ways to support their students as we face a worldwide crisis of mental health. For the past four summers, Geffen Academy at UCLA has offered in-person and virtual mental health education institutes for teachers to equip themselves with tools to teach about the foundations of mental health in a regular classroom setting. Geffen Academy students in grades 6-12 have a weekly Wellness class that teaches them skills they can use to manage their mental health, build healthy relationships, develop healthy sexuality, and create more inclusive and equitable societies.

The Mental Health Education Institute for Educators provides:

  • Guidelines teachers can follow to use their personal stories effectively as part of a mental health curriculum
    • Research shows that one of the most effective ways to educate others about mental health is through personal storytelling. Teachers will learn how to employ numerous safeguards that allow them to utilize personal examples as a way to connect with students and de-stigmatize mental health.

  • A common language to normalize mental health education
    • Students know how to categorize differences in their physical health and it’s time to help them do the same with their mental health. Presenting mental health as a spectrum, providing language on the different types of mental health challenges, and promoting proactive self-care are critical elements of wellness education in schools. Additionally, supporting students with a shared vocabulary promotes dialogue, decreasing stigma and normalizing the experience.

  • A public health approach to mental health education 
    • Geffen Academy teachers use a public health approach to teach students skills that they can apply to address mental health challenges in their lives. Students learn about their mental health in a preventative and proactive manner. A critical aspect of mental health teaching is focusing on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to emphasize the role between individual health, community health, and just societies to provide more balance for everyone.

  • Guidance on how to teach mental health in all departments of a school
    • Geffen Academy utilizes lessons that focus on a student’s mental health in other departments throughout the school. We ask our teachers to build messaging about mental health into the scope and sequence for each grade. Teaching about mental health in other classrooms helps students see how the issue impacts different parts of their lives, rather than existing in isolation.

  • Time for sharing of best practices and other programs schools are using
    • As numerous states and countries worldwide mandate mental health curricula, it has become apparent that there isn’t a place to find what programs work best or collaborate with other teachers with a shared interest. The institute will offer time for teachers to learn what approaches they are taking and other evidence-based programs.


: Stay tuned for dates in Summer 2024!
Cost: $750 per individual or $2,000 per school (includes up to three attendees); $500 for each additional attendee

: Closed

Note: This program will take place in Los Angeles. All flights and lodgings should be booked independently. Breakfast and lunch will be provided on the first two days; only breakfast will be provided on the last day.


: Stay tuned for dates in Summer 2024!

Cost: $500 per person or $1,000 per school (includes up to three attendees)

: Registration Closed

For more information, contact Geffen Academy Wellness Director Ross Szabo at