Mental Health Education Institute

Mental Health Education Institute

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The youth mental health crisis is a giant puzzle. One of the missing pieces to address this epidemic is teaching about mental health in schools and supporting teachers with their mental health. This summer, Geffen Academy at UCLA is hosting in-person and virtual institutes for teachers to equip them 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. Past participants from the Institute share that taking part in this training improves their personal mental health, gives them confidence to talk about mental health, and prepares them to address difficult topics. 
This training institute for teachers will provide:

  • A common language to normalize mental health education and conversations in schools. It’s critical for faculty and staff to be on the same page with how to frame and discuss mental health.
    • 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, which decreases stigma and normalizes the experience.
  • Guidelines teachers can follow to use their personal stories effectively and responsibly. Educators can earn a BA, MA and PhD in education without ever receiving any guidance on how to safely use personal stories in a classroom. All educators benefit from these guidelines. 
    • 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 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 teaching about mental health is including a focus on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) to emphasize the role of 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 focusing 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 around the world mandate mental health curricula, it has become apparent that there isn’t a place to go to find what programs work best or collaborate with other teachers who have a shared interest. The institute will offer time for teachers to learn what approaches they are taking and other evidence-based programs.

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Dates: July 15-17, 2024
Monday, July 15: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Tuesday, July 16: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Wednesday, July 17: 9 a.m.-12 p.m.

Cost: $750 per individual or $2,000 per school (includes up to three attendees); $500 for each additional attendee
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.
Dates: July 18-19, 2024
  • Thursday, July 18: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Friday, July 19: 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Cost: $500 per person or $1,000 per school (includes up to three attendees)
For more information, contact Geffen Academy Wellness Director Ross Szabo at