Mental Health Awareness Month

May 01, 2024

Mental Health is Health

School district leaders are charged not only with academic excellence but also with fostering environments that nurture the holistic development of students and educators alike.

This Mental Health Awareness Month, AASA is shining a spotlight on work-life balance and the value of professional networks. Below, we've compiled a list of tips and tools to support you in supporting your school community.

Work-Life Balance Tips for District Leaders
  1. Participate in activities that bring you joy and promote healthy habits.
  2. Use your vacation time.
  3. Be intentional about making time for your family and friends.
  4. Practice daily reflection.
  5. Find small blocks of time throughout the day to decompress.

Tips adapted from articles found in the June 2021 issue of School Administrator magazine.

Prioritize work-life balance from the start by making time for family, self-care, and hobbies to maintain mental and physical health. Don't mistake your career for your life.

Ann Levett, Assistant Associate Executive Director, AASA Leadership Network
Tools and Resources
 A Comprehensive Approach to Mental Health

In this AASA Radio episode, Dave Schuler, the executive director of AASA, focuses on mental health awareness in educational settings. Our distinguished guests include Superintendents Shari Camhi (Baldwin, N.Y.), Tobin Novasio (Hardin, Mont.) as well as Paul Imhoff and Ann Levett discussing initiatives in their respective districts aimed at improving student and staff mental health.

 School Administrator Magazine

January 2024: Examining some distinctive ways that public schools deliver health services to their communities today.

March 2023: Diving into how districts can attend to security on campuses and attend to students’ mental wellness.

August 2022: Exploring healing-centered leadership — how superintendents can balance collective trauma with their duty to lead.

 Youth Mental Wellness

AASA staff conducted site visits to four districts to assess students' risky behavior uptake, mental wellness and resilience in March and early April of 2023. The districts included Palm Beach County, Fla., Cannon County, Tenn., Loveland, Colo., and Leyden 212, Ill. These districts were then formed into a Community of Practice to address the behaviors identified during the site visits. Visit the Report

 Promoting Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools: An Action Guide for School and District Leaders

In December 2023, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a school mental health action guide to support school and district leaders in their efforts to support students’ mental health. Visit the Action Guide

 Research on Resilience and Mental Wellness in Leadership

To support AASA's mission of developing school leader capacity at every level, in 2022, AASA partnered with Hanover Research on the following reports:

 Live Well. Lead Well. Discussion Series

In 2022, AASA past president, Paul Imhoff, hosted a discussion series focusing on self-care, student care and staff care, plus leadership change and bringing communities back together. Visit the Series


Visit All AASA Resources on Mental Health and Wellness
Advocacy and Policy Updates
AASA-Led Legislation Introduced to Bolster Student Mental Health Services Nationwide

In March 2024, AASA endorsed a U.S. Senate bill introduced today aimed at widening access to competitive mental health grants on behalf of high-need, low-capacity school districts and students in geographically isolated areas. Read More 

Updates and News

May 2, 2024

A Journey Toward Connected Leadership: Reflections from the AASA Mental Health & SEL Summit

Superintendent Tricia Mooney reflects on her experience at AASA's 2024 SEL and Mental Health Summit in California.


February 16, 2024

Sourcewell Launches Youth Suicide Prevention Initiative; Applications Open for Hope Squads to be Started in Five School Districts

Sourcewell, AASA’s government cooperative procurement partner, and AASA are launching a program in partnership with Hope Squad to award five school districts the opportunity to start a suicide prevention program known as a Hope Squad.


August 29, 2023

‘I Want the World to be Better for Our Children,’ Says Goldie Hawn at Virtual Forum Focusing on Scaling Up Mental Health Support in Nation’s Schools

Hawn teamed up with AASA leadership and national education leaders on Aug. 14, 2023, in a virtual forum to discuss how scaling up mental health support and social and emotional learning can have a profound impact on our nation’s young learners.


July 20, 2023

AASA to Partner with ‘just keep livin’ Foundation to Make Schools Safer

AASA named a strategic partner in the Foundation's Greenlights Grant Initiative to help school districts access federal funding to support safe and healthy school environments.


March 20, 2023

15 School Districts Join JED and AASA in Transformational Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Program for Pre-K-12 Students

The Jed Foundation (JED) and AASA, The School Superintendents Association, announce the selection of 15 school districts to participate in the District Comprehensive Approach (DCA) pilot, a transformational program that guides districts in improving systems of support for pre-K-12 students’ emotional well-being. Inaugural district cohort members will be at the forefront of learning and leading powerful mental health and suicide prevention practices that will benefit both staff and students.


AASA partners with Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group to co-publish books for school leaders. AASA members receive 30% off on all co-published books! Learn more.

From Surviving to Thriving Book CoverBook cover: From Surviving to Thriving by Rich Drolet and Armand Pires

From Surviving to Thriving by Rich Drolet and Armand Pires

Resources and Practical Strategies for New, Aspiring, and Veteran Superintendents

From Surviving to Thriving: Resources and Practical Strategies for New, Aspiring, and Veteran Superintendents provides key actions and behaviors superintendents can use to be successful in their role. This text takes a topical approach, with each chapter dedicated to one key aspect of the superintendency. Included in this book are simple, easy-to-implement strategies that serve as a guide to support the leadership and development of any aspiring, new, or veteran superintendent. Check it out!


Implementing Social Emotional Learning
Book cover: Implementing Social-Emotional Learning by Sheldon Berman

Implementing Social-Emotional Learning by Sheldon Berman

Insights from School Districts’ Successes and Setbacks

Implementing Social-Emotional Learning: Insights from Districts’ Successes and Setbacks provides essential insights into the strategies that have enabled districts to effectively provide the benefits of social-emotional learning to their students. Building on case studies of six school districts that vary in size, geographic region, demographic diversity, per-pupil spending, staff capacity, and leadership style, this book offers indispensable observations about the factors that facilitate the deep integration of SEL into daily instruction and school culture. Check it out!


Prioritizing Health and Well BeingBook cover: Prioritizing Health and Well-Being by Brian K. Creasman

Prioritizing Health and Well-Being by Brian K. Creasman

Self-Care as a Leadership Strategy for School Leaders 

With the national focus on social and emotional well-being and work and life balance, a discussion focused on the superintendency with simple and practical strategies is offered. This book is written for any aspiring, novice, or veteran superintendent to utilize and gain an appreciation for the importance of their own health and well-being in terms of their overall effectiveness as a leader. Check it out!



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Share on Social

Use the images and sample posts below to share how and why you prioritize well-being and self-care!

Post 1: This Mental Health Awareness Month, let's remind ourselves: It's okay to ask for help. Supporting our mental well-being is essential for our community to thrive. Let's make mental health a priority—this month and every month. #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #LiveWellLeadWell

Post 2: May is Mental Health Awareness Month. As a school leader, I'm here to say every conversation we have about mental health breaks down stigma and strengthens our community. Let's talk, let's listen, let's support each other. #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth #LiveWellLeadWell

Mental Health is Health Superintendents Mental Health Matters Mental Health is Health Mental Health is Health


Be frank and honest. One of the battles we face with mental health initiatives is the stigma of simply talking about mental health issues. We as superintendents need to role model this for our communities. Mental health is health!

Tobin Novasio, Superintendent, Hardin Public Schools (Mont.)

Cohort Spotlights:

AASA Mental Health Cohort

Starting August 12

In this cohort, you'll collaborate with other leaders to devise strategic plans aimed at enhancing mental health services and support for all stakeholders within your schools, fostering overall well-being throughout your community. Participants will have the opportunity to engage with other leaders on a national level, forming a united coalition dedicated to implementing tangible and sustainable solutions.

Learn More

AASA Social and Emotional Learning Cohort

Starting August 28

This cohort provides you access to a vibrant community engaged in meaningful dialogue about how SEL is contributing to the whole child — from physical and mental health to the development of fundamental, lifelong learning skills. 

Learn More