National Governors Association Launches Project to Support Five States to Bolster Mental Health and Well-Being in Schools

Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon and Wyoming to develop projects to advance student and school staff mental health and well-being

Washington, DC – The National Governors Association (NGA) will collaborate with Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Oregon and Wyoming in efforts to support student and staff mental health and well-being in schools.

Governors have increasingly prioritized supports for addressing mental health and well-being in schools, particularly given the amplified impact on students, educators, and families brought on by the pandemic.  

Through the NGA project, Governors’ offices will receive support from NGA and national and state partners and engage in peer learning opportunities as a cohort. States will receive grant support, provided by The Wallace Foundation, to develop and carry out action plans focused on one or more priority areas, including: developing a statewide whole child or comprehensive youth development vision; ensuring K-12 students possess key life skills – communication, collaboration, adaptability, and problem-solving – to succeed in the 21st century; supporting student mental and behavioral health; expanding community schools and wrapround supports for students and families; strengthening partnerships with parents, families, students, and community members; improving school safety and school climate; and promoting cross-agency alignment and coordination.

This project will build on an NGA technical assistance student and staff well-being project completed in June 2022 with a bipartisan cohort of six Governors’ offices.

The Governors’ initiatives are centered on:

  • Maine: scaling implementation of the BARR (Building Assets, Reducing Risks) model to 71 new schools across the state with a focus on strengthening relationships, reducing high-risk student behavior and improving academic achievement
  • New Hampshire: supporting the success and well-being of students about to enter the workforce or secondary education, through expansion of comprehensive program utilization (such as the Choose Love program, adopted in the 2018 School Safety Preparedness Taskforce Report), with a focus on the high school level, as well as cross- sector collaboration to improve school climate and support students in obtaining their goals
  • North Carolina: hosting stakeholder meetings to gather input on implementing the cross-agency School Behavioral Health Action Plan, including expansion of the plan to address additional strategies for expanding access to school-based health services
  • Oregon: improving education and behavioral health through greater cross-agency collaboration and shared accountability metrics across Oregon’s Department of Education and Health Authority
  • Wyoming: advancing school district utilization of available behavioral health resources and interventions, including through greater family engagement, to improve student outcomes and behavioral health across the state

NGA’s work with the five states will run through August 2024.