Mental Health Programs for Middle School Students

Creating an open and positive environment, led by peers, surrounding mental health is crucial

Our goal is to provide the most current evidence-based tools to help spread awareness and positivity for a variety of mental health issues. These programs are designed to help middle school aged students identify potential issues while empowering each other to seek help.

Sources of Strength

Audience: Middle School, High School Students

Description: Strives to provide the highest-quality, evidence-based prevention for suicide, violence, bullying, and substance abuse by training, supporting, and empowering both peer leaders and caring adults to impact the world through the power of connection, hope, help and strength. The driving vision behind the program is to give voice and elevate the various strengths people have to offer and affect communities positively. There must be two to five adult advisors, who mentor a peer leader team.

These advisors can hold a variety of roles including: teachers, counselors, spiritual leaders, community adults, etc. Advisors lead peer teams, often between 10-50 students in size. The initial peer leader training is provided by a certified Sources of Strength trainer in a three to four hour, highly interactive training process. It is mandatory that the local adult advisors participate in the peer leader training.

After the initial training, the peer leaders and adult advisors begin a three to six month series of conversations with other trusted adults and their five to ten closest friends, as well as, create a wide range of Hope, Help, Strength messaging activities targeting a wider and diverse peer group.

Sources of Strength provides a recommended step by step guide of peer leader activities, but teams are able to adjust based on their readiness level and perception of what will work best in their setting. Sources of Strength templates and resources assist with peers connecting with adults and their friendship groups. These templates include examples of local faces posters, local voices audio, videos, presentations, skits, text forwarding, and internet social networking message. Peer teams are encouraged and expected to share their creative efforts with other teams across the country via Sources of Strength webpages, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Sources of Strength staff provides monthly teleconference support and planning materials and resources for each step of the way.

Cost: In Ohio and Kentucky, this program is fully funded by state grants.  Others can contact 1N5 for funding options (

Lap Around the Wellness Wheel

Audience: K-12 & College Level

Description: An interactive lap around the Sources of Strength wellness wheel. Participants will have the opportunity to reflect on the people, places, and practices that help support their mental health and wellbeing and learn new ways to build wellness into their lives. This is a high-energy session of sharing, learning, and FUN!

Cost: Contact 1N5 for funding options (
Mind Up

Audience: Elementary, Middle School Students

Description: Combines information on neuroscience with mindful awareness, positive psychology and social-emotional learning. This research-based curriculum features 15 lessons that use the latest information about the brain to dramatically improve behavior and learning for all students. Each lesson offers easy strategies for helping students focus their attention, improve their self-regulation skills, build resilience to stress, and develop a positive mind-set in both school and life. The lessons fit easily into any schedule and require minimal preparation.

Cost: Classroom management tips and content-area activities help you extend the benefits of MindUP throughout your day, week, and year. Available in a series of Scholastic workbooks for grades K-2, 3-5, 6-8 each $24.99.


SEL Programming

Audience: K-12

Description: Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, make responsible decisions.

Cost: Varies

SEL Programs

Classroom Mental Health

Audience: Middle School, High School Students

Description: Classroom Mental Health provides a toolkit for teachers and other school professionals to help them improve communication, promote wellness, and reduce stigma regarding mental health. The website was developed by experts at the University of Michigan Depression Center in partnership with teachers. The goal of the website is to provide high school administrators and personnel with access to strategies which can be utilized with students to help support wellness and mental health. The website provides referral resources and classroom strategies to promote positive mental health and positive coping skills for students.

Cost: Free

Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS)

Audience: Middle School, High School Students

Description: The Signs of Suicide Prevention Program (SOS) is a universal, school-based depression awareness and suicide prevention program designed for middle school (ages 11–13) or high-school (ages 13–17) students.

The goals are to (1) decrease suicide and suicide attempts by increasing student knowledge and adaptive attitudes about depression, (2) encourage personal help-seeking and/or help-seeking on behalf of a friend, (3) reduce the stigma of mental illness and acknowledge the importance of seeking help or treatment, (4) engage parents and school staff as partners in prevention through gatekeeper education, and (5) encourage schools to develop community-based partnerships to support student mental health.

Both the middle and high school programs provide age-appropriate, educational DVDs for school staff to play for students. The middle school video, Time to ACT, and the high school video, Friends for Life, inform students how to ACT® (Acknowledge, Care and Tell), demonstrate the right and wrong ways to help, and show a student talking with a school counselor. The program includes an optional student screening that assesses for depression and suicide risk and identifies students to refer for professional help as indicated. The program also includes a video, Training Trusted Adults, to engage staff, parents, or community members in the program’s objectives and prevention efforts.

Cost: Program kit is $495

Start with Hello

Audience: Students, Grades 2 – 12

Description: Developed by the Sandy Hook Project, Start with Hello teaches students the skills they need to reach out to and include those who may be dealing with chronic social isolation and create a culture of inclusion and connectedness within their school. Start with Hello is a no-cost, easy-to-implement, and life-saving program that can be delivered in classes, assemblies or via student ambassadors. Training takes 50 minutes or less with a wide range of post-training activities and events to ensure sustainability and integration into the school culture.

Cost: SHP will train educators and/or students or you can download a digital kit with presentation and resource guides free of charge

Start with Hello


Audience: Faculty, Staff and Parents

Description: An emergency mental health intervention modeled after CPR education: early recognition and early intervention yields successful outcomes. QPR seeks to educate the general public about warning signs of suicide crisis and how to respond appropriately. Lasting approximately one hour, training is conducted either in person or online and includes: techniques to help someone who is suicidal, how to help prevent suicide, common causes of suicidal behavior, warning signs, and resources to help someone in crisis. QPR is the most widespread gatekeeper training in the nation.

Cost: Contact 1N5 for pricing (

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