2019 School Mental Health Webinar Series
Join the Pacific Southwest MHTTC for upcoming distance learning opportunities on key school mental health topics. Together we will advance our understanding of how to build wellness, resilience, and success for the whole school community.    
Interested in any of these webinars, but unsure if you'll be able to attend? Register now and we'll send you the webinar recording after the event. 
Updated! We are excited to share that Kristen Harper, Director of Policy Development at Child Trends, will join us for this learning opportunity.

Creating Trauma-Informed Policies: A Forum for School and Mental Health Leaders

Tuesday, February 26
6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. HT / 9-10 a.m. ChT

Want to figure out how to create and develop policies that contribute to trauma-informed school environments? Tasked with ensuring trauma-informed work is sustainable and scalable at your school, district office, agency, department, or organization?

Join Leora Wolf-Prusan. Rachele Espiritu, and Kristen Harper for a practical, free, 60-minute webinar. Together we'll explore the four choice points leaders face; tips for successful policy development and implementation; and examples of current policy at the local, district, state, and federal levels from which you can choose and use for your own work. Participants receive Creating Trauma-Informed Policies: A Practice Guide for School & Mental Health Leaders.

Who should attend? Suggested participants include:
  •  Teacher-leaders
  •  Student-leaders
  •  District administration
  •  Mental health leadership
  •  State education system leadership
  •  Policy-Makers
Of course, we are open to all who are interested in this important work .


Leora Wolf-Prusan, EdD, is the School Mental Health lead for SAMHSA's Pacific Southwest MHTTC. She is Director of Partnerships & Teaching at the Center for Applied Research Solutions (CARS), and provides consulting and training around school climate and positive youth development, educator mental health and wellness, and trauma-informed approaches to education, among much more.  Leora holds an EdD in educational leadership from University of California, Los Angeles. She thinks policy is great, but really strong, equitable practice is even better.

Rachele C Espiritu, PhD, is co-director of the Pacific Southwest MHTTC. Dr. Espiritu provides TTA and capacity building at the local, territory, tribal, state, and national level. She is a founding partner with Change Matrix LLC, a minority- and women-owned small business that motivates, manages, and measures change to support systems that improve lives. She is a former School Board Member of Denver Public Schools (DPS), where she provided leadership for Whole Child efforts and successfully passed a resolution for DPS to become a trauma-informed school district.

Kristen Harper is Director of Policy Development at Child Trends. She brings expertise in how to utilize research to drive policy decision-making and promote better outcomes for youth. Kristen served seven years in the U.S. Department of Education as a chief architect of the agency's efforts to improve conditions for learning. As Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, she worked to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the identification, placement, and discipline of children with disabilities. She provided leadership in addressing school discipline with the My Brother's Keeper initiative.
Mental Health and Student Learning Outcomes: An Introduction
Mental Health & Student Learning Outcomes Series - Webinar 1

Thursday, March 21
6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. HT / 9-10 a.m. ChT

Are you a school instructional leader who wants to learn about school mental health, or a mental health provider who wants to learn about the contexts of schools and student learning outcomes? Often, the conversations between educators and mental health providers are siloed and separated. This webinar provides a platform to bridge the conversation so that both perspectives can learn from one another to better support the students they serve.

Join Leora Wolf-Prusan, lead of the school mental health initiative for the Pacific Southwest Mental Health Technology Transfer Center, for a practical, free 60-minute webinar. Together we will explore:
  1. Common mental health issues among students and their potential effects on learning outcomes
  2. The relationship between socio-emotional development, student learning, and academic success
  3. An introduction to mental health in the classroom and school, including barriers to help-seeking and provision
  4. How to enhance our role as supportive adults for students with mental health and emotional challenges and strengths
Note: while this is an introductory webinar, all are invited to join, whether you are a seasoned educator in mental health literacy or an experienced mental health provider who works with schools.


Leora Wolf-Prusan, EdD, is the Pacific Southwest MHTTC School Mental Health lead and Director of Partnerships & Teaching at the Center for Applied Research Solutions (CARS). Leora provides consulting and training around issues related to school climate and positive youth development, educator mental health and wellness, trauma-informed approaches to education, and much more. Leora holds an EdD in educational leadership from UCLA. With a background in education and now working in mental health, she loves bridging the divide and connecting the divided to support educators' and students' wellness.
Trauma-Informed Suicide Prevention for Educators: Stories, Science, and Strategies
Mental Health & Student Learning Outcomes Series - Webinar 2

Thursday, April 4
6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. HT / 9-10 a.m. ChT

Join Leah Harris and Kelechi Ubozoh in exploring what a trauma-informed suicide prevention approach for educators might look like. This webinar will begin with the perspective of a young person with lived experience of suicidal thoughts. Presenters will identify common myths and misconceptions about students and suicide, and explore the vital importance of including students as partners in suicide prevention efforts. Examples of promising student-led initiatives, including peer-to-peer programs and school awareness campaigns, will be provided.

Learning Objectives. Participants will:
  • Identify several myths or stereotypes about suicide and students
  • Explore a framework for understanding suicide prevention through a trauma-informed and healing-centered lens
  • Understand the links between trauma, toxic stress, and suicide and the latest findings in neuroscience that cite connectedness as a vital protective factor
  • Describe the central values of trauma-informed practice and how to apply them to suicide prevention efforts in educational settings
  • Name examples of model student-led suicide prevention programs and campaigns
Open to participants of all experience and knowledge levels.


Leah Harris, MA, is a mother, writer, and suicide attempt survivor who is passionate about trauma-informed and social justice-based approaches to suicide prevention. She serves on the consumer/survivor subcommittee of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and was a member of the Attempt Survivors Task force of the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. Ms. Harris received first prize in the 2018 Paul G. Quinnett Lived Experience Writing Contest (American Association of Suicidology). Her story is featured in The S Word, a documentary about suicide.

Kelechi Ubozoh is a nationally recognized suicide prevention advocate and was featured in the SAMHSA award-winning documentary The S Word. This year her story of recovery was featured in O, The Oprah Magazine. Her upcoming book with co-editor L.D. Green, We've Been Too Patient (July 2019),  is a collection of diverse stories of radical healing and considers the recent movement towards reform in the mental health field. She works at CalMHSA as the Tech Suite Peer and Community Engagement Manger.
Working Together for Wellness - A Mindful Approach to School Site Leader and Teacher Collaboration for Whole School Wellness
Mental Health & Student Learning Outcomes Series - Webinar 3

Thursday, May 16
6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. HT / 9-10 a.m. ChT

Join The Teaching Well as we bring together staff from diverse school site roles to share ways they have collaborated to create healthy and sustainable school climates for students, teachers, and staff. Learning directly from teachers, school site personnel, and school leaders, together we'll consider the possibilities of integrating wellness into whole school staff development, leadership approaches, collaborative conversations, and support spaces for both teachers and students. Participants will hear firsthand accounts of the personal and professional benefits when school staff make wellness a central focus in their work plans, relational strategies, and overall school culture. This webinar uplifts the concept that whole school wellness is best achieved as a multi-year collaborative and iterative process between all members of a campus community.

Learning Objectives. Participants will:
  • Define personal sustainability in the context of schools
  • Explore the relationship between personal sustainability and professional sustainability
  • Learn how specific school site roles can lead sustainably
  • Learn best practices and practical strategies for integrating a wellness focus into school culture
  • Explore the links between school leader wellness, teacher wellness, and student outcomes
This webinar will be most helpful for new and veteran teachers; administrators who seek to lead sustainably; and school site wellness staff such as social workers, counselors, and paraeducators or teachers on special assignment.  


Candice Valenzuela, Lead Mindful Mentor and Executive Coach at The Teaching Well,  is a proud Afro-Latina native of Watts, California, who has worked in the Bay Area education community for 13 years. Candice has coached, trained, and mentored hundreds of educators in Bay Area, Los Angeles, and Indianapolis schools. She has an MA in East-West Psychology from the California Institute for Integral Studies, and she is certified as a mindful yoga teacher through the Niroga Institute. Candice believes that the keys to social transformation lie at the intersections of education, healing, and justice.

Kelly Knoche, Executive Director of The Teaching Well, taught math, science, and socio-emotional learning (SEL) for six years in public schools in Oakland. She holds a BA in psychology from UC Berkeley and spent time studying at Harvard University. She designed a nationally-recognized middle school project-based SEL program that has continued to be implemented by OUSD middle schools. She is a certified doula, is a 400-hour yoga teacher, and has been trained in both the Mindful Schools and Niroga Institute's Mindfulness programs.
When There is One School Counselor: Strategies to Reach All Students Nevertheless

Tuesday, June 18
6-7 p.m. ET / 3-4 p.m. PT / 1-2 p.m. HT / 9-10 a.m. ChT

The workload for a school counselor in a traditional role can be overwhelming, and students in need of mental or emotional support may be inadvertently overlooked. This webinar describes how shifting from a traditional counseling approach to a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS) benefits both students and staff members who provide mental and/or behavioral support services. Strategies discussed include using data to identify students in need of support, expanding the effectiveness of the continuum of interventions, and thinking "out of the box" to engage non-traditional MTSS team members. The Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education) Coordinators from two rural school districts in northern Nevada will share how an MTSS has transformed their districts and positively impacted the lives of students.

Participants will learn key strategies from two rural school districts who built an MTSS from the ground up. Hearing about the successes, lessons learned, and challenges that two Project AWARE grantees have experienced while implementing an MTSS will benefit all participants who join!

Learning Objectives. Participants will:
  • Identify school and community resources that can be used to provide preventative and early intervention services
  • Understand the enhanced continuum of interventions in a multi-tiered and multi-dimensional system of support
  • Understand how to target interventions and monitor progress using data


Susan Harootunian is the Project AWARE Coordinator for the Douglas County School District in Nevada. Project AWARE's goals are to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-age youth, as well as to increase staff members' ability to detect mental health issues, respond to them, and make connections to services. Previously, Ms. Harootunian worked as a special education teacher, and she is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Ms. Harootunian received an M. Ed. in Special Education from the University of Nevada, Reno.  

Shauna Bake is the Project AWARE Coordinator for Pershing County School District. She has guided the development and implementation of an MTSS and has spearheaded school district policies regarding suicide prevention. She has been instrumental in developing partnerships with mental health providers to offer services directly in the school setting. Prior to becoming the AWARE Coordinator, Ms. Bake spent 22 years as a teacher and volleyball coach. She received her master's degree in School Counseling from American Public University.
Contact the Pacific Southwest MHTTC
Toll-Free: 1-844-856-1749    Email: MHTTCPacSWinfo@cars-rp.org