The pandemic has brought many challenges to our lives, and mental health is one such challenge that has become a more common topic of conversation the longer the pandemic has dragged on. This year for Mental Health Month, Mental Health America is going Back to Basics with their 2022 Mental Health Month Toolkit, available in both English and Spanish. Here’s how PTAs and PTA members can use the free toolkit and promote mental health.

In the toolkit, you’ll find:

  • Drop-in articles that your PTA can share with members
  • A sample proclamation that your PTA can encourage local elected leaders to support
  • Key messages to share with members of your school community
  • Outreach ideas, such as hosting an “Ask Me Anything” event with a local mental health practitioner
  • Handouts and posters you can share that cover topics such as What to Do When You Need Help, Terms to Know, and Maintaining Good Mental Health
  • Sample social media posts and ready-to-use social media graphics

In addition, a new way to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255) will become available nationwide on July 16, 2022: simply dialing 988. The new quick dialing 988 number works like 911, but connects directly to the Lifeline counselors rather than local emergency services. This new number recognizes that local emergency services such as the police may not be the most effective way to respond to a person in a mental health crisis and can even make the situation worse. One of the drop-in articles in the toolkit covers the new 988 number.

Finally, National PTA has a Call to Action to US Senators supporting school-based mental health funding in the FY22 appropriations bill. The Call to Action includes a pre-written letter that simply needs your contact information entered (to target the Illinois Senators). It only takes a minute to advocate for funding student mental health.