Healthier Schools, New Mexico
Social & Emotional Well-Being

The Social and Emotional Well-Being supports a health school through programs and services that value the social and emotional well-being of students, families and staff.

The Social and Emotional Well-Being component promotes:

  • Acceptance of self;
  • The ability to express thoughts and feelings in a responsible manner;
  • Understanding and respect for differences in others;
  • Positive interpersonal relationships;
  • The ability to give and receive support;
  • Balance between meaningful work and play;
  • Awareness of stressors which interfere with health development;
  • Willingness to request assistance when needed; and
  • A supportive school environment that links to community resources.

Goal: Promote provision of adequate resources and service coordination to ensure access by students, families and staff to mental health services.

The New Mexico School Mental Health Initiative is a statewide effort, created in 1995, to help New Mexico schools address the mental health and substance abuse issues of students.

The mission of the New Mexico School Mental Health Initiative is to collaborate with students, parents, schools, and communities, to enhance student success by building awareness and promoting strategies to improve student mental health. 

Supported by a variety of statewide community partners, as well as state and federal agencies, the New Mexico School Mental Health Initiative program staff works under the auspices of the Office of School Health in the New Mexico Department of Health.

Many schools have recognized the need to address barriers to student learning and create school mental health programs to increase the education success of children.  The New Mexico School Mental Health Initiative helps schools develop these programs through community support, technical assistance, and training.

Through the New Mexico School Mental Health Initiative, there is commitment to:

  • Breaking down barriers to students learning;
  • Increasing awareness of children’s social and emotional needs;
  • Decreasing stigma around mental health issues;
  • Linking systems to improve support, resources, advocacy, and assessment;
  • Creating school-linked programs that are family-friendly.

The New Mexico School Mental Health Initiative is supported by funds from a variety of statewide and community partners. Since 1995, we have accomplished the following:


  • Developed the state-level Interdepartmental School Behavioral Health Partnership, consisting of state level representatives from the Departments of Health, Children Youth and Families, Human Services, and Education. This group develops and promotes school mental health programs and activities at the state level,
  • Through this partnership, over $800,000 in funds are brought together annually from the above-named state agencies, to support statewide school mental health projects,
  • Developed community work groups to address such issues as training, assessment, and advocacy. Two NM Senate Memorials relating to school mental health have been enacted due to the efforts of these groups,
  • Through the New Mexico Division of Public Health, four regional School Mental Health Advocate positions were created to provide regional and community support as well as technical assistance to local schools and communities in school behavioral health.
  • Created a statewide Behavioral Educational Consultant position, to coordinate statewide behavioral health training for school personnel,
  • Linked our efforts with the Department of Health Primary Care Bureau to support training of primary care doctors in children’s behavioral health issues,
  • Received a National Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for community development in school mental health,
  • Took the lead in developing the behavioral health assessment and school-based mental health components of the State Children’s Health Insurance Plan (SCHIP),
  • Developed strong linkages with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, the state’s leading tertiary care center and medical school.


  • Developed 4 state school/community collaborative mental health pilot sites,
  • Through the creation of our School Behavioral Health Training Institute, formerly Train the Trainers, have trained over 100 teachers and other school staff in school behavioral health issues, as well as, principles of effective adult education so that they, in turn, can lead workshops in their home districts to address these critical issues,
  • Initiated a Statewide Children’s Mental Health Media Campaign,
  • Developed strong linkages to parents through collaboration with local parent advocacy organizations, including the current development of a school mental health parent handbook,
  • Developing a Multi-Systemic Therapy pilot project with our state’s Behavioral Health Organizations,
  • Expanded funding and support for School Based Health Center mental health and substance abuse services in 20 statewide School-Based Health Centers, which serve over 80 schools,
  • Created a Medicaid Managed Care behavioral health pilot in one Albuquerque High School Cluster,
  • Developed the "Peer Navigators Program" manual, a peer mentorship model and disseminated it throughout the state,
  • Collaborate on a state award from the Center for Health Care Strategies linking Medicaid Managed Care and school-based health centers.

Training/Technical Assistance

  • Provide training, technical assistance, and support for over 50 state school districts, as well as national organizations and other states in multiple aspects of school behavioral health and violence prevention,
  • In 1999 provided technical assistance to 37 communities in New Mexico,
  • Provided 126 regional and state trainings in 1999, attended by over 4700 participants,
  • Collaborated with the Governor’s Mental Health Planning Council and parent advocacy groups to coordinate the 3rd Annual Summit on Children’s Mental Health,
  • Developed the mental health component of three annual School Health Conferences,
  • Participate in regional School Health Updates.

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