Document Type



Mental health affects all adolescents and yet, the United States fails to address emotional well-being until it manifests itself into a mental health disorder that interferes with daily life activities and later success in adulthood. Two barriers of high mental health stigma and low mental health literacy prevent adolescents from accessing the needed mental health services. As a natural environment for adolescents, schools play a critical role in providing a foundation of knowledge, skills, and resources to promote healthy emotional functioning. Universal mental health programs, such as the Australian curriculum-based intervention of Headstrong, are essential for social workers to further investigate. Additional replication of these international interventions will evidence their applicability within the United States. The proposed policy of Mental Health in Schools Act of 2015 attempts to redistribute limited mental health resources to all adolescents. Drawing from social work values, knowledge, and experience, the social work profession has the opportunity to more effectively address adolescent mental health.