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MCPS Selected for Program To Develop Comprehensive Youth Mental Health And Suicide Prevention Approach

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Montgomery County Public Schools has been chosen from dozens of school district candidates nationwide to participate in the District Comprehensive Approach (DCA) created in partnership by The Jed Foundation (JED) and The School Superintendents Association's (AASA) to strengthen the mental health and emotional well-being of its students. 

The DCA will provide select PreK–12 school districts with an evidence-based framework combined with expert support, best practices, and data-driven guidance to ensure existing systems support the mental health of—and reduce suicide risk—for all students at every grade level. 

This collaboration establishes a new framework and exemplifies the significance school districts like MCPS are placing on students’ emotional health. The initiative combines the work underway at MCPS with JED’s decades of nationwide experience protecting emotional health and preventing suicide for more than 500+ high schools, colleges, and universities with AASA’s 150-year commitment to serving public education and school district leadership. 

“MCPS remains dedicated and committed to creating an environment where students feel supported and can thrive," said Associate Superintendent Of Well-Being, Learning, and Achievement Damon Monteleone. “We are excited about being selected and proud to be an inaugural participant in this program and the ways we will be able to positively impact student mental health and wellness.”

“We are excited to welcome MCPS into the 2023 inaugural cohort of districts nationwide that will be at the forefront of implementing powerful practices to support their students and staff,” said Tony Walker, Senior Vice President of Academic Programs at The Jed Foundation. “Suicide has risen every year over the past decade for students aged 5 to 11 and in 2021, one in five high school students made a suicide plan. Schools play a critical role in reversing these trends, but they cannot do that without adequate resources and training. Together, we can all help students thrive and prevent suicide.” 

In the coming months, district and school leaders, as well as mental health professionals, will engage with JED staff in the development of this integrated mental health framework.