NAMI Official Logo for Mental Health Awareness Theme

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, a national observance that focuses on the importance of mental health and its impact on our well-being. The Bellevue School District reminds our learning community of the resources available to them to support their well-being this month and beyond.

BSD’s Commitment to Mental Health

The Bellevue School District Mental Health Assistance team is committed to supporting the well-being of students. The overall goal of MHAT is to identify students with mental health needs and provide greater access to a full spectrum of evidence-based mental health services, delivered by highly trained and skilled BSD staff, for the purpose of enriching student well-being.

MHAT started in the Bellevue School District in the fall of 2017. The team started with 4 full and part-time mental health professionals who were able to screen approximately 125 students and provided counseling for 16 students. Over the next two school years, the team expanded services to students in grades 7 and 10. By the end of the 2020-2021 school year, MHAT Counselors had provided the BIMAS2 screen to 1,300 students and supported at least 110 students through direct counseling. For the 2022-2023 school year, MHAT expanded to the elementary level to provide crisis response services to all elementary schools and support limited screening of students for small group counseling.

Suicide Risk Reminders

Statistics show that suicide risk increases during the spring and summer months in the United States. Public Health – Seattle & King County reports a small increase in suicide attempts among teens since early April 2024. Bellevue School District’s Mental Health Assistance team shares the following reminders with our learning community:

Care Solace

The Bellevue School District has partnered with Care Solace to complement districtwide efforts to provide our learning community with access to mental health care and support student well-being. Care Solace does not provide immediate crisis support but serves as a central hub that connects students, staff and their families to care. Care Solace will quickly and confidentially find available mental health and substance use providers matched to your needs at no cost to our learning community, even for those without health insurance. Call 888-515-0595 at any time. Multilingual support is available.

Bellevue Schools Foundation Partnership in Support of Mental Health

The Bellevue School District Mental Health Assistance team is supported through the Bellevue Schools Foundation (BSF). In addition, BSF supports mental health programming through Education Connections and funds the district’s Signs of Suicide (SOS) curriculum and evaluation tools. Mental Health has been a mainstay of the Foundation’s funding for the past several years. For the 2023-2024 school year, BSF funded nearly $1 million dollars of district programming, 20% of which supported mental health grants.

The Bellevue Schools Foundation recently received a $30,000 donation from the Dean Witter Foundation to support mental health and suicide prevention in the Bellevue School District. This donation serves as a competitive match to encourage community participation in raising funds during May’s Mental Health Month. Contributions toward the match can be made to the Bellevue Schools Foundation Double Your Impact campaign.

The Dean Witter Foundation provides grants to launch and expand innovative K-12 public education initiatives.

Take the Moment this May

Since its inception in 1949, Mental Health Awareness Month provides individuals and organizations an opportunity to raise awareness of and provide resources for helping to address the challenges faced by people living with mental health conditions. Organizations like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) actively participate in this national movement, dedicated to eradicating stigma, extending support, fostering public education and advocating for policies that prioritize the well-being of individuals and families affected by mental illness.

This year, NAMI is celebrating Mental Health Awareness Month with the Take the Moment campaign. They encourage open dialogue, cultivating empathy and understanding to champion the importance of destigmatizing mental health and normalizing the practice of taking moments to prioritize mental care without guilt or shame.

Mental health conditions can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, race, ethnicity, or income level. Recent data from SAMHSA indicate a mental health crisis among people of all ages and backgrounds, including young children and older adults. SAMHSA data shows that at least one out of every five people likely experienced anxiety, depression or other mental health conditions in the last year.

The Bellevue School District acknowledges that we learn, work, live and gather on the Indigenous Land of the Coast Salish peoples, specifically the Duwamish and Snoqualmie Tribes. We thank these caretakers of this land, who have lived and continue to live here, since time immemorial.