Amy Kennedy, Education Director of The Kennedy Forum

With over 15 years of experience working in public schools, Amy has seen first-hand how a child’s mental health and mental health literacy impacts their ability to learn and grow—not only in the classroom, but in life. Each day, she challenges herself and others to learn to address ACEs and other developmental roadblocks head on through thoughtful interventions and skill building.

Amy knows that by supporting educators and working with community partners to create robust mental health systems within our schools, it is possible to identify students’ needs and intervene early, while neuroplasticity is at its peak. Through strategies like social-emotional learning and integrated systems of care that meet students where they are, we have the power to improve educational, emotional, and health outcomes for all kids.

Watch Amy’s Facebook Live discussion with Mental Health America president & CEO Paul Gionfriddo on prioritizing youth mental health care in the U.S.

Visit Amy’s website to learn more about her focus areas.

Amy Kennedy joined Delaware Lt. Governor Bethan Hall-Long for a roundtable discussion on behavioral health initiatives and the expansion of social emotional learning for students.

5 Pillars: The Pathway to Improving the Delivery of Mental Health Services in Education

Pillar 1: School-Community Partnerships
Developing collaborative working relationships between schools and the larger community will create pathways to ensure the delivery of comprehensive mental health services, and allow for the creation of a system of care in which services within the school system are enhanced, not duplicated.
Pillar 2: School-Based Mental Health Services
In order to build the schools that we need, educational institutions must develop a framework for the delivery of mental health services that will meet a wide range of students’ needs.
Pillar 3: Early Identification
The development of universal mental health screening programs in public education institutions across the nation should be deemed as equally important as current programs that screen regularly for vision, hearing, dental, and academic deficits. When schools provide universal mental health screenings for students at key transition points throughout their education, they increase the likelihood of success.
Pillar 4: Educating the Educators
Educators are faced with a wide range of student social, emotional, and behavioral challenges. We must provide meaningful training and professional development that meets the needs of teachers and empowers them to take on these challenges with confidence.
Pillar 5: Sustainability
One of the greatest barriers to mental health services in schools is how to sustain programs over the long term. School districts and local agencies can identify innovative ways to implement, fund and sustain this critical support.