Mental Health Awareness Resources from the CASS Team

Texas Education Agency

May 2021

The Counseling, Advising, & Student Supports Newsletter

Counselor Corner

In celebration of Mental Health Awareness Month, this newsletter offers mental health awareness resources for counselors, parents, and caregivers. In addition, it highlights a key grant advising opportunity to support student advising.

Counseling Updates

Mental Health Awareness Guidance Lesson Activities

Tier 1 guidance lessons are an effective way to teach all students about positive mental health practices. Below are some mental health awareness activities that you can use in your own guidance lessons.

Texas Model Content Area: Personal Health & Safety

  1. A. Student Competency: Students incorporate wellness practices into daily living.
  2. A.ii. Goal: Students will learn techniques for managing stress. (TCA, 2018)
  • Kindergarten- Grade 5 Activity: Introduce this activity by briefly discussing with students how expressing feelings can help them to feel better and manage stress. Show students the PBS Learning Fireflies Emotions video clip to lead them through the yoga activity. Wrap up the activity by asking the class how they felt during the activity, what they did or didn't like about it, and how exercise and music can help them manage their feelings.
  • Grades 6-12 Activity: Introduce this activity by briefly discussing with students how mindfulness through yoga can help them to feel better and manage stress. Show students the Teenshealth Hero Yoga video clip to lead them through the yoga activity. Wrap up the activity by asking the class how they felt during the yoga activity, what they did or didn't like about it, and how yoga and mindfulness can promote positive mental health.

Advising Updates

Grant Opportunity!

The Effective Advising Framework (EAF) initiative seeks participants in a planning pilot in the 2021-2022 school year. This pilot will focus on identifying and training EAF Coaches, located at regional Education Service Centers, to convene and coach a minimum of two school districts in the development of an Effective Advising Program Plan aligned to Lever 1 of the EAF.  Learn more about this exciting opportunity on the TEA Grants Opportunity website. 

Save the Date:

The Texas Tuition Promise Fund, a college savings program, is offering several informational webinar options this summer. Mark your calendars for May 26, June 9, June 23, July 7 and July 21 for virtual learning opportunities about this plan.  Click here to register.  This program is the state’s newest prepaid tuition plan that is administered by the Texas Prepaid Higher Education Tuition Board as one of five tax-advantaged plans and programs throughout the state.  Other programs include the Texas Guaranteed Tuition Plan (formerly known as the Texas Tomorrow Fund), Texas College Savings Plan, Texas LoneStar 529 Plan, and the Texas ABLE Program.

Student Supports Updates

Mental Health Awareness Resources

Raising awareness by sharing information and starting conversations about mental health is key in reducing stigma and increasing the likelihood that teens will seek mental health care when they need it. The National Alliance on Mental Illness created Say it Out Loud to get teens talking about mental health. Say it Out Loud gives adults the tools they need to hold conversations about mental health with teens.

The Family Guide to Children’s Mental Health Services was created to help families navigate the Children’s Mental Health System under the Department of State Health Services in Texas. Many children and youth experience life events, biological, environmental and developmental changes that impact their mental health. Some experience changes in behavior, feelings, social relationships, and academic achievement in school. These changes could be a sign of the need for additional support or the need for mental health services. 

Life during a pandemic is complicated. Along with new safety protocols and restrictions, kids and teens are dealing with changes to routines, school, and socializing. It’s normal for kids and teens to have some difficulty getting used to a “new normal.” If a child still seems to be struggling, something more might be going on. Find out more here  In addition, here is a link to download the MHA Toolkit.

Mental Health First Aid is a course that teaches how to help someone who may be experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. The training helps you identify, understand and respond to signs of addictions and mental illnesses. Find a Mental Health First Aid course near you using their webpage (linked above) search tool.

A mental health crisis is formally defined as a time when there’s an imminent risk of a child hurting themselves or someone else. (Imminent means it’s likely to happen right now or soon.) A crisis might also be a time when you or other adults in the situation can’t help the child with their behavior and need help calming things down. If a child is in crisis, consider their safety and the safety of anyone else around. Find more information on mental health crises at Navigate Life Texas.


New & Noteworthy


The CASS Team is looking for best practice examples of comprehensive school counseling program (CSCP) plans that we can share as exemplars. If you have a CSCP plan that you'd be willing to share with us, please email it to Thank you! 

The Division of Special Education Programs has two helpful guides for supporting students receiving special education services: IEP Development and Section 504.


Stay in Touch



General inquiries can be directed to

Alexis Bauserman, Deputy Director, College, Career, and Military Preparation

Stephanie Lerner, Counselor Support Program Manager

Sara Vercher, Mental Health Program Manager

Lindsey Phillips, Effective Advising Program Manager

Eric Metcalf, Student Supports Program Manager

Sara Grunberger, Communities In School Statewide Director

Michael Willard, Advising Partnerships Manager

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