This project that was completed in collaboration with The Jed Foundation (JED), a non-profit that works to protect emotional health and prevent suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults, and with support from Matchstick Consulting, approaches the work of promoting mental health and preventing suicide comprehensively. JED uses a Comprehensive Approach to mental health promotion and suicide prevention and for this reason, the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Framework resonated immediately as a consistent approach to young adult mental health. The WSCC Framework is comprehensive and emphasizes the need for collaboration and coordination of people, policy and practice in a school to support the whole child - all with the shared goal of helping young people graduate from high school and feel ready to take on whatever lies ahead. The resource that follows is unique because it demonstrates how efforts to support student mental health are consistent with the WSCC Framework - elevating strategies and resources that support mental health across an entire school community, not just within one area or profession.

The purpose of this resource is to create:

  • A foundation of information and practices for mental health promotion in schools through the lens of the WSCC Framework.

  • A place to access a broad array of resources that is kept up to date as practices and research in the area continue to evolve.

  • A webpage highlighting on-the-ground efforts led by people in communities across the United States implementing promising and innovative work. 

Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child framework

The WSCC Framework has been used as a framework for State Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) plans; as a means to organize district wellness councils; and as a way to organize grant funding and programmatic work.

In the resource that follows, we use the WSCC Framework as a lens to identify practices, resources and stories to promote school mental health across all components of the framework.

While we provide effective practices and resources within each component of the WSCC Framework, it's the coordination and collaboration across policies, practices and programs that gives the framework its power to impact health and academic success. As you interact with this resource, consider how practices listed in each component connect with other areas, and are supported by policy. We also hope you will see how the pieces come together in each of the highlighted stories.

The Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) Framework was released through a partnership between The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2014 to provide an integrated model of health and learning. The WSCC Framework:

  • Places youth at the center, surrounded by the tenets of the Whole Child that strives for all students to be healthy, engaged, safe, challenged and supported.

  • Elevates the need for coordinated policies, processes and practices.

  • Highlights 10 key components or “roles” within a school setting related to health and learning.

  • Places the school within the context of community, acknowledging that schools are often the hub of communities and are reflective of the needs and strengths. Also, it highlights the role of community partners in supporting student health and learning.

Effective Practices & Stories through the WSCC Components

When provided by qualified, trained teachers, Health Education helps students acquire the knowledge, attitudes and skills they need for making healthy decisions.

Physical Education provides students with the skills and knowledge that will enable them to enjoy being active and healthy throughout their lives. An active lifestyle positively contributes to not only physical health, but also to mental, emotional and social health.

Nutrition Environment and Services provides an opportunity for students to learn and develop healthy nutrition skills and behaviors. It also serves as an important social setting for students and is another opportunity for schools to create a safe and supportive environment.


Health Services is comprised of supports for the physical health of students and are typically delivered by a school nurse and/or other credentialed staff such as a nurse practitioner or physician.

Social and Emotional School Climate refers to the psychosocial aspects of students’ educational experience that influence their social and emotional development.

These prevention and intervention services support the mental, behavioral, social and emotional health of students. Services include a broad range of assessments, counseling and consultation, and referrals to school and community support services.


Physical Environment includes the physical space in and around the school building, as well as physical safety more broadly.

Employee Wellness focuses on the health and well-being of school staff, including teachers, administrators, custodial, nutrition services and support staff.

Family Engagement (referring to a parent, guardian, family member or other significant adult in a student’s life) has implications for student health, school climate and academic success.


Community Involvement includes all of the ways that local government, university, businesses, health care organizations, clinics and providers, non-profit organizations, faith communities, culturally specific groups, etc. partner with a school to support the health and well-being of students and staff.