School Violence Prevention: Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative


School Violence Prevention: Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative


This Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) initiative on school violence—Safe Schools/ Healthy Students—focuses on the collective involvement of families, communities, and schools to build resiliency to disruptive behavior disorders. The initiative is a grant program designed to develop real-world knowledge about what works best to reduce school violence. The underlying principles of the program are to:

  • Marry security with healthy childhood development
  • Approach school violence as a public health issue
  • Offer comprehensive, coordinated services along the path of childhood development
  • Encourage partnerships among school districts, law enforcement agencies, and local mental health agencies
  • Replicate services known to work

Some tools for children and adolescents include:

  • Resolve conflicts—for kids to learn how to manage conflict.
  • Warning signs of violence—provides youth with information about identifying the warning signs of violent behavior and how to get help if they recognize these signs in themselves or their peers.
  • Dealing with anger—ways for teens to deal with anger without resorting to violence.
  •—a Web site for kids to learn how to stay safe.
  • Making peace: Tips on managing conflict—evaluates the skills you need to manage personal conflict.
  • Tips on dealing with a bully—practical tips to offer children if they are ever confronted by negative or potentially abusive behavior.
  • What teens can do—provides information for teens to help understand some of their reactions, as well as others, to a crisis. Suggestions are also provided to help ease the unfamiliar feelings related to the event.

Some tools for parents and teachers include:

  • How to help children—offers tips to parents on how to talk with children in times of crisis.
  • How families can help children cope with fear and anxiety—provides tips for parents to keep the lines of communication with their children open and alerts parents and other caregivers to common signs of fear and anxiety.
  • Helping children cope with fear and anxiety—offers pointers for parents and caregivers to help children cope with tragic events.
  • A guide for parents and teachers—explains how preschool age, early childhood, and adolescent children may respond to crisis. The link is intended for parents and teachers to be informed, recognize problems, and respond appropriately to the needs of children.

Information provided on model programs, which have a solid base of evidence of their effectiveness include:

  • Center for the Study and Prevention of Violence (CSPV)—model and promising programs
  • Evidence-based programs that foster resilience—a listing by program name
  • Center for Substance Abuse Prevention—exemplary, model, and promising programs to strengthen families
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) model programs—SAMHSA science-based model programs that have demonstrated effective strategies for prevention among young people who are at high risk for substance abuse and related problems

The Web site also includes information on the CMHS Enhancing Resilience Initiative. This program was created to improve mental health services for children with emotional and behavioral disorders who are at risk of violent behavior.


Center for Mental Health Services

Funding Sources:

Center for Mental Health Services; Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (U.S.); U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


Release Date: 2002
Original Summary: March 2004
Last Updated: 09/12/12

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