In 1999, the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice embarked on a unique and unprecedented collaboration, creating the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS) in response to rising concerns about youth violence, substance abuse and school safety. This Federal grant recognized that violence among young people is caused by a multitude of factors—including early childhood, family life, mental health, and substance abuse issues—and that no single action can be counted on to prevent it. As such, the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative took a comprehensive approach, drawing on the best practices and the latest thinking in education, justice, social services, and mental health to help communities take action.
From 1999-2018, SS/HS states and communities used the SS/HS framework to plan their work. Built upon the latest research and literature on violence prevention and behavioral health, the Framework provided a structure that can help replicate the success of the SS/HS model. For more details about the SS/HS Framework and how it can be used to assist communities engaged in this work, click here.
Findings from a 2010 evaluation* of SS/HS showed that the model worked:
More than 90 percent of school staff saw reduced violence on school grounds and nearly 80 percent reported that SS/HS had reduced violence in their communities.
There was a 263 percent increase in the number of students who received school-based mental health services and a 519 percent increase in those receiving community based services.
Nearly 90 percent of school staff stated that they were better able to detect mental health problems in their students.
Click on the image below to see how states, communities, and school districts have applied the SS/HS approach to promote mental health and prevent youth violence.
Please click here to view the 2013-2018 cohort of SS/HS grantees.
* Center for Mental Health Services. (2010). Interim Report of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative National Evaluation: FY 2005 and FY 2006 Cohort. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA.
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