MCS Approach to Mental Health Awareness

  • MCS Vision for Mental Health: The students and stakeholders of Madison City Schools are aware of the importance of mental health and have the needed resources to achieve mental wellness.

    • MCS Mental Health Awareness and Response Team includes a Safety Coordinator and Mental Health Services Coordinator who assess, develop, and monitor mental health services and initiatives available to our students and their families. 
    • District Social Workers provide resources and services to empower and ensure that the needs of students and their families are met.
    • School Counselors provide classroom lessons on social-emotional learning, character education, peer relationships, and health coping skills.  They also provide small group and individual counseling and referrals to other services when needed.
    • MCS Community partnerships include: The Enrichment Center school-based therapy program, The Caring House grief support, The National Children’s Advocacy Center SCAN program, and Crisis Services of North Alabama suicide prevention education. 
    • MCS requires Suicide Prevention Training for all MCS employees. Suicide Prevention classes are taught in middle and high school. 
    • MCS offers Youth Mental Health First Aid Training to employees and parents. 
    • MCS utilizes proactive technology tools for digital student safety.
    • Partnership with MPD provides School Resource Officers (SROs) in Madison City Schools to build positive relationships and a safe school environment. 
    • Text to Protect is a confidential way for students to report concerns that may affect our students or schools via text or email. 

During our spring Mental Health Summit 2022, professionals shared great information in the breakout sessions. You can find content from these workshop sessions here:

Mental Health

  • Mental health involves the presence of positive characteristics such as: being able to cope with life's challenges, staying in control of emotions and behaviors, managing stress, building strong, healthy relationships, and recovering from setbacks.(source:

    While effort is required to build and maintain physical health, the same is true for mental and emotional health. Improving mental/emotional health can benefit all aspects of life, including boosting mood, building resilience, increasing learning, and adding to the overall enjoyment of life.

    What is Mental Illness?

    A mental health concern becomes a mental illness when ongoing signs and symptoms cause frequent stress and affect your ability to function. A mental illness can make you miserable and can cause problems in your daily life, such as at school or work or in relationships. (source: Mayo Clinic)

    According to NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness), trying to tell the difference between what expected behaviors are and what might be the signs of a mental illness isn't always easy. There's no easy test that can let someone know if there is mental illness or if actions and thoughts might be typical behaviors of a person or the result of a physical illness.

    Each illness has its own symptoms, but common signs of mental illness in adults and adolescents can include the following:

    • Excessive worrying or fear
    • Feeling excessively sad or low
    • Confused thinking or problems concentrating and learning
    • Extreme mood changes, including uncontrollable “highs” or feelings of euphoria
    • Prolonged or strong feelings of irritability or anger
    • Avoiding friends and social activities
    • Difficulties understanding or relating to other people
    • Changes in sleeping habits or feeling tired and low energy
    • Changes in eating habits such as increased hunger or lack of appetite
    • Changes in sex drive
    • Difficulty perceiving reality (delusions or hallucinations, in which a person experiences and senses things that don't exist in objective reality)
    • Inability to perceive changes in one’s own feelings, behavior or personality (”lack of insight” or anosognosia)
    • Abuse of substances like alcohol or drugs
    • Multiple physical ailments without obvious causes (such as headaches, stomach aches, vague and ongoing “aches and pains”)
    • Thinking about suicide
    • Inability to carry out daily activities or handle daily problems and stress
    • An intense fear of weight gain or concern with appearance (mostly in adolescents)

    Mental health conditions can also begin to develop in young children. Because they’re still learning how to identify and talk about thoughts and emotions, their most obvious symptoms are behavioral. Symptoms in children may include the following:

    • Changes in school performance
    • Excessive worry or anxiety, for instance fighting to avoid bed or school
    • Hyperactive behavior
    • Frequent nightmares
    • Frequent disobedience or aggression
    • Frequent temper tantrums

    If you or someone you are concerned about is in immediate danger, CALL 911.


  • Alarming Statistics:

    • Suicide was the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34 in the U.S. in 2019. 
    • There is 1 suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts
    • There was 1 death by suicide in the U.S. every 11 minutes in 2019. 

    (sources: and

    There’s no single cause for suicide. Many factors can increase the risk for suicide or protect against it.  It is important to remember that raising the topic of suicide does not lead to suicide. It is okay to ask when you are concerned about someone. Suicide talk, threats, and warning signs need to be taken seriously. Get help!  See resources below for more information on signs and risk factors, how to talk about suicide, and where to find help. 

    If you or someone you are concerned about is in immediate danger, CALL 911.

    Resources for Suicide Prevention:

    • National Suicide Prevention Line- The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals. 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Crisis Text Line- A free, 24/7 text line for people in crisis. Text HOME to 741741
    • Youth Suicide Warning Signs- Information on the warning signs of suicide and what you can do to help.
    • American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) works to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.
    • The Jason Foundation- The Jason Foundation, Inc. (JFI) is dedicated to the prevention of the “Silent Epidemic” of youth suicide through educational and awareness programs that equip young people, educators/youth workers and parents with the tools and resources to help identify and assist at-risk youth.