Be a Mental Health Trailblazer

Are you a preK-12 senior district leader dedicated to improving the well-being of your students and community? By participating, you get to be part of the nation’s first comprehensive mental health program designed to meet the critical needs of all learners.

For more information, contact us at

District Comprehensive Approach

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The District Comprehensive Approach (DCA) is a first-of-its-kind partnership between AASA and JED to guide districts across the country in a transformational program to support the emotional well-being of preK-12 students. Based on JED’s proven approach to preventing suicide and improving student outcomes, the DCA is an evidence-based framework that combines expert support, best practices, and data-driven guidance to protect mental health and prevent suicide for millions of students.

Who Should Apply

We are recruiting senior district leaders dedicated to improving comprehensive mental health support across their districts and we encourage you to join as a district team of up to five individuals, including the superintendent, mental health support specialists, and other invested school personnel.

Why It’s Needed

  • In 2021, more than 40% of high school students said they experienced persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Almost one in five students made a suicide plan.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 34. 
  • Suicides in students ages five to 11 has risen 15% every year over the past decade.

Schools play a critical role in supporting student mental health and reversing these trends but may not have the resources or training to take on this monumental task before them. 

By joining our inaugural cohort, you will be at the forefront of learning and leading powerful practices to benefit your staff and students, and you will play a formative and pioneering role in reinventing how schools help students thrive across the country.


  • JED District Cohort cohort members will attend virtual orientation in Fall of 2023, with an in-person kick-off convening in January of 2024 
  • Pre-Planning and Preparation Phase: August – December 2023
  • Kickoff and Implementation begins in January 2024 

Timeline and Commitment

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  • Overall, this commitment involves four years of planned work.
    • Year one: pre-planning, data gathering, and strategic planning.
    • Years two to four: technical assistance support.
  • Pre-work: Two to three hours per month of pre-work from August to December 2023.
  • In-person gatherings: 
    • One full-day kickoff during the second semester of the 2023-24 school year.
    • Three additional convenings spread across 2024-25 and 2025-26.
    • District individuals are covered by The Jed Foundation.
  • Implementation phase:
    • Four to six hours of deep strategy and implementation work per month throughout the duration of the program.

When will I be notified of the status of my application?

  • All applicants will be notified electronically of their application status in July 2023 by a member of the AASA/JED DCA team.

How many leaders from my team can commit?

  • Your district leadership team can include as many participants as you would like (typically between five and 10), but our capacity for in-person gatherings is limited to two representatives from each participating district.

Inaugural Participation Benefits Include:

  • By participating, you get to be part of the nation’s first comprehensive mental health program designed to meet the critical needs of all learners.
  • As a member of our first district cohort, all program fees will be waived since you will provide critical feedback throughout the process that will inform, improve, and ultimately shape a nation-wide program to best support student mental health.
  • Expert Insight and Technical Assistance. Each district will be supported by professionals in education and mental health who understand the challenges administrators face. Their mission is to support and build your district’s capacity to achieve your goals. Your success is their success.
  • Data-Informed Actionable Plans, Customized to Your Community. No two districts are the same, which is why the DCA will begin with a thorough evaluation of your district’s strengths and student mental health needs. We will then partner with you to create a strategic plan to efficiently and effectively enhance what is already working and innovate to address unmet needs and create a safety net specific to your students.
  • Best Practices to Enhance Your Policies, Programs, and Resources. JED is at the forefront of school mental health and suicide prevention. With JED’s expertise, participating in the DCA will allow JED to help you make informed decisions and enhance policies, programs, and resources with insight into clinically reviewed and peer-informed best practices.
  • Access to an exclusive peer-learning space to meet, collaborate, innovate, and implement with other district leaders facing similar challenges
  • Exclusive Professional Executive Networking Opportunities with other district leaders and high impact community partners

About AASA, The School Superintendents Association AASA, The School Superintendents Association, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to equitable access for all students to the highest quality public education. For more information, visit

About The Jed Foundation JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.

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