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Behavioral Health/Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

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Behavioral Health/Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) 2020-09-14T14:00:37-06:00

COVID-19 Updates

April 14, 2020

New Mexico Launches NMConnect

The state of New Mexico has launched NMConnect, a new phone app that provides free 24-hour crisis and non-crisis support and access to behavioral health professionals who can text or talk via phone with individuals needing a listening ear or referrals to longer-term support. The app links users to the New Mexico Crisis Access Line (NMCAL), which provides safety net services statewide. NMCAL is still available via phone 24/7 toll-free by calling 1-855-NMCRISIS (1-855-662-7474). More information can be found at

March 19, 2020

MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM, GOVERNOR     New Mexico Zia symbol flag

Ryan Stewart, Cabinet Secretary

General Behavioral Health Resources for COVID-19

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic can cause New Mexicans of any age to feel overwhelmed, scared, anxious, or make it harder to cope with mental health conditions they struggled with before the pandemic.

Below you will find resources to help yourself, your family, and your loved ones. Remember, even when things feel overwhelming, there is hope and there is help.

To help combat strong feelings like anxiety, staying informed is important. The website is updated frequently and is the best one-stop information destination for New Mexicans.

As you work to stay healthy, remember that your emotions, thoughts, faith or spirituality, and relationships are just as important as washing your hands.

Please reach out to the mental health providers and/or faith and community leaders in your area to learn more about available services.

Be sure to limit your viewing of repetitive news media; consider setting one or two times during the day to check media, and then give yourself a break from it for positive thoughts and activities. Viewing too much news media can make it seem like danger is even larger than it is, and become overwhelming. You can view breaking news on prevention and treatment efforts by visiting the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention.

Since the threat of COVID-19 also affects us emotionally, we have provided you with some behavioral health care resource links that can help:

Behavioral Health in Schools

According to the 2017 New Mexico Youth Risk and Resiliency Survey (YRRS), NM high school students engaged in risky behaviors at higher rates when compared to the national average in 10 of 14 indicators. Risky behaviors are linked to poorer physical and mental health, wellness, and academic outcomes that have lifelong consequences.   New Mexico is first in the nation for suicide in youth 10-17years old, and suicide is the second leading cause of death in New Mexico for youth 10—17 years old.  Behavioral Health in schools supports and strengthens the social, emotional, behavioral and academic wellbeing of all students leading to improved physical, mental and academic outcomes.

According to New Mexico Administrative Code (NMAC) 6.12.6, each district and charter school is required, through Wellness Policy, to have “a plan addressing the behavioral health needs of all students in the educational process by focusing on students’ social and emotional wellbeing”.

Youth Risk and Resiliency Behavior Indicators

The New Mexico Public Education Department supports behavioral health in schools through various initiatives:

  • Support of and technical assistance to School based health centers (SBHC’s) on school campuses. SBHC’s offer comprehensive health services, meaning both physical and mental health. Mental health is just health.
  • District wide Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) for all schools to support staff, students and families in better academic and social/emotional outcomes. Systematically implementing SEL in districts and schools promotes self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, responsible decision making and relationship skills for all students, staff, family and community. Research has shown a decrease in conduct issues, improved attitudes toward school, better attendance and graduation rates and well and improved staff retention in districts where comprehensive SEL is implemented.

Social and Emotional Learning

Social Emotional Learning Competencies Wheel CASEL Collaborative for Academic, Social and Emotional Learning Through research, practice, and policy, we collaborate with thought leaders to equip educators and policymakers with the knowledge and resources to advance social and emotional learning in equitable learning environments so all students can thrive.

Wallace Foundation Find Out How to Build Social and Emotional Learning Skills; Compare Leading SEL Programs

Second Step Second Step is a program rooted in social-emotional learning (SEL) that helps transform schools into supportive, successful learning environments uniquely equipped to help children thrive.

Why Try Imagine if resilience was a learned trait – one that could be developed and increased by both teachers and students alike, allowing everyone in a school environment to access inner motivation in and beyond the classroom. Research has shown that resilience can be fostered and increased in adolescents – that they can learn skills to help them adapt and even thrive amidst tremendous challenges. WhyTry programs help you deliver these skills using an engaging, multisensory approach, which will transform your classroom or school climate and completely change the way your students view adversity. Multiple third-party studies have proven that our approach to resilience education works.

The Choose Love Enrichment ProgramTM is a no cost Pre-K through 12th grade social and emotional learning program that teaches educators and their students how to choose love in any circumstance and helps them become connected, resilient and empowered individuals.

Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico, Fall 2020 Services Update
The Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico provides free peer support programs for young people ages 5 – 25 and their adult caregivers, who are grieving the death of a loved one.
As our COVID-19 response has led us to provide these services via Zoom, we are able to invite bereaved students and families from across the state to participate. Learn more a about their remote services here. Children’s Grief Center of New Mexico Fall Remote Services

Suicide Prevention Resources

Suicide Prevention Month Ideas for Action 2020

Maintaining Mental Health and Tips for Dealing with Depression by The Life Link



Leslie G. Kelly, MA
Behavioral Health Coordinator



Page last updated September 14, 2020