Scanlan Center for School Mental Health
trainer in front of group
Imagine Iowa: Building Partners in School Mental Health

Are you a K-12 school ready to take your staff’s mental health awareness training to the next level? 

Imagine Iowa training is a new evidence-informed, culturally responsive mental health awareness program, co-developed with Iowa youth, designed to support K-12 educators in improving their knowledge, skills, and attitudes about mental health. 

Titled BEST+Well, this curriculum presents an essential professional development opportunity for educators who want to support and improve their mental health knowledge and evidence-based applications in their classrooms and schools, as well as their own personal lives.


This curriculum will provide the opportunity to engage with topics such as mental health literacy, relationship building, suicide screening, immediate crisis response, and restorative practices; all of which are important for creating an atmosphere of inclusion and wellness in classrooms and schools.

In addition, participants will develop tools to have insight into their own mental health and wellbeing needs, as well as how to set up a personal wellness plan.

Participants will begin to explore these topics in-person and be provided with the opportunity to engage in continual learning via digital platforms, after in-person professional development, to become partners in school mental health.  

Imagine Iowa Training is a partnership with Iowa School Mental Health Initiative.  


Curriculum Objectives

This comprehensive training will prepare participants to be effective partners in mental health within their school community. By the end of the training program, participants will be able to:

  • Utilize effective communication skills for broaching mental health with students in an approachable way
  • Identify indicators and risk factors associated with a mental health crisis, including suicide, and how to respond appropriately
  • Identify strategies for building meaningful and sustainable relationships with students dealing with mental health concerns
  • Develop a personal wellness plan to maintain consistent self-care while navigating mental health situations at school/work

*Completion of this training offers participants one free state of Iowa licensure renewal credit. 

Training Details

At this time, we are not taking new training requests from schools/districts. We hope to have enrollment open again at the end of Spring 2024.

  • Schools/school districts hosting the training must have a minimum of 20-25 educators. The maximum capacity is 100.  
  • Schools/districts will need to provide space with AV/projector capabilities that can accommodate small group interactions. 
  • This training is offered at no cost to schools/districts hosting the training or educators participating. 


Kari Vogelgsang
Director of Professional Development,
Scanlan Center for School Mental Health
Clinical Associate Professor,
University of Iowa College of Education
Gerta Bardhoshi
Director of Research and Training,
Scanlan Center for School Mental Health
Professor of Counselor Education,
University of Iowa College of Education
Martin Kivlighan
Licensed Psychologist and Associate Professor of Counseling Psychology,
University of Iowa College of Education
Departmental Executive Officer,
Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations
Visiting Associate Professor,
Internal Medicine
Visiting Associate Professor,
Jacob Priest
Associate Professor and Director of Couple and Family Therapy,
Department of Psychological and Quantitative Foundations
LGBTQ Counseling Clinic
Associate Professor,
Department of Psychiatry
Your next opportunity to participate in Imagine Iowa training is Oct. 4-5, in conjunction with the 2023 Iowa BEST Summit. Any K-12 educator in Iowa is eligible. Free lodging is included. Limited to 80 registrants!