The Pennsylvania Youth Mental Health Summit is a one-day summit gathering school-based and community mental health professionals, youth, policy makers, and other vested partners to dialogue, shared, and lead in addressing Pennsylvania's growing mental health crisis and barrier to student access to care. 

Through a series of panels, breakout sessions, and speakers, the summit will identify key areas of policy reform, effective practices, and networks of support for students in and beyond the walls of school and across a lifetime. 


PSCA will be collecting a minimum $25 donation from each attendee for the Pennsylavnia Mental Health Summit. All donations will be sent to Aevidum; for more information about their mission, please visit their website: Learn More About Aevidum


Updates will be made to the agenda as they are confirmed.

Session Time Description
Breakfast & Registration 8:30am-9:00am Sponsored by Milton Hershey School 

Keynote: Mandy Savitz-Romer, PhD

9:00am-10:15am The Kids Are Not Alright: Building Support Systems that Meet Them Where They Are

Mandy Savitz-Romer, PhD
In this session, Dr. Savitz-Romer will briefly describe the current state of students’ mental health and how educators, schools, and policy can be leveraged to support student development. In particular, participants will learn how organizational conditions undermine students’ access to support and how school counselors and their administrative partners can promote student well-being and success.

Breakouts 10:30am-11:15am

Mental Health Screening
Deppa Sekhar, MD
Perri Rosen, PhD

Michael Donovan, MA, MBA

Stephen Sharp, MEd


This discussion will focus on mental health screenings for adolescents in the K-12 school system. Through applied research, cross-sector partnerships and practical applications, practioners will discuss why having mental health screening (or mood screenings) in K-12 schools makes a difference when helping children who might be struggling and getting them the resources they need to succeed. 


Setting Contect for Early Childhood Mental Health Consultation
Bandy Fox, LCSW, IECMH-E, Director of Cross Sector Infant Early Childhood Mental Health Initiatives | The Pennsylvania Key
Marnie Aylesworth D. Ed., RYT-200, Executive Director & Chief Mindfulness Officer | The Pennsylvania Key

The importance of early childhood education cannot be overstated. Why is early childhood education so important for our little ones? A large part of critical brain development in children happens before they even start kindergarten. It impacts everything from school performance to lifelong social skills. Yet, these foundational experiences are at risk, the mental health of the children, families and early childhood educators have been significantly impacted by the pandemic and other factors. In this session, we will paint a picture of the context of early childhood education, describe the challenges our youngest learners are facing and highlight the efforts currently underway in Pennsylvania to support the children, families and educators.

10:30am-11:15am Treatment Transitions Back to School: Best Practices

Jennifer Kirk, M.Ed., School Counselor
Shannon Dressler, EdS, CSP


Students are participating in more intensive mental health treatments requiring extended absences from school at a higher level than in the past. Thus, it is imperative to create a culture of collaboration between treatment teams and school teams to ensure a positive school environment upon re-entry. This includes the development and refinement of re-entry plans, procedures and meeting structures that engage all educational partners, most importantly, the student. Please join us to learn more about best practices for student re-entry from extended mental health treatment. 

Panel 11:30am-12:15pm

Student Mental Health Panel
Mary Prtichard, MA, Aevidum


Aevidum is an organization that empowers youth to shatter the silence surrounding depression, suicide, and other issues facing teens. The word Aevidum, which means “I’ve got your back,” was created by students after a classmate died by suicide. Aevidum inspires schools and communities to adopt cultures of care and advocacy, encouraging all members to have their friends’ backs. Aevidum exists in elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges across the nation. Youth will share their insights and experiences in creating healing, smashing stigma and leading schools to say, “I’ve got your back.”

Lunch & Legislative Priorities for Youth Mental Health  12:15pm-1:15pm

Lunch Sponsored by Milton Hershey School


12:30pm-1:00pm Legislative Priorities for Youth Mental Health 

Cindy Urban, MPA, Executive Director, PA Senate Ed Committee

Rep. Mike Schlossberg, Cahir, Mental Health Caucus


Key policymakers will discuss essential issues in supporting student mental health and access to care.

Breakout 1:15pm-2:00pm

Rural Schools and Students - Understanding Key Health Indicators Through Data Visualizations
Kyle C. Kopko, PhD, Executive Director, Center for Rural Pennsylvania
Jonathan Johnson, Senior Policy Anaylst, Center for Rural Pennsylvania

This presentation features data visualizations produced by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania, a bipartisan legislative agency of the Pennsylvania General Assembly.  Center staff will discuss differences between rural and urban schools and students with regard to a range of important health and social indicators. This information, and other data produced by the Center, can be used to local leaders to understand trends in their community and inform a range of planning efforts to meet the needs of students.


United for Resiliency: How United Way Impacts Trauma-Informed Care and Youth Mental Health
Adrienne Mael, President and CEO Susquehanna Valley United Way

Beth Tomlinson, Senior Director of Community Resilience

Amanda McNaughton, Member Services Manager of United Way of Pennsylvania

Presenters from Susquehanna Valley United Way, United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, and United Way of Pennsylvania will showcase some of the projects from within the United Way network that focus on trauma-informed communities, youth mental health, and grassroots education and outreach about resiliency. The panelists will discuss the local coalitions that have pulled together and organized community partners to implement programs and create positive, lasting change along with statewide resources that are available within every community.


Violence-Prevention Training for Students: A Tool for Fostering Upstanders and Positive School Culture 
Andrea Mead, MA, Senior VP, Mercury
M. Aurora Vasquez, Esq., VP State Policy & Engagement, Sandy Hook Promise 

Blair Freedman, Senior Director - West Region, Sandyhook Promise


Individuals at risk of harming themselves or others, often show warning signs before an act of harm or violence takes place. Knowing how to recognize these signs and what to do next, means we can prevent harmful outcomes and also get people help when they need it most. Research has proven Sandy Hook Promise’s Know the Signs programs effectively teach youth and adults how to prevent school violence, shootings, and other harmful acts. Attendees will learn more about the positive impact of violence-prevention training on students, Sandy Hook Promise’s training footprint in Pennsylvania, and policy efforts to ensure all students receive quality violence-prevention training in school.

Breakout 2:15pm-3:00pm

System of Care, What is it and will it work for you?
Mark Durgin, ACC, Director , PA Care Partnership

Children, Youth, and Families across the Commonwealth, who are involved with multiple systems (Education, Behavioral Health, Substance Treatment, Child Welfare, and/or Juvenile Justice), need effective community based treatments, where they are guiding their own care.  Through this presentation, you will understand the following. 

  • What is a System of Care and how this relates to CASSP.

  • Dialogue on how a System of Care can bring partners together to serve the youth and family with the most need.

  • Learn how youth and families can have an equitable role in making decisions about their own care leading to better outcomes for all.

  • Discover the training and engagement opportunities which are available across the Commonwealth, through the PA Care Partnership’s System of Care Grant. 


Practicing Culturally Responsive Mental Health Supports at the Intersections of Sexual and Racial Identity
Shannon Dressler, EdS, CSP; Shadra Gera, EdS, NCSP; Amber Sessoms, DEd, NCSP

This session will help school counselors in meeting the mental health needs of an increasingly diverse student population. We will address the social-emotional needs of LGBTQ+ youth, the impact of racial trauma, and discuss culturally responsive mental health support in schools. 


Integrating School Mental Health into a MTSS Framework
Larissa Valonis, MS, NCC
Board Director and Assistant Chair for the PSCA
Elementary School Counselor and K-12 School Counseling/Mental Health Support Chair at Forest City Regional Elementary School
District DEI Co-Chair, School PHIS Co-Coach and SAP Coordinator


Learn how one school took an integrative approach to aligning PBIS, SEL, and SMH into the MTSS Model, known as an Interconnected Systems Framework, to promote prevention and wellness of the whole child. Attendees will understand how to initiate and begin to develop a process to integrate these systems into one framework and will leave with tips and strategies to sustain this single data-driven framework.

Panel 3:15pm-4:00pm

State Agencies Panel


Stacie Molnar-Main, EdD, PDE’s Office for Safe Schools

Brittany Lourea-Waddell, PhD, NCSP, PAIU Social Emotional Wellness Lead

Perri Rosen, PhD, NCSP, OMHSAS

Erica Kaurudar, DEd, NCSP, PATTAN PBIS

Chanda Telleen, EdS, PATTAN PBIS



Pre-Conference is Sponsored by: