• Welcome to School Mental Health

    A Message from the Director

    It is an honor to serve as the Director of Mental Health Services for Los Angeles Unified School District (LA Unified). What is mental health and why is it important? Mental health is described as the relationship between our thoughts, feelings, actions and experiences.  It deeply influences how we see ourselves and often predetermines how we perceive and respond to life, people, settings, and situations.

    School Mental Health is committed to disrupting the intergenerational transmission of toxic stress that impairs health and debilitates dreams. We promote healing across generations and throughout our system of education. How does School Mental Health deliver this work?

    Intergenerational healing. We center ourselves on the understanding that healing occurs “forward.” 

    Students may not be able to change their past, but when they are provided with strategies to process grief and traumatic experiences; improve their ability to bounce back in the face of adversity; build healthy relationships; and engage in self-care practices that restore and preserve health, they, and future generations, benefit. These benefits are not limited to our students. Parents and caregivers are afforded the opportunities to make the necessary changes to pass healing down to the next generation. Educators usher intergenerational healing forward by fostering belonging, and schools cultivate it through transformative practices.

    Hope-Infused interventions.

    Understanding the power of our work drives us to engage in hope-infused practices.  Life is in the details.  We mentor, counsel, link to resources, make daily observations and take note of small changes that may have significant implications.  We launch school-wide campaigns, run groups, and facilitate workshops to foster connection and promote social emotional learning and education. We lead the nation by setting the bar with suicide prevention, threat assessment and management, and crisis response policies. We provide intensive interventions such as mental health evaluation, comprehensive case management and crisis response at critical instances when a student’s hope may be frustrated and their will to live might be depleted.

    Collective Well-being.

    We uphold the belief that wellness requires community.  We build bridges on campus by nurturing school-wide activities such as ‘Say Hey’ day, create safe spaces through student-led clubs and Optimism Rooms, and by being an active liaison between our schools, students, families, and community partners. 

    We Work for Impact.

    In June 2022, the Office of the Inspector General performed an audit of School Mental Health; and in February 2024, UCLA conducted an analysis of PSW supports.  Among the findings of both entities, School Mental Health services were correlated with the following: increased literacy skills; improved school attendance; increased graduation rates; decreased suspensions; and lowered school dropout rates.  You may access our impact reports here.

    We invite you to review our resources, increase your understanding of the supports that we offer, and learn how you might partner with us to link our students to care. Let’s make an intergenerational impact, together. 



  • Contact

    LaKisha Johnson - SMh Director

    LaKisha Johnson, LCSW, PPSC, M.Ed.
    E: lakisha.bridgewater@lausd.net

    333 S. Beaudry Ave., 29th Floor
    Los Angeles, CA 90017