School Mental Health Banner

  • Strategies & Resources

    How does SMH help develop trauma-informed school communities?
    SMH supports all LAUSD school communities to be trauma-informed. A trauma-informed school is defined as one in which all adults on campus are able to help children and youth feel physically, socially, emotionally, and academically safe. Throughout the District, SMH professionals provide advocacy and education to school communities regarding what a trauma-informed approach is and how it can be utilized to promote safe and healthy schools, increase attendance, and decrease the necessity of student discipline and suspensions. SMH professionals work collaboratively with students, families, and school communities to ensure that student needs are viewed through a trauma-informed lens and are addressed in a holistic manner. 
    Treatment and Services Adaptation (TSA) Center for Resiliency, Hope, and Wellness in Schools
    In September 2005, LAUSD was awarded a SAMHSA grant to establish the LAUSD Trauma Services Adaptation Center for Schools and Communities (TSA for Schools).  Recently refunded in 2012, and now known as The Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resiliency, Hope, and Wellness in Schools, our center is a partnership between LAUSD School Mental Health, USC School of Social Work, RAND Health, UCLA Health Services Research Center, UCLA Child Anxiety Program, and 3-C Institute for Social Development.  A member of the National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN), The Treatment and Services Adaptation Center for Resiliency, Hope, and Wellness in Schools serves as a national leader in the promotion of trauma-informed schools, by identifying, developing, evaluating, and disseminating evidence-based trauma services across a continuum, from prevention services that focus on building resilience in students, to early interventions and more intensive services for trauma-exposed youth.
    With a mission of enhancing schools’ ability to provide trauma-informed approaches to assure a supportive and nurturing environment for all students, our primary goals are to: serve as the primary trauma resource site for our nation’s schools; develop and disseminate school trauma prevention programs and; create and disseminate web-based training and skill-building programs for youth, teachers and school mental health professionals.
    LAUSD TSA Center assists school mental health professionals and school communities to raise trauma awareness and the ability to deliver trauma informed services.  LAUSD TSA Center staff is available to assist with specific requests and information relating to training.  For more information or for technical assistance, please contact: 213-241-3841.
    Resources for School Personnel
    The web-pages, articles and other resources on this page are designed for schools and school personnel, toward supporting trauma-exposed youth and creating a trauma-sensitive school environment for all students.
    Coping with Emotional Stresses of our Economic Times Flyer (English)
    Coping with Emotional Stresses of our Economic Times Flyer (Spanish)
    Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools
    Developed by our TSA for Schools, Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in Schools (CBITS) is the only school-based early intervention program proven to be effective in addressing the mental health symptoms of traumatized youth who have been exposed to a wide variety of violence in their community. This program not only addresses trauma symptoms but can impact school performance and overall functioning as well as build resilience in youth and their families. CBITS was initially developed with a public health approach in mind, and made for and by school-based clinicians who serve an ethnically diverse student population, this program has been successfully disseminated in schools across the U.S. and internationally and has been nationally recognized as one of the leading school-based trauma interventions.
    The CBITS Program
    CBITS is a skills-based group intervention that is aimed at relieving symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, and general anxiety among children exposed to community violence and trauma. Designed for use in schools by school based mental health professionals, CBITS was developed in close collaboration with school staff and administrators to alleviate behaviors that interfere with learning and regular school attendance.
    CBITS has been implemented in elementary and middle schools across the country, with bicultural and bilingual students (Spanish, Russian, Armenian, and Korean) and multicultural, urban and rural populations, including Native American adolescents. The program has been studied extensively and has been shown in a randomized control trial to reduce Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms and depression.
    Target population 
    CBITS has been implemented in grades six to nine (ages 10-15) with students who have experienced a wide range of violence such as community violence, trauma due to accidents and natural disasters, and trauma involving significant loss.
    CBITS consists of 10 group sessions (six to eight children per group) of approximately an hour in length, conducted once a week in a school setting. In addition to the group sessions, participants receive one to three individual sessions, usually held before the exposure exercises. CBITS also includes parent education sessions and teacher education sessions. Student case management services and teacher consultation are added as needed.
    CBITS Treatment Components
    • Education about reactions to trauma
    • Learning skills in relaxation
    • Cognitive Therapy
    • Real Life exposure
    • Stress or trauma exposure
    • Problem solving
    As with other therapeutic interventions, parental permission is required for children to participate in CBITS groups in schools.  For more information, please visit
  • Contact

    Interim Director:

    LaKisha Johnson, LCSW, M.A. Ed, PPSC

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

  • School Mental Health Brochure