School and Campus Health

SAMHSA supports efforts to promote mental health and substance use prevention in schools and on campuses and to provide safe learning environments.


Young people face a variety of life challenges that can affect their mental health and/or use or abuse of alcohol and other drugs. Schools and campuses should be safe havens for them to grow and learn. Both settings offer a number of mental health promotion and substance use prevention activities, yet America’s schools and campuses are facing challenging public health issues such as bullying, violence, delinquency, alcohol use, and illegal or prescription drug abuse. For example:

  • In 2014, 18- to 25-year-olds had the highest rate of alcohol dependence or abuse (16.3%) among people aged 12 or older.
  • Youth who drop out of school and adolescents frequently absent from school have higher rates of illegal drug use.
  • In 2014, 9.4% of 12- to 17-year-olds (an estimated 2.3 million youths) reported using illicit drugs within the month prior to being surveyed.
  • Of children living in the United States, 13% to 20% experience a mental illness in a given year, and surveillance over the past two decades has shown the prevalence of these conditions to be increasing.

SAMHSA offers a number of grant programs and other resources designed to promote mental health and emotional development among school-age youth and to prevent violence and substance use in schools and on campuses. However, because some of the college population are over the minimum legal drinking age of 21, programs targeting this age group typically emphasize the prevention of excessive drinking rather than the prevention of alcohol use.

SAMHSA programs and resources provide support across the spectrum of behavioral health issues facing children, youth, and young adults. Information is available for educators, school administrators, students, and parents about how each can contribute to influencing positive behavioral health outcomes. Learn more about:

Last Updated: 09/15/2017