Microsoft, American Psychological Association team up on Skype in the classroom lessons on mental health

At the White House Conference on Mental Health earlier this year, President Obama urged Americans to focus on ways we can all work together to increase awareness about mental health and reduce the stigma often associated with seeking mental health care.

In response to the White House call for action, Microsoft and the American Psychological Association (APA) are partnering to create a series of Skype in the classroom lessons for elementary and secondary school students.

Beginning in January, the program will provide an opportunity for students to learn from – and talk with – psychologists and other nationally recognized mental health experts as well as community-based mental health providers about subjects ranging from depression and anxiety to anger and resilience. Skype in the classroom will provide Skype video call connections for presentations by APA member psychologists at the invitation of the classroom teacher. The program will raise students’ awareness of the mental health issues, help students understand that resources are available and encourage young Americans to talk more comfortably about these issues.

Nearly 70,000 teachers around the world use Skype in the classroom to bring experts to their students. Through our partnership with APA, we will make what is expected to be nearly 100 or more mental health experts available to talk with students in their classrooms via Skype. APA will design the lesson plans for their psychologist members to use as a guide in their discussions with students.

Combatting the stigma around mental health issues is an extraordinary challenge in our society, and we applaud the Administration’s efforts to elevate the conversation to a national level. By launching the alliance between APA and Skype in the classroom, we hope to do our part to shine a spotlight on mental health resources, and to help make it easier for Americans of all ages to seek help when needed.

For more information, you can visit mentalhealth.gov.

About the Author

Vice President, U.S. Government Affairs, Microsoft

Fred Humphries is Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs for Microsoft in Washington, D.C. His work amplifies Microsoft’s voice on key advocacy issues internally and externally on all aspects of federal and state affairs. In his current position, Mr. Humphries sets strategy and oversees government affairs outreach on a broad range of topics, including cloud computing, taxes, privacy, trade, cybersecurity, education and emerging technologies like Microsoft Kinect. He is also responsible for communicating Microsoft’s leadership role in fostering economic and job opportunities in the U.S. technology sector to policymakers.