About Typical or Troubled?®

The Typical or Troubled?® School Mental Health Education Program was developed by the American Psychiatric Association Foundation to address the important role adults can have in a teen's life and the importance of early identification. By encouraging and equipping adults (such as parents and teachers) who closely interact with adolescents to notice the warning signs of mental health problems, to be prepared with intervention strategies, and to know where to refer teens for help in addressing these issues, the program becomes An essential element in ensuring student health and safety. 


At its core, Typical or Troubled?® is an evidence based program that has been successfully working with school communities as a companion program with existing school safety and physical health programs across the nation to improve student mental health through early recognition, intervention, and treatment. To date, the curriculum has been presented in nearly 2,100 schools nationwide in urban, suburban, and rural school communities.

Implementation of the Typical or Troubled?® program involves presenting an evidence based school curriculum which educates the school community – including PARENTS, SCHOOL PERSONNEL AND OTHER ADULTS  to take three important steps: Notice. Talk. Act.


Be observant and notice the key warning signs of mental health problems.  The signs usually aren’t one-time occurrences; they persist over several weeks. 

Typical or Troubled?® educates school communities about mental health disorders that can affect teenagers including depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, anxiety disorder, attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and eating disorders.


If you see any of the warning signs, talk to the teen. Communication is a vital step in the process of connecting a student to help. Ask how he or she is doing, and be compassionate as you listen and respond. Recognize that sometimes the teen experiencing difficulties may not know how to reach out for help, or have the words to express what they are feeling. 

The Typical or Troubled?® curriculum provides information, tools, and strategies on how to engage the student, build trust and communication, and discuss concerns he or she may have.


Connecting the student with appropriate help is important for treatment and the prevention of worsening problems. Typical or Troubled?® has worked with hundreds of school communities to improve their mental health referral systems while educating teachers, coaches, parents, and other adults about how to connect teens appropriately to support and treatment.

Typical or Troubled?® is currently supported by donations from individuals, Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, and Shire Pharmaceuticals, Inc.. 

As is stated in the APA Foundation's Statement of Ethical Principles, "Foundation supporters may review the project's goals, objectives, and methods to determine if they desire to provide support but do not administer or direct the project in any manner. All day-to-day responsibilities for grant administration or project management are held by the foundation. All content of educational programs is solely under the control of the foundation....The foundation does not support the use of any particular product, treatment, or therapy including pharmaceuticals" 


You can help improve mental health for students and bring Typical or Troubled?™ to more school communities by donating online.


If you, or someone you know is in suicidal crisis or emotional distress, click here for a list of resources.