Spirit of Detroit statue


Two students look at a laptop

TRAILS improves student social and academic outcomes by working to make sure mental health needs are met. TRAILS gives students access to evidence-based mental health care by training student support staff (such as school psychologists, social workers, and counselors) in best practices and providing follow-up coaching and consultation. The TRAILS free online library of clinical materials gives school staff the tools and resources they need to work with students. A partnership with Detroit Public Schools Community District will bring TRAILS to all 110 Detroit public schools, reaching the city’s 50,000 students and 4,000 staff through 2022.

TRAILS Detroit will provide professional development for staff in all Detroit district buildings PreK-12, and each school will be paired with a local, community-based mental health professional who has been trained as a TRAILS coach. School staff and their coaches will work together to facilitate skill-building groups for students, teaching them techniques to help navigate academic and social pressures, and reduce symptoms of more serious mental illnesses, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. TRAILS will also be assisting DPSCD with programming to raise community awareness about mental illnesses, reduce social stigma, and improve referral protocols for students in need of higher levels of care, such as those at risk for serious self-harm or suicide.

Close-up of a smiling student's face

TRAILS has engaged the Youth Policy Lab at the U-M Ford School of Public Policy and the Institute for Social Research to conduct a needs assessment that will identify district priorities, inform future programming, and provide a benchmark for program evaluation. The lab helps community and government agencies make better decisions through data collection and rigorous evaluation design.

TRAILS Detroit, a $3 million initiative, is housed within the U-M Department of Psychiatry and Comprehensive Depression Center. TRAILS is supported by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services through the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, the Michigan Health Endowment Fund, the Prosper Road Foundation, Detroit Wayne Integrated Health Network, the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Metro Health Foundation, the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, the Children’s Foundation, the Jewish Fund, the Detroit Medical Center Foundation, Michael and Betsy Mackey Family, the U.S. Department of Education, and National Institute of Mental Health.

To learn more about TRAILS and its efforts to make effective mental health services accessible to all students, visit TRAILStoWellness.org.