05. Breaking Stigma, Fostering Belonging: The Sources of Strength Movement with Katrina Johnson

Today I have a conversation that delves into the intriguing concept of the Wellness Contagion with my guest, Katrina Johnson.

A Wellness Contagion shifts the focus from illness to well-being and aims to spread awareness of protective factors.

At the core of Katrina’s work is a program called Sources of Strength, which empowers students to take the lead in promoting mental health awareness, while receiving support from adults. This initiative creates a culture of support and connection, emphasizing experiential learning, breaking the stigma surrounding mental health, and fostering a sense of belonging.

Today, Katrina shares her journey in expanding the program across multiple schools, the barriers she has faced, and why it’s so important to have a dedicated point of contact at each school. She also outlines next steps for building a comprehensive school-based mental health program and the groundwork she is laying to develop systems that can be duplicated in every school and community.

Katrina Johnson is a helper in spreading a wellness contagion throughout one school district and community at a time.  She is a licensed clinical social worker, regional trainer for Sources of Strength, and dairy farmer. Current work includes designing and facilitating what she has coined, “Protective Factor Literacy.” These projects interface with the Wisconsin Suicide Prevention Steering Committee, Office of Children’s Mental Health, and Coalition for Expanding School-Based Mental Health. There are three loves that guide her persistence in informing best practices in school-based mental health: 1) love for data, 2) love to learn, and 3) love to play. 


  • How reframing language towards wellness and protective factors impacts behavior
  • How the peer-to-peer element of Sources of Strength makes kids change agents in their own environments
  • Why implementation of Sources starts with one key point of contact
  • How Katrina helps schools find avenues of funding for Sources of Strength programs
  • Three key factors Katrina wants to see addressed in mental health programming
  • Why it’s vital for mental health screenings and programs to be in schools


LEARN MORE ABOUT Katrina Johnson:


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