WHO Program

Empowering Children to Protect Themselves

WHO’s Mission

We are committed to empowering children and adolescents to stay safe and happy and make good decisions based on knowledge and a strong internal value system – educating them to know what to do and who to tell in dangerous situations.


Please contact Whitney Mahan, WHO Education and Community Outreach Coordinator, at wmahan@mhadallas.org
or 214-871-2420  Ext. 119

The message of WHO is simple


Recognize potentially dangerous situations; learn and practice personal safety rules to help avoid risk.


Have a plan of action; think ahead about what to do in a scary, dangerous or uncomfortable situation.


Ask someone you trust for help; it’s important to tell someone about situations that are uncomfortable.

Empowering Children to Protect Themselves

The WHO Program has been adopted by public school systems, private schools, organizations and religious groups all over the United States. Curriculum spans from pre-school – 12th grade, encouraging learning through age-appropriate videos, discussion topics, situational problem solving and follow-up activities.

WHO was developed by Mental Health America of Greater Dallas (MHA Dallas) in 1981. It was designed to prevent the likelihood of child victimization by building children’s ability to analyze strange or dangerous situations. WHO is a series of research-based curricula that are formed on sensitive, non-threatening content and methodology. WHO Training prepares school counselors, child advocates, nurses, teachers, case workers and volunteers to present WHO in classroom settings for Kindergarten – 12th Grade. Follow-up materials and evaluation instruments are also included in the WHO Program materials.


“Our students love the” WHO” program and model it when appropriate for different reasons. They understand the importance of being safe for themselves and others.”


“Students commented on how much they enjoy the presentation. They make comments about how much it helps them. Often the students share their personal stories to discuss their personal experiences.”


“The anti-victimization programs are very successful with our students and their parents. The students feel empowered to do something about their safety.”


“WHO encourages the students to be confident about standing up for themselves by saying no and helping others in trouble.”


“My K-2nd grade students love all the puppets. The video keeps them engaged and is simple enough for them to understand the importance of staying safe. The situations spark great conversation on character and appropriate behavior.”

Why WHO?

The WHO Program is designed to provide developmental and academic guidance for all students and to meet the Texas education requirements codified by the 77th Legislature through the passage of SB 518 and SB 158.

Where is WHO?

The program is currently being used in more than 40 school districts in Texas.

How Does WHO Help?

WHO presentations allow learning in a fun, interesting and non-threatening manner with age- tiered curricula through:


  • Use of video and puppets (K – 2nd Grade)
  • Classroom discussions led by trained facilitators in settings of 15 to 30 children
  • Use of follow-up materials to reinforce the learning techniques for personal safety

Benefits for Children & Teens

With the WHO Program, children and teenagers learn:


  • To develop appropriate decision-making and communication skills
  • To see themselves as capable, worthy human beings who do not deserve abuse of any kind
  • To understand they are not to blame should they experience victimization
  • To adopt courage, respect, confidence and tolerance as they interact with peers and adults
  • Our partner organizations documented presenting the WHO Program to an annual average of over 155,000 children in 3 states.


In-Person training is limited to 20 people per session and will be held at the offices of Mental Health America of Greater Dallas, located at 624 N. Good-Latimer Expy, Ste 200, Dallas, TX 75204. 

Virtual training is held online through Microsoft Teams. The meeting link and follow-along materials will be sent to participants in advance.

If your group or organization is interested in on-site training at your location in Dallas or adjacent counties, please contact Whitney Mahan, WHO Education and Community Outreach Coordinator, at wmahan@mhadallas.org or 214-871-2420 x119.

Laney’s Story