Kentucky Awarded $9 Million Grant to Improve Mental Health Services in Schools
The Kentucky Department of Education and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities will receive $9 million in funding from the Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) grant.
- By Jessica Davis
- May 14, 2019
The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), in partnership with the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS), announced Thursday the award of a $9 million federal grant that aims to increase awareness of mental health issues among students across the state. Three districts—Warren, Bullitt and Henderson counties—will receive pilot project funding.
KDE and the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities will receive the Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) grant. The funding comes from the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
The AWARE grant funding will provide resources for Bullitt, Henderson and Warren County public school districts to implement district-wide mental health policies and processes. Kentucky is one of four states to receive this award.
“The mental health and wellness of Kentucky’s students is critically important,” Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis said. “This grant will provide support for planning and programming aimed at increasing awareness and providing needed training and services to support the healthy development of students.”
“Just as injury or illness can disrupt a student’s life and impede learning, mental health plays a significant role in a student’s social development and success in the classroom,” CHFS Cabinet Secretary Adam Meier said. “We are excited to partner with KDE on this innovative project to bring mental health services into more schools. It is critical that we address these issues so we can have safe, trauma-informed environments where all students can learn and thrive.”
The partnership between CHFS and KDE aims to improve mental health support in schools, provide Youth Mental Health First Aid training, implement trauma-informed practices and improve overall social-emotional skills for students. The project will serve 37,556 students each year for five years and impact 375 administrators, 3,292 school staff and more than 1,000 parents and community members.
“We know that one in six students experience mental health challenges that impact their academic achievement. However, less than half of them receive adequate treatment,” said Wendy Morris, commissioner of the Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities. “Partnerships between schools and local mental health providers allow identification and referral systems to be built so concerns can be detected and addressed earlier which creates the best opportunity to help the student. When our youth thrive, our communities thrive!”