CONTACT: Matt Cardoza, GaDOE Communications Office, (404) 541-7358, email@example.com, or Meghan Frick, GaDOE
Communications Office, (404) 656-5594, firstname.lastname@example.org
6, 2015 – The Georgia Department of Education
announced today it will expand its efforts to help schools better identify and
respond to mental health issues among students. A new initiative, Georgia
Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education), will address
the mental health needs of children, youth, families, caregivers and
communities, and support the implementation of mental health training at the
state and local levels. This work is made possible by a $9.5 million grant
($1.9 million per year, for five years) from the Substance Abuse and Mental
Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Georgia State University is partnering
with the GaDOE to provide technical assistance, training, and evaluation.
“In addition to academic knowledge, students in our care need
social and emotional support,” State School Superintendent Richard Woods said.
“This grant will help us do a better job of providing the support our students
need. We’re excited for the work to begin.”
the next five years, the grant will support the rollout of Youth Mental Health
First Aid (YMHFA) training in school districts statewide. This training will
equip school personnel, first responders and other adults interacting with
school-aged children with the tools they need to detect and respond to mental
illness in children, youth, and young adults – and to encourage adolescents and
families experiencing these problems to seek and receive treatment.
Project AWARE will also fund further work in three school districts – Griffin-Spalding,
Muscogee, and Newton. In those districts, a wide-ranging group of stakeholders
– students, parents, educators, mental health providers, law enforcement
officials, juvenile justice agencies and other community-based organizations –
will develop and implement a comprehensive plan that promotes mental health and
a safe and supportive school climates. All three districts are implementing
Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS).
three districts will also build their capacity to put violence prevention
strategies and safe school policies into practice, and develop partnerships
with local behavioral health providers and children’s organizations.
more Georgia school districts – Fulton County and Rockdale County – have
received separate, local Project AWARE grants. These grants are meant to
improve the mental health literacy of adults who interact with students, and
raise awareness of youth mental health issues. These districts, along with the
Griffin-Spalding, Muscogee, and Newton teams, will be invited to serve on the
State Management Team for Georgia Project AWARE.