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Louisiana: $9M for student mental health services ; providing 'a safe mental space for learning'

Sept 17, 2018,, West Monroe, LA: Monroe City Schools among 34 to receive $9M grant to prevent youth violence The Louisiana Department of Education today announced the state is the recipient of a $9 million grant to expand mental health services to students to support health development and prevent youth violence. Louisiana has been awarded the Project Advancing Wellness and Resilience Education (Project AWARE) grant through the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. "In order to truly serve every child, every day, we must understand and meet their learning needs, as well as their social and emotional needs," said State Superintendent John White. "Through Project AWARE, Louisiana has the opportunity to develop and implement practices to better accomplish this in struggling schools across the state." The competitive grant program will award $1.8 million to Louisiana each year for five years. The Department, in partnership with the Louisiana Department of Health (LDH), will utilize this funding to establish a comprehensive Louisiana School Mental Health Support Program. The multi-faceted program aligns to the mission of Project AWARE and aims to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, to provide specialized training to school personnel on how to detect and respond to mental health issues, and to connect students struggling with behavioral or mental health issues and their families to the appropriate services. "The 2016 Louisiana Caring Communities Youth Survey reveals the need for mental health treatment in the schools, as it reflects an increase in need in each grade level from 6th to 12th. The largest change occurred in Grade 12, reflecting an increase in mental health needs from 21.7 percent in 2014 to 24.7 percent in 2016," said Deputy Assistant Secretary Dr. Janice Petersen, who oversees community programs within LDH's Office of Behavioral Health. … "Officials in healthcare, law enforcement, and education are keenly aware of the severe mental health challenges facing us today," said Jefferson Parish Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Cade Brumley. "The support from this grant will complement our work to meet the varied and diverse needs of our students, placing them in a safe mental space for learning." …

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