U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education)
Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) seeks to develop a sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. Grant recipients are expected to build collaborative partnerships with the State Education Agency (SEA), Local Education Agency (LEA), Tribal Education Agency (TEA), the State Mental Health Agency (SMHA), community-based providers of behavioral health care services, school personnel, community organizations, families, and school-aged youth (grades K-12). Grant recipients will leverage their partnerships to implement mental health related promotion, awareness, prevention, intervention, and resilience activities to ensure that students have access and are connected to appropriate and effective behavioral health services. The program aims to promote the healthy social and emotional development of school-aged youth and prevent youth violence in school settings.
The goals of AWARE are to:
• Increase awareness of mental health, substance use, and co-occurring issues among school-aged youth.
• Increase the mental health literacy of individuals who interact with school-aged youth to understand and detect the signs and symptoms of mental illness, substance use/misuse, and co-occurring disorders.
• Promote and foster resilience building and mental health well-being for school-aged youth.
• Provide positive behavioral health supports; targeted services to those who need more support; and intensive services to those who need them.
• Connect school-aged youth who may have behavioral health issues, including serious emotional disturbance (SED) or serious mental illness (SMI), and their families to needed services.
• Increase and improve access to culturally relevant, developmentally appropriate, and trauma-informed school and community-based AWARE grant activities and services.
Required AWARE activities are:
* Develop a collaborative partnership between at least one Local Education Agency, LEA), the State Education Agency (SEA), the State Mental Health Agency (SMHA), and at least one local community public or private non-profit provider of behavioral health services.
* Conduct a needs assessment of the LEA(s) and its geographic catchment area of the risk and protective factors as well as current prevalence and incidence data
* No later than six months after award, develop an implementation plan that includes the creation and implementation of a school-based mental health intervention system that is based on a three-tiered public health model: (Tier 1) universal prevention and mental health promotion; (Tier 2) secondary prevention and brief intervention services; and (Tier 3) tertiary intervention and behavioral health treatment.
* No later than six months after award, establish or maintain an advisory board to include key stakeholders to support improvement in school-aged youth and family serving school-based mental health systems.
* No later than the end of Year 2, develop a sustainability plan that includes changes in policy that support the infrastructure needed to maintain and possibly expand behavioral health services when federal funding ends.
* Establish collaborative relationships with families, community groups, family and peer support services, somatic and behavioral health providers, and local businesses.
Allowable AWARE activities (that will be supported but are not required):
* Providing supports to assist teachers and school personnel to develop skills that
promote staff wellness, mental well-being, and resilience.
* Providing trauma-informed evidence-based counseling and support services for LGBTQI+ youth and their families.
* For SEAs, LEAs, TEAs, States, tribes only: establishing and implementing a school-based student suicide awareness and prevention training policy.
Amount: $37,600,000 is available to make up to 20 awards that range up to $1,800,000 per year for up to four years.
* Government organizations: State governments, county governments, city/township governments, special district governments, Native American tribal governments, state-recognized tribes
* Other tribal organizations, including consortia of tribes or tribal organizations and urban Indian organizations
* Education organizations: Independent school districts, institutions of higher education, education agencies serving youth residing in federally recognized Native tribes.
* Nonprofit organizations with or without 501(c)(3) status
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