This highly competitive Project AWARE grant, for which the intermediate unit will receive $1.8 million a year for four years, has only been awarded to approximately 20 entities across the United States.
Project AWARE is a nationwide grant created to develop a sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. The intermediate unit provides programs and services to Montgomery County school districts, career and technical schools, non-public schools and other organizations. Through its direct service to students, especially those most at risk, the intermediate unit has been able to identify ways to assist students and their families to navigate mental health supports and services.
“This grant award is a major recognition for the MCIU and reflects all the hard work and accomplishments of our MCIU employees in supporting students and families across the region,” Executive Director Regina Speaker said in a press release issued by the Intermediate Unit. “We appreciate the support of Senator Robert Casey and Congresswoman Madeleine Dean and many other partners, including the Pennsylvania Department of Education, for this grant project.”
The grant project will: expand suicide awareness training opportunities for students(K-12), implement a universal mental health screener to be utilized by school district or nonpublic school staff members and create an electronic data system to connect school mental health practitioners (e.g. psychologists, social workers and counselors) with community-based mental health providers that have immediate availability to support students in all levels of care (outpatient therapy to inpatient psychiatric care).
The MCIU is partnering with two other intermediate units on this project — Luzerne and Carbon-Lehigh County Intermediate Units — to proactively address students’ mental health needs.
RCPA recommends members in the Montgomery County region engage with the Montgomery County Intermediate Unit and local school districts for planning and discussions on how your continuum of services may benefit student mental health in the schools.
If you have further questions, please contact RCPA Children’s Mental Health Director Jim Sharp.