School leaders strengthen mental health services for students in Ottawa County with $5.5M grant

OTTAWA COUNTY, MI – The Ottawa Area Intermediate School District (ISD) has received a $5.5 million federal grant that will help schools connect their students to available mental health resources faster and more effectively.

The Ottawa-area middle school district is one of nine groups nationwide to receive the Addiction and Mental Health Services Administration grant, said Amy Busse, communications specialist at the ‘ISD.

The funding is part of a program called Project AWARE, which stands for Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration awards the grants.

Over the next five years, ISD Ottawa Region will use the new funding to streamline its mental health services by creating a single system that will be used to refer students to school-based mental health support services. , including substance abuse and other issues, Busse said. MLive Wednesday, September 28.

The main goal is to get students the help they need more efficiently, Busse explained.

Amy Henry, who is the Multi-Tiered Support System Coordinator for ISD Ottawa Region, called the grant “an amazing gift to our community.”

“Receiving the Project AWARE grant will allow us to expand on-going work at OAISD related to positive, predictable, and safe learning environments while coordinating supports for school mental health and well-being” , Henry said in a prepared statement from the Ottawa region. DSI.

Busse said the project will begin as a pilot project in an Ottawa County school district. Next, the new system will be implemented in local K-12 school districts, ISD charter, parochial and private schools.

Funding from the grant will also provide resources to schools in the Ottawa Community Schools Network, which serves 50 local businesses and community organizations, to continue to increase mental health support in schools in a sustainable and systematic way, according to a statement. Ottawa Region ISD Press Office.

The Project AWARE grant funding has four specific objectives, which were outlined in the press release. These objectives are:

  1. Create effective and comprehensive systems and structures to support the installation and implementation of the Interconnected Systems Framework (ISF) in a model demonstration district.
  2. To create an effective and efficient three-tier support system for students using an ISF model within a school-level Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) framework.
  3. Establish and continually improve a single effective and efficient referral system for mental health supports/services in districts and schools.
  4. To increase the knowledge and awareness of district/school staff, students, families, and communities about issues related to mental health, substance abuse, and co-occurring issues/disorders in school-aged youth.

“Integrating the ISF model into our already established PBIS framework will streamline referrals for mental health supports and services for OAISD students, allowing us to more quickly provide help to students in need. “Henry said.

“The grant funds will also allow us to educate staff, students, families and communities about issues related to mental health, addictions and more.”

The Ottawa-area ISD is one of only two school systems and the only organization in Michigan to receive federal Project AWARE funding, Busse said.

“The initiative and drive of our employees who are always looking for ways to make things better for our students and our community continue to amaze me,” said Kyle Mayer, ISD Ottawa Region Superintendent, in a prepared statement. “Their dedication is inspiring!”

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