OAISD Receives Grant to Strengthen Mental Health Services in Schools

HOLLAND — A multimillion-dollar grant to the Ottawa-area Middle School District will help develop a system to better deliver school mental health programs and services across ISD.

OAISD announced a five-year, $5.5 million grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, a department of the US Department of Health and Human Services.

The funding will support the development of “sustainable infrastructure for school mental health programs and services,” which will make it easier for schools to connect students with help. The grant is part of SAMHSA’s Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (AWARE) project.

Amy Henry, coordinator at OAISD, called the grant “an amazing gift” and said it would help provide positive learning experiences for students.

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“Receiving the (grant) will allow us to expand ongoing work at OAISD related to positive, predictable, and safe learning environments while coordinating supports for school-based mental health and well-being” , Henry wrote in a statement. “It really is an amazing gift to our community.”

The grant has several goals, including establishing a one-stop referral system for mental health supports and services in districts and schools, and to increase knowledge and awareness among staff, students, families and communities about mental health and addiction issues.

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“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 OAISD Superintendent Kyle Mayer. “Their dedication is inspiring.”

— Contact journalist Mitchell Boatman at mboatman@hollandsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter @SentinelMitch.

Donald E. Patel