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AWARE gives funding for mental health programs in WV schools

West Virginia
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CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) – The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) program is providing $1.8 million to build and expand mental health programs in Cabell, Clay and Harrison county schools.

Senate Appropriations Committee members U.S. Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV) say the program will help bring awareness of mental health issues, resources and training to the schools.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has put an enormous strain on our students as they adapt to new learning environments and changes to their education. Many students are unaware of mental health issues, and the strain that school can put on our youth,” Manchin said. “The AWARE program will help students in Cabell, Clay, and Harrison counties by increasing awareness, providing training, and connecting students with needed services. I am pleased SAMHSA is investing in West Virginia students and schools during these difficult times and will continue to fight in Washington for funding that supports our schools, teachers, and students during the pandemic.”

The senators say the AWARE program’s goal is to increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth while providing training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to be able to detect and respond to mental health issues. The program also works to connect school-aged youth who may have behavioral health issues and their families to needed services.

“As we enter a new school year with unprecedented challenges, it is important that we give our teachers the resources they need to be successful and prepare our students for the future. Project AWARE helps prepare teachers for the challenges associated with the mental health issues throughout our schools,” Capito said. “It also helps better-prepare them to detect, respond to, and connect children and families who may deal with mental health challenges with the appropriate services. We must continue to appropriately fund services like these, especially for the young people of our state. I’m thrilled to see this support coming to Cabell, Clay, and Harrison counties.”

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