On July 11, the State Department of Public Instruction awarded nearly $75,000 for mental health services to a consortium formed by the La Farge and Kickapoo Area School Districts. 

A letter from State Superintendent Carolyn Stanford Taylor to the Consortium dated July 11 read that the grant had been funded at the full requested amount of $74,750 for the next two years. 

“The number of applicants and the amount requested to support student mental health far exceeded the amount allocated for this purpose,” the notice of award stated. “Considering the intense competition and thorough review process, you should be proud that your application received approval.”

Through the grant, La Farge and Kickapoo Area Schools will be able to increase access to mental health treatment for students through the creation of referral pathways and collaboration with community-based mental health providers. Many community partners will contribute toward this work, Scenic Bluffs Community Health Centers, Vernon Memorial Healthcare, Stonehouse Counseling, and the Vernon County Trauma Task Force.

The grant will also support expanded capacity for school staff, parents, and community partners to serve children and youth with mental health needs through improving literacy in mental health and prevention and intervention strategies. Students in consortium schools will learn how to manage stress and anxiety through mindfulness, yoga, and other curriculum. Parent trainings and community events will help reduce stigma and share resources. Staff will participate in professional development opportunities such as Youth Mental Health First Aid and Crisis Prevention and Intervention.

The grant was written by the elementary principals and school psychologists at each district. This team is looking forward to continuing to work together to serve children and families in their respective districts.