Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,214,000)
This project seeks to advance understanding of how to, recognize and respond to signs of mental health crisis which may lead to school violence. This training partnership is between Georgia Health Policy Center (GHPC) at Georgia State University and three state school districts. These Georgia school districts are interested in exploring how a mental health awareness model may further inform school violence prevention program implementation and ongoing evaluation. This project will support implementation of a training model designed to address grade level understanding of the challenges that face youth and how they can be supported by adults and each other. The project will utilize three evidence-based training curriculums all focused on mental health awareness. Mental Health First Aid model is designed to teach parents, family members/caregivers, teachers, school staff and peers how to help adolescents (age 12-18) who are experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or crisis. Sources of Strength utilized the power of peer social networks to change unhealthy norms and culture to ultimately prevent suicide, bullying, violence and substance abuse in youth 11-18 years of age. YMHFA is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. These models give middle and high school students, parents, and school personnel the knowledge and skills they need to foster wellness and to support themselves and each other. Georgia is one of the first states to include school climate as an early indicator in its accountability system. The project aims to determine the impact of this formalized mental health awareness training on youth and adults specific to the school environment, student survey responses and school discipline data. GHPC intends to share findings with school districts as well as the funder and will seek publication of any evaluation results scholarly journals.