Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $1,000,000)
School safety trainings are needed to address the root causes of school violence, including high frequency problems such as bullying, Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), and mental health crises, that threaten students’ safety. In 2019, 43% of North Carolina (NC) middle school youth reported bullying victimization, 22% were cyber bullied, 47% were in fights, 31% carried weapons, and 23% contemplated suicide (https://nccd.cdc.gov/youthonline). Rates have risen or remain unchanged over the past decade in NC. The percentage of students in NC reporting safety concerns at school has more than doubled from 5.6% in 2009 to 13.6% in 2019.
The Goal of the proposed project is to provide statewide, trauma-focused, evidenced-based training and consultation that addresses youth mental health issues, bullying, and victimization. Each year of the grant, we will provide training and consultation to schools across NC using the Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) program to increase awareness of, and early intervention in, student mental health crises. Our multi-disciplinary team will enhance YMHFA by integrating information on bullying, trauma, and ACEs in a supplementary training to deepen the focus on root causes of school violence. We will also add a second day of skills training simulations that allow participants to practice key skills. Instructors will facilitate the training online to break down geographic and transportation barriers. Sponsoring online training will increase our reach into rural areas and QOZs across NC with minimal additional funding needed. Deliverables include: 1) YMHFA training materials with supplementary training materials on bullying, ACEs, and trauma; 2) Skills practice role play materials; 3) # of participants served; 4) Satisfaction data; and 5) Financial and progress reports.
The North Carolina Youth Violence Prevention Center (NC-YVPC; www.nc-yvpc.org) is a not-for-profit agency that coordinates prevention programming in rural, underserved areas of NC. The team has more than a decade of experience implementing prevention programs with federal research funding. The proposed training will positively impact school safety across NC by providing innovative training experiences on youth mental health for school personnel and law enforcement. The knowledge and skills gained will guide new behaviors and lower the risk for future violence. Reducing root causes of youth violence, such as bullying, victimization, and trauma, will decrease the escalation to subsequent forms of violence later in the lifespan. The project will promote school safety in NC and enhance the YMHFA curriculum with new content and skills training material to disseminate across the US.