The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Center for Mental Health Services is accepting applications for fiscal year (FY) 2014 “Now is the Time” Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) Local Educational Agency (NITT-AWARE-LEA) grants. The purpose of this program is to assist local educational agencies to begin to support the training of school personnel and other adults who interact with youth in both school settings and communities to detect and respond to mental illness in children and youth, including how to encourage adolescents and their families experiencing these problems to seek treatment. It is required that individuals be trained in Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) or Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). By implementing this program, SAMHSA expects to achieve an increase in the mental health literacy of adults who interact with school-aged youth and increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth. Read the President’s Plan.
Half of all lifetime cases of mental illness begin by age 14. Despite effective treatments and services, there are long delays — sometimes decades — between first onset of symptoms and when people seek and receive treatment. Furthermore, an untreated mental disorder can lead to a more severe, more difficult to treat illness, and to the possible development of additional co-occurring mental disorders. Three-quarters of mental illnesses appear by the age of 24, yet less than half of children with diagnosable men
In the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2014, Congress appropriated $15 million to SAMHSA for "Mental Health First Aid" and final Conference Report language directed SAMHSA "to focus on a broad public health safety approach when implementing the Mental Health First Aid program that offers training for both school officials and the range of actors in the public sphere that interact with youth." In Project AWARE, SAMHSA will evaluate the impact of MHFA on increasing mental health literacy, improving school climate, preventing school violence, and increasing access to mental health services.
With NITT-AWARE-LEA funding, local educational agencies and their respective communities will train teachers, counselors, other school personnel (e.g., administrators, school bus drivers, cafeteria workers, playground attendants, athletic coaches and trainers), emergency responders (e.g., police, firefighters, emergency services staff), parents, caregivers, and other youth-serving adults in MHFA and YMHFA. MHFA and YMHFA are public education programs that introduce participants to the unique risk factors and symptoms of mental health problems in adolescents, build understanding of the importance of early intervention, and most importantly – teach individuals how to help a youth in crisis or experiencing a mental health or substance use challenge. MHFA and YMHFA use role-playing and simulations to demonstrate how to assess a mental health crisis; select interventions and provide initial help; and connect young people to professional, peer, social, and self-help care. Additional information about MHFA and YMHFA can be found in Appendix H of this RFA.
In an effort to maximize funding under this announcement, LEA applicants should demonstrate how they will build on, enhance, and not duplicate current activities should they receive funding under SAMHSA’s "Now is the Time" Project AWARE State Educational Agency grant. The LEA should describe in their application how Project AWARE will address the needs of high-needs schools.
NITT-AWARE-LEA grants are authorized under Section 520A of the Public Health Service Act, as amended. This announcement addresses Healthy People 2020 Mental Health and Mental Disorders Topic Area HP 2020-MHMD.