The purpose of the Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) program is to develop a sustainable infrastructure for school-based mental health programs and services. AWARE grantees build collaborative partnerships with the State Education Agency (SEA), Local Education Agency (LEA), Tribal Education Agency (TEA), the State Mental Health Agency (SMHA), community-based providers of behavioral health care services, school personnel, community organizations, families, and school-aged youth.
Grantees leverage partnerships to implement mental health-related promotion, awareness, prevention, intervention, and resilience activities to ensure that school-aged youth have access and are connected to appropriate and effective behavioral health services. With this program, SAMHSA aims to promote the healthy social and emotional development of school-aged youth and prevent youth violence in school settings.
The program has increased mental health literacy among the schools and communities, removed barriers to find care, and ensured cultural relevance for all school programs. With the continuous support from SAMHSA, Project AWARE proceeds to focus on improving school climate and trauma informed programming to improve the care for school-aged youth.
Project AWARE History
Safe Schools/Healthy Students - 1999
In 1999, The US Department of Education, Health and Human Services and Justice created the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative.
Now is the Time - 2013
After the Sandy Hook School Shooting in 2012, the Now is the Time program was created in 2013.
Aware SEA/LEA - 2014
In 2014, Now is the Time Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) State Educational Agency Program (NITT-AWARE-SEA) cooperative agreements were awarded.
Currently there are 92 AWARE grantees. The Cohorts are as follows:
- 9 grantees in September 2022
- 23 grantees in December 2022 (This program was funded from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.)
- 22 grantees in FY 2018
- 6 grantees in FY 2019
- 15 grantees in FY 2020
- 17 grantees in FY 2021
Successes of AWARE from 2018 - 2022
- 1,816 organizations entered into formal written agreements to improve mental health-related practices, coordinate services, provide additional support, and strengthen partnerships
- 796 policy changes have occurred at the state and local levels to improve mental health related programs and services as a result of the grant
- 834,481 mental health professionals, first responders, teachers, school staff, administrators, families, community members and others have participated in mental health related trainings
- 205,874 students have been referred for mental health or related services
Grantee Spotlight/Impact Story
Grantee Spotlight/Impact Story
We thank our grantees for their commitment and dedication to helping support youth mental health and would like to acknowledge just a few stories from our grantee organizations which highlight how the Project AWARE grant program has made an impact.
The Tennessee Department of Education (TDOE) and its partner, the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse (TDMHSAS), aim to expand access to school-based mental health services for some of the state's most disadvantaged schools and communities. For their Project AWARE program, they shared this testimonial about a young man from Tennessee who was part of their Project AWARE program.
"A young man in TN grew up in a single parent household, with one parent that had a mental illness and an absent father. He came from a family of limited socioeconomic means and suffered with many insecurities growing up. As a shy, young student, he was teased by peers for his size and weight.
That all changed when his state was awarded a Project AWARE grant. Through this program, he was paired with a social worker who provided counseling to help overcome his challenges. He participated in a local bullying prevention program that partnered with Project AWARE and became a part of the AWARE Youth Council. He found hope through the support and services he received.
He informs state and local leaders about the importance of supporting youth through his ongoing involvement speaking at current AWARE events. Currently in college, he is majoring in communications. His life inspires children and providers to remember the importance and positive outcomes that can happen when we support youth with counseling, mentoring and positive peer support."