For the Rapids City Times
MADISON – Wisconsin Rapids Public Schools (WRPS) is one of sixty-four school districts and consortiums sharing $3.25 million in state grant funding to provide school-based mental health services.
All of the funded projects involve collaboration with community mental health providers and other stakeholders to create comprehensive support systems for children, youth, and families.
The new, competitive grant program attracted proposals from 141 applicants, representing 182 school districts and charter schools and requesting more than $8 million. Grants fund activities for the 2018-19 school year and range from just over $11,000 to the grant maximum of $75,000.
WRPS is one of the districts receiving the maximum grant of $75,000.
“Expanding and enhancing services to ensure our students are mentally and emotionally healthy is necessary prior to being able to legitimately address academic needs; this grant award will help to better address student mental health issues district-wide through staff training and increased access to mental health resources for our students,” said WRPS School Superintendent Craig Broeren.
“In a given year, one in five students face a mental health issue, with more than 80 percent of incidents going untreated. Those students who do get help, more often than not, receive it through their school,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “This grant is a good start toward student mental health needs. But, we absolutely must do more to address student mental health so our kids have the support they need to be successful in school and eventually their communities.”
Students deal with the same mental health issues as adults, such as anxiety, depression, self-harm, and substance abuse. Whether treated or not, these problems can tie into major challenges found in schools: chronic absence, low achievement, disruptive behavior, and dropping out.
Grant applicants conducted a local needs assessment along with their community partners to focus the proposal. Additionally, applicants had to demonstrate how parents, caregivers, and families would be involved in the project. Grant funds may be used for a variety of services on a continuum from universal wellness activities for an entire school to intensive intervention for students in crisis.