Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has been awarded a two-year Project AWARE grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The grant will 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 in the Broward community. Individuals will be trained in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA), a course that teaches participants how to help youth who are developing a mental health problem or experiencing a mental health crisis. The training will help them to identify, understand and respond to signs of mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders.
“When a loved one has a physical illness like cancer, families rally around to cook, clean, drive their loved ones to doctor’s appointments, and much more. However, when someone is struggling with depression, anxiety, trauma, or other mental conditions, family members are not sure what to do,” said Amalio Nieves, director of Diversity, Prevention & Intervention. “This program will increase mental health literacy and awareness of mental health issues for the adults interacting with school-aged youth.”
YMHFA skills can be applied anytime, anywhere, and to anyone in distress, from a returned solider exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, an unemployed friend displaying signs of severe depression, to a teenager presenting evidence of self-injury.
The overall goal of Project AWARE is to expand the community’s capacity to increase awareness of mental health issues, and connect children and youth with behavioral health issues to available services. The program’s objectives include increasing awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth; engaging school-aged youth and their families to increase awareness of and promote positive mental health; increasing the mental health literacy of school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth; and increasing the capacity of communities to respond to the behavioral health issues of school-aged youth.
ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has over 260,000 students and approximately 175,000 adult students in 238 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 99 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population. Students are from 204 different countries and speak 135 different languages. For more information about BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow us on Twitter @Browardschools, like us on Facebook @ facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free Broward County Public Schools mobile app.