Following the tragic shooting in Newtown, CT on December 14, 2012, President Obama announced that Vice President Biden would lead an effort to address the gun violence that was seizing our nation. On January 16, 2013 the President announced his plan to protect our children and communities by reducing gun violence. His plan, called Now Is The Time, calls for legislative action that would help keep guns out of the wrong hands, ban assault and high-capacity magazines, make our schools safer, and increase access to mental health services.
Project AWARE was born out of the legislation to increase access to mental health services for students. The five-year Federal grant, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, was awarded to 20 states, including Georgia. Through an application process the Georgia Department of Education selected three Local Education Agencies to develop processes and procedures for connecting youth and families to community based mental health services. GSCS is collaborating with Muscogee County Schools, Newton County Schools and Georgia State University (Center for Leadership in Disability and the Center for Research on School Safety, School Climate and Classroom Management) to create sustainable processes to address these four goals:
Goal 1: Increase participation of the community (including families and youth) and mental health providers (including school-based and community-based providers) in efforts to identify the mental health resources available to meet the needs of the students and families in each LEA.
Goal 2: Increase awareness and identification of mental health and behavior concerns, and student and family access to mental health providers through the PBIS framework in Georgia Project AWARE schools.
Goal 3: Increase the percentage of Georgia youth and families receiving needed mental health services through collaboration between LEAs and community mental health providers. Goal 4: Train educators, first responders, and parents to respond to mental health needs of youth.