Project AWARE Grant Awarded to the West Virginia Department of Education

October 29, 2014

CHARLESTON, WV- The West Virginia Department of Education (WVDE) will receive a grant for $9.7 million to curb gun violence by connecting families, schools and communities to mental health services.

West Virginia was one of 120 states and local school districts to receive the Now is the Time Project AWARE grant for mental health first aid training. The grant is part of a major national initiative to support teachers, schools and communities in recognizing and responding to mental health concerns among youth in West Virginia.

Project AWARE’s purpose is to increase awareness of the mental health issues throughout the state by training school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth on how to detect, respond and connect children and families who may have mental health issues with the appropriate services.

“We understand the critical role schools play in ensuring that behavioral problems are identified early so that young people can grow and thrive in a healthy environment,” said Michael Martirano, West Virginia Superintendent of Schools. “Left untreated, childhood mental and emotional disorders can lead to poor outcomes in school, limited employment opportunities and other negative economic impacts in adulthood. This funding will help develop a comprehensive, coordinated and integrated program for advancing wellness and resilience in our state’s educational system.”

The funding provided by Project AWARE grant will begin the process of developing an interconnected systems framework linking the school climate policy, positive behavioral interventions and supports, comprehensive school counseling programs, student advisory programs, mental health first aid and mental health services in order to leverage individual program strengths within a community schools framework.

Public school students in PreK-12 from county school systems in Berkeley, McDowell, and Wood counties were selected for intense focus and will serve as the demonstration sites to guide the development of a statewide sustainable systems’ approach to improve mental health services.

The Now is the Time Project AWARE grant was made possible through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and will be administered over five years.

SAMHA Grant Link can be found at

For more information, contact Liza Cordeiro in the WVDE Communications Office at (304) 558-2699. 



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