TOPEKA – Governor Laura Kelly today announced that Kansas has received $9 million in funding from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to address the behavioral health needs of nearly 40,000 students in the southeast part of the state.
“Ensuring students in every part of the state have access to quality mental and behavioral health services has been a top priority of my administration since Day One,” Governor Kelly said. “By leveraging SAMHSA funding, we’re giving kids in Southeast Kansas the tools they need to navigate their unique challenges now and into the future.”
The funding will be spread out over five years and will be administered through the Department of Pediatrics at KU School of Medicine to fund KanAWARE, a coalition of state and nonprofit organizations that works to address student behavioral health needs in the southeast Kansas corridor.
With this grant, KanAWARE will integrate school-based community health workers into its behavioral health support system for students and families in need.
“We are excited to be part of the coalition of agencies working on this grant project,” said Andy Brown, Behavioral Health Services Commissioner for the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services (KDADS). “This project will help establish a sustainable infrastructure for promoting behavioral health in schools.”
KanAWARE is an expansion of Telehealth Rural Outreach for the Children of Kansas (Telehealth ROCKS), an internet-based delivery service model to address the health disparities faced by rural children.
“We have never faced a time of greater student behavioral health needs, matched with community innovation to meet these needs,” said Dr. Eve-Lynn Nelson, KanAWARE principal investigator. “Our Telehealth ROCKS team and partners are grateful for KanAWARE funding to extend our strongest, evidence-supported behavioral health strategies and to set students up for success now and in the future.”
KanAWARE is the result of a collaboration between the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services; the Kansas State Department of Education; the University of Kansas’ school-based Telehealth ROCKS program; local education agencies; community-based providers of behavioral health care services; Families Together, a child and family advocacy and support nonprofit; and students and their families.