The University of South Florida St. Petersburg’s College of Education received a $2.2 million grant for a new statewide training program for K-12 schools.
USF St. Pete will work with the Florida Department of Education to help school personnel identify the signs of emotional distress, mental health difficulties and substance abuse disorders - then connect those students with resources.
The Youth Mental Health Awareness and Training Administration Project is part of a larger legislative initiative developed from the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School Public Safety Act.
The new initiative is based on the Multiagency Service Network for Students with Severe Emotional Disturbance Administration Project (SEDNET), which is housed at USF St. Petersburg.
“For decades, the issue of mental health in schools has been on a back burner,” Jordan Knab, principal investigator for USF St. Petersburg’s College of Education, said in a news release. “People aren’t always willing to talk about mental health issues.”
The program will launch this school year.