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Senator Lindsey Williams

Pittsburgh, Pa. − October 26, 2022 − Senator Lindsey Williams (D-Allegheny), minority chair of the Senate Education Committee, applauded the awarding of $190 million in PCCD School Safety and Security Grants to school districts across Pennsylvania, including $95 million for student mental health. For the 2022-23 school year, this grant program is being administered with the express purpose of funding projects that directly impact both physical security enhancements and mental health initiatives, with separate funding available for both.

The School Mental Health Grant program is based on SB1285, the “Grant to Support Students’ Mental Health” legislation introduced by Senator Williams and Senator Jim Brewster (D-Allegheny), which was later incorporated into the 2022-23 School Code. This program allocates $95 million, half of the total PCCD School Safety and Security Grant funding, to improve access to mental health supports for students.

“Funding student mental health initiatives in this year’s school code was a top priority for me,” said Senator Williams. “Students and teachers are telling us that there is an unprecedented mental health crisis in our schools. Providing funding that can address that crisis head on is a huge win for our students, our schools, and our communities. Seeing this funding being distributed to districts and put to use to help our students is extremely exciting.”

Districts can use this funding on specific mental health services, resources, training and supports for students, staff, and faculty. This list of allowable activities was expanded this year and includes:

  • Developing curriculum that addresses risk assessment, violence prevention, mental health early intervention, or self-care and suicide awareness and prevention;
  • Implementing violence prevention programs that address risk factors including mental health early intervention, self-care, bullying, and suicide awareness and prevention;
  • Providing counseling services for students, either through hiring counselors or expanding contracts with outside mental health providers that provide support to students in the school setting;
  • Staff training programs on positive behavior supports, de-escalation, and trauma-informed treatment;
  • Training and compensation for certified school counselors, social workers and school psychologists;
  • Screening students for adverse childhood experiences and providing of trauma-informed counseling services as necessary based on the results of screenings;
  • Increasing student and employee access to quality trauma support services and behavioral health care;
  • Expanding telemedicine delivery of school-based mental health services;
  • Creating and expanding intervention frameworks;
  • Training that focuses on identifying signs and signals of anxiety, depression, suicide or self-harm in students and best practices for seeking appropriate mental health assistance;
  • Providing, increasing, or enhancing partnerships with nonprofits and libraries for out-of-school programming for at-risk school-aged students;
  • Coordinating with local and county mental heath services and programs for employees and students;
  • Providing online programs, educational materials, and applications to provide supplemental mental health services to students.

While this grant funding is administered statewide, school districts within Senator Williams’ district receiving funding are:

  Safety and Security Grants Mental Health Grants Total Received
Allegheny Valley SD $114,073 $114,073 $228,147
Deer Lakes SD $128,202 $128,202 $256,405
Fox Chapel Area SD $162,067 $162,067 $324,134
Hampton Township SD $140,045 $140,045 $280,091
Highlands SD $135,219 $135,219 $270,439
North Allegheny SD $225,811 $225,811 $451,621
North Hills SD $170,153 $170,153 $340,306
Pine-Richland SD $166,301 $166,301 $332,602
Pittsburgh Public SD $474,137 $474,137 $948,274
Shaler SD $160,546 $160,546 $321,093

 

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