Lawrence school board to consider grant application for funds to support students’ mental health

photo by: Journal-World

Lawrence Public Schools district offices pictured in April 2021.

The Lawrence school board on Monday will consider a recommendation to authorize an application for funds to support students’ mental health in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The school district’s administration is recommending that the district develop and submit an application to the School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program in collaboration with Bert Nash Community Mental Health Center and other school districts in Douglas County.

“Since the global pandemic, schools have continued to struggle with the increased need for additional mental health support to meet the needs of students,” the agenda item for Monday’s meeting states.

The program provides competitive grants to increase the number of credentialed mental health service providers offering school-based services to students.

According to agenda materials, the benefits of such a grant would include hiring 16 racially and ethnically diverse general education social workers by 2028-2029 and increasing the number of Bert Nash WRAP therapists in the school district by 10 by 2028-2029. WRAP stands for Wellness, Resources, Access & Prevention.

Other benefits, the district says, would include increased training for the district’s and Bert Nash’s school-based mental health care providers in practices such as dialectical behavioral therapy and play therapy; a strengthening of the “regional pipeline” for school-based mental health care providers in partnership with Bert Nash, the University of Kansas, Haskell Indian Nations University, Washburn University, Ottawa University, Johnson County Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College; and improved mental and behavioral health statistics for Lawrence students.

The board meets at 6 p.m. Monday at district headquarters, 110 McDonald Drive. The meeting can also be live-streamed on the district’s YouTube Channel.


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