The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently awarded the Utah State Board of Education a 5-year, $8.4 million Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration grant targeting mental health issues among school-aged children.

Using the grant money, Utah will move forward with Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) in the Alpine, Cache and Jordan school districts. Together these districts serve more than 150,000 students or nearly a quarter of Utah’s public school population.

Project AWARE is aimed at increasing awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth, provide training for school personnel, families, and community members, and connect youth and families with behavioral health services. In addition to assisting students as a whole, there is a cultural competency component embedded in the grant to support American Indian students.