Gov. Evers awards $966K to MPS for school-based mental health initiatives

WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Governor Tony Evers announced Wednesday that nearly every school district across the state, including more than 450 local education agencies, will be awarded funds through the $15 million "Get Kids Ahead" initiative. 

Gov. Evers stopped at Journey House in Milwaukee Wednesday to talk about mental health challenges experienced by kids after two years of the pandemic. Evers announced that through his new program, the Milwaukee Public School system will receive $966,000 -- money that will be used for school-based mental health initiatives.

The governor's office says schools will be able to use these funds to provide direct mental health care, hire and support mental health navigators, provide mental health first aid and trauma-based care training, or provide family assistance programs.

“We know that long before the pandemic hit, kids across our state were already facing immense challenges with their mental health, but as parents and educators are seeing firsthand, these challenges have only been made worse by the isolating and traumatic events of the past two years,” said Gov. Evers. “These funds will go directly towards whatever mental health support and services our kids need so they can be successful both in and out of the classroom to help them grow, learn, and get ahead.”

Every public school district in the state was eligible to opt in to receive these funds and was guaranteed a minimum of $10,000. The governor's office says the remainder of funds were allocated on a per-pupil basis. 

Last week, Gov. Evers announced a $5 million investment to make telehealth services, including mental and behavioral health services, more accessible by creating two $2.5 million grant programs for providers to expand child psychiatry telehealth services and partner with community organizations to establish neighborhood telehealth access points at food pantries, homeless shelters, libraries, long-term care facilities, community centers and schools for people with limited access to technology and internet service.

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