Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT)
Solicitation Issue date: March 2024
Deadline: Expected May 2024
Who May Apply: School districts, political subdivisions of States and Territories, including the District of Columbia, Indian tribes, or tribal organizations, and non-profit private entities.
Award Information & Duration
Up to $200K per year over 3 years ($600K total)
Estimated # of Awards
Through this opportunity, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration seeks to provide funding to support programs that prepare and train individuals to respond to persons appropriately and safely with mental health challenges and or disorders. Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) grants can fund programs that (1) train individuals (e.g., school personnel, emergency first responders, law enforcement, veterans, armed services members and their families) to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental disorders, particularly serious mental illness (SMI) and/or serious emotional disturbances (SED); (2) establish linkages with school- and/or community-based mental health agencies to refer individuals with the signs or symptoms of mental illness to appropriate services; (3) train emergency services personnel, law enforcement, fire department personnel, veterans, and others to identify persons with a mental disorder and employ crisis de-escalation techniques; and (4) educate individuals about resources that are available in the community for individuals with a mental disorder.
Training on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of mental illness and how to respond safely and appropriately could be provided to several categories of individuals. LEAs who are awarded MHAT grants may provide training to the following categories of individuals:
- Teachers and relevant school personnel (e.g., school resource officers, security officers, truancy officers, support staff, transportation providers, afterschool providers) who interact with children and youth in a school setting.
- Law enforcement and emergency services personnel (e.g., paramedics, firefighters, emergency medical technicians) who are in regular contact with the public and may need to safely de-escalate crisis situations.
- Institutions of higher education personnel who interact with college students.
- Families, caregivers, and service providers in contact with armed services personnel, veterans, and their families, who may be experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, and other mental disorders that may be impairing their functioning in daily life activities.
- Parents and caregivers of children and youth with a serious emotional disturbance or youth experiencing a first episode of psychosis.
- Primary care and specialty providers of medical care who provide prevention and treatment services to the public (e.g., obstetricians who treat women with postpartum depression; general practitioners who interact with patients with co-occurring disorders).
- Community leaders, faith-based leaders, and other trusted individuals and organizations within diverse racial, ethnic, sexual and gender minority communities.
How this grant can be used:
These are the activities that every grant project must implement:
- Implement in-person evidence-based mental health awareness training that includes recognizing the signs and symptoms of mental illness, identifying resources available in the community for individuals with a mental illness and other relevant resources, and safely de-escalating a crisis involving an individual with a mental illness.
- Identify resources and support within the geographic catchment area, and develop written and electronic materials for the individuals being trained so they may assist the population of focus, particularly those with SMI and/or SED.
- Establish referral mechanisms that increase the ability of the individuals trained in mental health awareness to refer and link the population of focus to mental health resources and services.
- Develop and implement a mental health awareness training plan that includes:
- Curriculum and/or evidence-based practices to be used for mental health awareness training that is culturally and developmentally appropriate for the population of focus.
- Processes to be used (e.g., screening, assessment, consultation, treatment) to refer the population of focus to mental health resources and services.
- Identification of de-escalation strategies that can be used by individuals trained in mental health awareness for crisis situations involving the population of focus.
- The process to evaluate improvements in domains of knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs as a result of receiving mental health awareness training.
- The process to be used to track referrals to mental health resources and services.
- Identification of community outreach and engagement strategies to ensure that participation in mental health awareness training results in a broad representation of community members and individuals who reflect the diversity of the selected population of focus.
- A description of culturally and linguistically appropriate resources that include mental health services agencies and other appropriate resources that can be used by individuals trained in mental health awareness.
- Develop collaborative partnerships with relevant community agencies and programs to assist with responding to mental health issues and improve coordination of services to the population of focus.
- Utilize social media for the dissemination of mental health awareness information, resources, training opportunities, and community outreach activities to decrease stigma related to mental health.
Stilwell Public School District (OK)| 2023 | $125,000
Stilwell Public School comprises three campuses serving 1,350 high-need students in the small town of Stilwell, Oklahoma, the most impoverished township in the state. Annually, Stilwell Public Schools will deliver mental health first aid training, at minimum, to the following unduplicated groups: educators (40); parents (50); students over the age of 16 (120); youth development staff (10); and first responders (15). Trainings will be held in Stilwell Public Schools’ facilities, which are centrally located, ADA-compliant, easily accessible, and equipped for trainings with classrooms, presentation equipment, and internet services. Individuals will be trained to identify challenges among youth – the population of focus. Stilwell Public School’s Mental Health Awareness Training (MHAT) initiative will train 245 individuals annually, reaching 1,225 (unduplicated) residents of Adair County in five years.
North Rose-Wolcott Central School District (NY)| 2023 | $125,000
To prevent serious mental health issues among students and respond appropriately to those experiencing a mental health crisis or disorder, the Northern Wayne County trauma-informed community schools MHAT project will develop and implement a systemic, community-schools based training program that will train trainers, instructional staff, and community staff who work with youth in youth mental health first aid and therapeutic crisis intervention in schools. North Rose-Wolcott Central School District will lead a consortium of four school districts including Red Creek, Sodus, and Williamson Central School Districts, and partner with community-based agencies including the Veterans Service Agency, Wayne Behavioral Health Network, and the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office. This project will develop a self-sustaining training model by training mental health consortium staff as trainers in YMHFA and TCIS. By year 5, 18 consortium staff will be trained as YMHFA trainers, and 18 consortium staff will be trained as TCIS trainers, with 4 certified to train new trainers. In year 1, 116 staff will be trained. In year 2, 196 staff will be trained. In year 3, 228 staff will be trained. In year 4, 268 staff will be trained. In year 5, 324 staff will be trained, for a total of 1132 staff (including trainers) in the schools and community trained in TCIS and YMHFA.
Prince George’s County Public Schools (MD)| 2023 | $176,670
To meet the demands of mental health crises in secondary schools, Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) proposes to implement the connect, understand, build, and empower (CUBE) project. PGCPS’ CUBE project will expand the number of secondary schools trained on sources of strength, an evidenced-based suicide prevention program. The project’s goals are to (1) increase staff and students’ awareness of mental health resources through training and access to mental health resources and (2) increase the referrals of middle and high school students to school and community-based mental health professionals. PGCPS, is the nation’s 20th largest school district and the 2nd largest school system in the state of Maryland, serves 131,657 students in 208 schools and centers. As a strategic intervention, PGCPS’ CUBE project includes expanding sources of strength from 10 to 20 middle and high schools. The intervention will (1) be implemented in twenty (20) PGCPS middle and high schools and 1,220 individuals will be trained (2) increase the number of referrals to the contracted mental health clinicians assigned to the middle and high schools where sources of strength is implemented (3) increase the number of student self-referrals for suicide intervention conducted by school mental health professionals (e.g., school counselors, school psychologists and mental health clinicians) at the middle and high schools where sources of strength is implemented (4) increase the number of peer referrals for suicide intervention conducted by school mental health professionals at the middle and high schools where sources of strength is implemented and (5) increase the overall number of suicide interventions conducted by school mental health professionals at the middle and high schools where sources of strength is implemented.