$ 10,000 grant to boost mental health programs in schools – The Daily Reporter

HANCOCK COUNTY – Christmas has come early for the Hancock Health Foundation, which this month received a $ 10,000 grant from Duke Energy to support mental health programs in local schools.

The Duke Energy Foundation announced the grant on Monday, when nine agencies received a total of $ 255,000 to address addiction and mental health needs affecting 18 communities statewide.

In Hancock County, the funding will allow Healthy365, a department of Hancock Health, to improve and expand its mental health and addiction prevention and early intervention programs in county schools.

“This includes expanding suicide prevention training, hosting mental health awareness events, and providing educational materials and resources,” said Allyson Smith, director of the Hancock Health Foundation.

Although Healthy365 has many funding sources, Smith said it is the foundation that primarily raises money for underfunded programs and services, like school-based prevention programs.

The Duke Energy grant will go a long way in ensuring the sustainability of these programs in the four Hancock County school districts, she said, including suicide prevention training, counseling and supervised mental health support. by peers.

Across the county, Hancock Health has already trained teachers at all grade levels in QPR suicide prevention training, which means questioning, persuading and referring.

A few years ago, the non-profit organization introduced RemedyLIVE, a 24-hour mental health call center, to four high schools in the county.

Hancock Health has also facilitated peer-run mental health clubs in local schools and hosted several sessions of Rise Above It, a free workshop on emotional health and wellness for the public.

“We also have some of our social workers who work directly in schools to provide counseling, and we provide mental health resources for teachers and staff, like our pocket guides on mental health,” Smith said.

Of all the school programs, Smith said the grant from Duke Energy would be used to bring RemedyLIVE back and start training high school students at QPR now that all the teachers have been trained.

Amanda Hinkle, Healthy Community Manager and Care System Coordinator for Healthy365, said the county’s four school districts are receptive to QPR in-school training for students and each have a plan to make it easier.

“The first step consists in piloting the training with a few classes in each high school in the spring, then integrating it into the program the following school year. Some schools are considering training their health teacher to teach QPR so that foreigners don’t have to come “for the training, Hinkle said.

All four districts also support the Fort Wayne-based RemedyLIVE program. “This program would target teachers and school staff as well as students. We hope this will happen in the spring before graduation, ”Hinkle said.

She and Smith were delighted to learn that Hancock Health was among nine recipients of the Duke Energy grant.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen an increase in mental health and substance abuse disorders in Indiana,” Stan Pinegar, president of Duke Energy Indiana, said in a press release this week.

“I have personally heard our community leaders say more needs to be done, and we are joining the fight in supporting the essential work of organizations that provide pathways to prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services.” .

The grants will support a wide range of initiatives to create and expand mental health and addiction services across the state.

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