Dane County will award close to $1.5 million to a dozen local school districts to help bolster mental health services for young people, County Executive Joe Parisi announced today. The county asked school districts for proposals on the most effective means of investing dollars to improving the mental health and wellbeing of students given the Covid-19 pandemic. The county will fund those initiatives using around $1.5 million in federal stimulus funds.

“We know the behavioral health needs of young people will outlast this pandemic, so this assistance is designed to get extra supports in place prior to heading back to school this fall,” Parisi said. “This work enhances the school-based mental health teams the county and 10 school districts already partner on, known as ‘Building Bridges.’ This is further reflection of the county’s commitment to improving the wellbeing of students and, in turn, the educational outcomes of our next generation.”

The largest single grant recipients based on district applications are the Verona Area School District ($525,000), the Madison Metropolitan School District (over $454,000), and the Oregon School District at around $103,000. Schools will use the funds to expand current mental health supports. The Madison School District will use part of its grant to fund a Bilingual Resource Support Specialist. The dollars will also help purchase materials, assist in trainings, and provide resources to address bullying and focus on suicide prevention. Other districts set to receive county school mental health grants are:

Middleton Cross Plains ($72,101), Mount Horeb ($72,550), Waunakee ($29,021), Wisconsin Heights ($21,569), Monona Grove ($59,650), Lodi ($43,000) DeForest ($12,000), and Belleville ($7,000).

A resolution to award the nearly $1.5 million in grants will be reviewed by the County Board’s Health and Human Needs Committee next week with consideration by the full County Board slated for later in May.

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