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Project AWARE: Addressing Students' Trauma and Mental Health Needs Using a Comprehensive Approach

Three Connecticut school districts are working to provide students with a full range of behavioral health and trauma supports through Connecticut’s Project AWARE initiative. The effort is funded through a federal SAMHSA grant awarded to the State Department of Education, and developed in collaboration with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and CHDI. Over the next four years, CHDI will help Middletown, Naugatuck, and Windham school districts to provide evidence-based trauma treatments (CBITS and Bounce Back) to students; as well as assist with training, evaluation, and school mental health assessment through the SHAPE System.

The core elements of Project AWARE include programming to promote social emotional development among all students, activities to strengthen school-family-community connections related to student well-being, training to increase staff knowledge of mental health risk factors, screening strategies to identify trauma and behavioral health concerns as early as possible, connections for students in need to effective treatment resources, and use of data to drive decision making and prioritization of resources. The grant provides Connecticut with an opportunity to apply the model for a trauma-informed multi-tiered system of supports for school mental health laid out in CHDI’s IMPACT: Healthy Student’s and Thriving Schools in the three Project AWARE districts.