Our Work

Implementation and Evaluation: Project AWARE



Utilizing the trauma-informed, multi-tiered system of supports for school mental health framework, CHDI collaborated with the Connecticut State Department of Education (CSDE) and the Department of Children and Families (DCF), to launch the Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) initiative in 2018. 

Project AWARE is a five-year, SAMHSA-funded initiative, currently being piloted in three CT school districts:

  • Middletown
  • Naugatuck
  • Windham

The overarching goal of Project AWARE is to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based, trauma-informed school mental health system within each district by helping schools train staff, implement interventions and track outcomes. Components of the project comprise both preventative and targeted approaches to helping students with their mental health needs and include select initiatives led by CHDI and partner organizations: SHAPE, RULER, QPR, CBITS/BB, and Mobile Crisis. CHDI provides training, implementation and quality improvement support to each district. It is estimated that over the course of five years, 650 school staff will be trained and more than 12,000 students will receive one or more of the services offered. Future dissemination of Project AWARE to other Connecticut school districts is anticipated in order to:

  1. Expand this framework to districts in need of guidance in developing a comprehensive, school-based system.
  2. Build upon already-existing components districts have in place to encourage a systems-wide shift in thinking about holistic mental health.

View a video to learn how Project AWARE is being implemented in schools in Connecticut. 

View professional development training topics and resources for the school community developed by CHDI for the Project AWARE initiative. 

CHDI offers school districts consultation, resources, and technical assistance to address student mental health and trauma using a comprehensive framework.  Learn more.  

Jamie LoCurto, PhD - Senior Associate