Seven Texas nonprofit entities are receiving grants from the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health at The University of Texas at Austin to improve student academic achievement by supporting mental health.
The grants, which total $1.9 million, continue the foundation’s commitment to child and adolescent mental health, its growing investment in early intervention and prevention, and its support of humane, evidence-based alternatives to punitive disciplinary practices.
Researchers have found that 2 out of 3 students in the U.S. are likely to have experienced one or more traumatic events by age 17. There is also a growing consensus among educators and researchers that student mental health is a critical factor in academic achievement. However, teachers and faculty members typically have limited training to effectively respond to student mental health challenges.
“Texans are increasingly demanding a fully resourced mental health system for kids, one that gets them on a productive path that doesn’t lead to dropping out or incarceration,” said Octavio N. Martinez, Jr., executive director of the Hogg Foundation and associate vice president for diversity and community engagement at UT Austin. “These grantees are pioneering efforts to ensure that students get the emotional support they need to thrive.”
The seven grant awardees are:
- Baylor University, Diana Garland School of Social Work ($235,000) – To support the Transition to Mental Wellness program, which will address the mental health and wellness needs of students in the Waco Independent School District who are placed in disciplinary alternative education programs. The wellness program focuses on supporting students as they transition back to their home campuses.
- Children’s Grief Center of El Paso ($188,000) – To support the Public School-based Grief Support program, which identifies school districts with a demonstrated need for grief support services due to social, economic and cultural factors that create barriers to access such services, and ensures positive outcomes for service recipients.
- Communities In Schools of North Texas ($317,000) – To fund a mental health coordinator who will amplify existing dropout prevention services and reduce barriers to mental health to improve academic achievement of North Texas students in grades K-12.
- Lockhart Independent School District ($316,000) – To fund counseling and assessment via tele-video, providing timely services on multiple campuses by eliminating travel time and expenses. Transportation is identified as one of the greatest barriers to mental health care.
- Texas A&M International University, Department of Behavioral Sciences ($115,000) – To support the implementation of mental health literacy workshops that promote academic success and help-seeking behaviors among Hispanic college freshmen.
- University of North Texas, Department of Counseling and Higher Education ($314,000) – To support the Play for the Future project, which uses play therapy services to improve academic and emotional wellness in young children. The project will be rolled out at selected schools within the Denton and Little Elm Independent School districts.
- The University of Texas at Austin, Counseling and Mental Health Center ($398,000) – To support the Well-being in Learning Environments initiative, which aims to improve student achievement by working with faculty members to make shifts in the design and delivery of their courses to better support student mental health and well-being.