HCPS Receives Mental Health Grant

HCPS Receives Grant for Mental Health Supports
Posted on 10/27/2022
HCPS LogoHanover County Public Schools (HCPS) has received a state grant to help further bolster our efforts to serve the mental health needs of students.

HCPS was awarded a $374,850 grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services (VDBHDS) to address mental health needs across our county, building on the school division’s longstanding efforts to care for the whole child, not only the academic, but the social, physical, and emotional well-being of students. The Hanover County School Board and the Hanover County Board of Supervisors approved the grant, which runs through June 30, earlier this month.

Through the grant, which came as the result of a competitive process, HCPS will be working with the Hanover County Community Services Board (HCCSB) to hire four additional staff members (specifically to serve students at Atlee and Hanover high schools as well as Bell Creek and Liberty middle schools), purchase mental health support materials that will be provided to all 26 schools within HCPS, and purchase materials to provide calming spaces in our 26 schools for students who need to utilize coping mechanisms in order to stay in the school setting. The additional staff members will expand an existing partnership with the HCCSB following a successful pilot program at Patrick Henry and Mechanicsville high schools in which a HCCSB counselor is housed in the schools and supports identified students and families in securing long-term services related to mental health.

“We remain committed to providing our students with the best education possible while also supporting their unique and complex needs,” said Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools. “We deeply value their mental health and understand that we must first meet their most basic needs as human beings before we can expect them to learn and achieve. We are proud of the many programs and training opportunities that assist in serving this important need. We are committed to this life-changing work of truly supporting our students as we know that it is some of the most meaningful work that can be undertaken.”

During the 2018-19 school year, HCPS was the first school division in Virginia to form a Mental Health Task Force. Since then, the school division has implemented the Task Force’s recommendations, including the implementation of Signs of Suicide lessons in all middle and high schools, a strong and growing partnership with the Cameron Gallagher Foundation and the Hanover Community Services Board, and classroom lessons that help students apply the knowledge, attitudes, and skills necessary to understand and manage their emotions, and more.

HCPS has also partnered with Laaser’s Ladybug Society, a nonprofit organization that supports mental health needs, who are assisting in providing professional learning for school counselors and items and supplies to provide mental health supports for students.

This work has not gone unnoticed.

Earlier this year, Hanover’s school-based mental health services program received an achievement award from The Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) – awards that recognize excellence in local government programs in the areas of innovation, cooperation, and model practices.

Hanover’s school-based mental health services were recognized as a model program in the area of health and human services.
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