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Southern Oklahoma schools receive $9 million mental health grant

Published: Oct. 13, 2021 at 9:06 PM CDT
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SULPHUR, Okla. (KXII) - Over the course of the pandemic the mental health of students has become a top priority for schools across the country.

But many schools just don’t have the resources to handle these issues in the way that they need to be handled.

One example of this is Sulphur Public Schools which, according to superintendent Matt Holder, has been stretched pretty thin.

“Our school counselors do a great job but their also overwhelmed with just the day to day stuff and don’t often times get to sit down and talk to kids like we know they need it,” Holder said.

The Oklahoma department of education is stepping in to try and help with the overwhelming challenge in front of those counselors.

Sulphur, along with Davis and Lawton, have been chosen as the recipients of the Oklahoma AWARE South grant worth $9 million.

The grant is the third of its kind with the first two going to schools in Eastern and Western Oklahoma for a total of $26.6 million.

“we’re going to be able to hire two positions out of it,” Holder said. “We’ll get to hire a licensed practicing counselor and that’s something that’s really exciting around here.”

The first step will be to hire a community manager who will help coordinate the funds from the grant to help hire the LPC.

According to a press release from OSDE the project plans to provide a minimum of 15 hours of mental health training per year for school employees.

The overall goal of the project is help lower the number of disciplinary actions taken each school year.

Holder believes that that impact could have a ripple effect on the rest of the schools.

“Being able to provide services that we know are needed out there for our kids, and in turn our look at this, is that this it really is going to improve things academically.”

Holder says the funding will become available this month and that they plan to have a community manager named by the end of November.

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