AWARE Initiative

Anderson County Schools is set to receive over $ 2.2 million in funding over the next five years to plan and implement the AWARE initiative. Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education (AWARE) aims to expand youth access to mental health resources and promote resilience and positive behavioral functioning among school-age youth to keep youth in school and out of the juvenile justice system explains Kim Guinn, Director of the AWARE Initiative.  Project AWARE represents the third and fourth components of President Obama's Now Is the Time Initiative which is aimed at making schools safe and focusing on access to mental health services.  Anderson County is one of three Tennessee counties to win this federal award coming from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Prevention strategies will include developing mental health awareness and outreach campaigns, youth and family engagement strategies, establishing  early identification and referral processes to connect youth to appropriate services, placing mental health clinicians in schools to deliver effective, targeted and intensive interventions and referrals, refining school discipline policies to reduce loss of instructional time and removals from school due to suspension and expulsion, and implementing evidence-based violence prevention programs.

Look for mental health services with a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) to begin at schools during the fall of 2015.  School Counselors will be working closely with the LCSW to identify students that may need additional services. As with any health care services involving minors, permission from a parent or guardian is required.