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Idaho receives $4.8 million mental health grant for students

An apple balancing on top of school textbooks
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High-needs schools in Idaho will be able to apply for a new pot of federal grant money to strengthen students’ mental health.

U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona announced the nearly $1 billion grant program Wednesday, saying it’s a game changer. Idaho will get up to $4.8 million of that total.

“We’re talking about support for things like addressing bullying and harassment – interventions to disrupt community violence and additional school counseling,” Cardona said.

The money could also be used for things like training teachers and staff to be aware of warning signs that a student might be in mental distress or funding a mentorship program.

Cardona said students who feel like they belong and are supported are more likely to do better in school. That’s why, he said, schools must focus on more than solely keeping students physically safe.

“While that’s important, we must look beyond that. We must also include supports like culturally and linguistically affirming practices and ongoing professional learning for our teachers.”

Teen suicide rates in Idaho are nearly double the national average, according to America’s Health Rankings. It’s among the worst in the country, as is the availability of mental health services.

Follow James Dawson on Twitter @RadioDawson for more local news.

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I cover politics and a bit of everything else for Boise State Public Radio. Outside of public meetings, you can find me fly fishing, making cool things out of leather or watching the Seattle Mariners' latest rebuilding season. If you have a tip, please get in touch!

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