City of Livermore and LVJUSD Awarded Federal Grants to Support Mental Health and School Safety
October 11, 2018 - Livermore, CA - The Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District (LVJUSD) and the City of Livermore have been awarded nearly half a million dollars through three federal grants to address mental health and school safety in the District. Two of the grants, paid over three years, primarily focus on mental health awareness training (MHAT) and the third on school violence prevention. All three grants seek to support the health and safety of students through additional community resources, extensive training for staff and families, and the development of a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) - an expansion of services already provided by the District’s Crisis Team.
Awarded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), both MHAT grants address the findings of the 2015 LVJUSD Health Assets and Needs Assessment, for which staff, students, parents, and community members were surveyed regarding health and wellness in the City of Livermore. The study found that behavioral health issues rank as a top health concern. Students especially expressed concern about social-emotional issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, and substance abuse.
Congressman Eric Swalwell, U.S. Representative of California’s 15th District, supported the District’s application for the grant. “LVJUSD serves a diverse community, which surveys have shown needs more help for behavioral health issues - things like stress and depression, drug or alcohol use, family stress, or other social-emotional concerns,” said Swalwell. “Any of these can hurt a student's health and academic success, and training people to recognize the warning signs can make all the difference in a young person's life."
The School Violence Prevention Program (SVPP) grant awarded by the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) will provide Livermore schools with additional equipment and supplies to enhance safety features at school sites. The grant will be administered by the City of Livermore and the Livermore Police Department, to benefit all schools in Livermore.
Livermore Police Chief Michael Harris said, “Both the School District and the Police Department consider school safety a paramount duty. That is why we are pleased to be awarded these grants and believe they will help to keep our school campuses safe, and better identify and serve those experiencing behavioral health issues.”
The partnership between the City of Livermore and the LVJUSD created a strong application for federal funds, and was the only application in California to be awarded all three grants. Superintendent of Schools, Kelly Bowers, Ed.D. said, “We are fortunate to be awarded these three grants simultaneously. Together, they will enable our district community to implement a high level of support for our students. We are eager to develop a model program that will help our students thrive.”
Through these grants, LVJUSD will develop a network of resources through six community agencies - Axis Community Health, Horizons Family Counseling, Hume Center, Kaiser Permanente, La Familia, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Tri-Valley. A coordinated partnership with these agencies establishes a link within the District between students in need and the services that will help them. These grants fund the training of staff, students, and family members to recognize signs of mental illness in youth, and prepare them to respond safely and practice de-escalation strategies to ensure students receive the services and support they need.