October 13, 2020
CARSON CITY Nev. – The Nevada Department of Education (NDE) announced today that Nevada was one of only five states awarded federal funding through the U.S. Department of Education’s School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program. The $10.3 million award will be distributed over a five-year period with an award of $2,391,322 in the first year.
The success of the grant application is due to the collaborative efforts of NDE’s Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment with leadership from Nevada State College; University of Nevada, Reno; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; the Nevada School Counselor Association; Nevada Association of Social Workers; and the Nevada Association of School Psychologists.
The funding will increase students’ access to qualified mental health service professionals. NDE will leverage the grant funding to continue its partnership with the Nevada System of Higher Education to expand the pipeline of qualified mental health service providers to our schools. Recruiting providers from within our own communities helps address the urgent need for culturally and linguistically responsive services.
“I know from speaking with students, families, and educators that many Nevadans are struggling right now to have their most basic mental health needs met,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert. “We also recognize that schools are in a unique position to respond to those needs by making connections to community resources as well as providing supports that enhance the mental and behavioral health of our most vulnerable children.”
The funds awarded through this grant will support recruitment and retention activities of Specialized Instructional Support Personnel (SISP) Statewide and builds on the work of Governor Steve Sisolak, the Nevada State Legislature, and the State Board of Education to increase the number of these professionals in our schools. As defined in State law, SISP include school counselors, school psychologists, school social workers, school nurses, speech-language pathologists, school library media specialists, and other such qualified professionals (see NRS 388.890).
State Board of Education President Elaine Wynn expressed support for an increased focus on the mental health needs of students. “We must do everything we can to ensure our schools are safe, welcoming, and supportive environments for all children. Specialized Instructional Support Personnel are essential parts of our school communities and we will continue to work with the Department to get the ratios of SISP to reflect the national standards adopted by the Board this year.”
Questions regarding increases in mental health supports as well as crisis intervention services may be directed to the Christy McGill, Director of the Office for a Safe and Respectful Learning Environment at the Nevada Department of Education, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, if students, families, or educators wish to report concerns regarding the mental health and well-being of themselves or others, they may do so through the State’s confidential reporting system, SafeVoice, which is available on the app store for Apple and Android devices as well as through accessing the website or hotline below, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week.
• SafeVoice website: safevoicenv.org
• SafeVoice hotline: 1-833-216-SAFE (7233)