CENTRAL ILLINOIS, Ill. (WCIA) — Some Central Illinois institutions are getting a piece of a $9.5 million state grant to support child and adolescent mental health across the state.

The funds are primarily from the CDC’s COVID-19 Public Health Workforce Supplemental Funding program. They will be shared among 40 different applicants statewide, including schools, hospitals, clinic-based programs, local health departments, and colleges. Individual grants range from $83,000 to just over $400,000.

The funds will be used to assist local institutions in handling youth mental health. Some areas of focus include workforce enhancements, preventing childhood trauma, helping children deal with trauma, and expanding adolescent mental health training.

Some recipients in Central Illinois include:

  • Horizon Health Foundation – Paris – $99,731.66
  • Douglas County Health Department – Tuscola – $241,974.05
  • Lincoln Elementary School District #27 – Lincoln – $86,657.93
  • Tri-County Special Education Association – Bloomington (also spans Logan County and DeWitt County) – $377,807.70

The CDC program is authorized by the American Rescue Plan Act and $500,000 in state dollars. The Illinois Department of Public Health’s Office of Women’s Health & Family Services was in charge of the funding opportunity, of which more than 50% of applicants will benefit.

“We recognize that the last few years have presented numerous challenges for all of us, and this is especially so for our youth,” Governor Pritzker said. “Thanks to this infusion of federal funding, we are strengthening school-based programs and local agencies that serve the mental health needs of young people all across Illinois. I applaud the Biden Administration for recognizing the need to direct resources to these kinds of programs that support our youth.”

“IDPH is excited to support innovative ideas from across the state dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of children and young people,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said. “From Winnebago County in the north to Gallatin County in Southern Illinois, we were impressed with the thoughtful proposals we received from schools, health care providers, local health departments, and colleges to strengthen child and adolescent health.” 

Proposed strategies to help strengthen mental health services for students have included:

  • Creating student support programs.
  • Offering special classes on stress management and nutrition.
  • Supporting and training teachers and school personnel in mental health education.
  • Raising awareness about suicide prevention.
  • Creating plans for mental health outreach.
  • Preparing for mental health needs during public emergencies.
  • Hiring counselors and other mental health experts.
  • Offering online counseling.