SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — The Illinois Department of Public Health is awarding $3.5 million to support children’s mental health post-COVID-19 pandemic.

Nineteen organizations are receiving the grants. The grants are headed to places like behavioral health treatment centers, schools, healthcare groups, local health departments and colleges.

Officials say the funding will help prevent adverse childhood experiences like food insecurity and child abuse in the post-pandemic era.

“IDPH is dedicated to addressing the mental health needs of children and young people who have been through a very challenging and disruptive time as a result of the pandemic,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said. “We are very pleased to be able to support these thoughtful and innovative strategies to strengthen child and adolescent health.” 

Four of the grantees are located in central Illinois: Christian County, the Macoupin County Public Health Department, the Gibson Community Health Association in Ford County and the Illinois Public Health Association in Sangamon County. All four received the maximum funding of $200,000. Officials say more than half of all applicants are receiving funding.

40 organizations across the state were awarded $9.5 million in grants recently. Those grants were mostly federally funded.