New Grant Enhances Efforts to Expand Mental Health Care in D.C. Schools

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 16, 2019) – The Center for Health and Health Care in Schools (CHHCS), based at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health (Milken Institute SPH), received a $750,000 grant to complement its efforts to expand access to behavioral health care programs in Washington, D.C., public and public charter schools.

The 3-year grant from The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation will enhance the work that CHHCS is conducting in partnership with the D.C. Department of Behavioral Health (DBH) and others to help schools and mental health providers integrate mental health care into the academic setting to support positive development among students.

The new grant will support staffing and coordination of the multiple city-wide efforts that CHHCS is facilitating alongside DBH, D.C. public and public charter schools, and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education. CHHCS is providing technical assistance to schools and community-based organizations that offer mental health supports to students and their families.

Consistent with national statistics, one in five children in the District has or will have a serious mental health problem that is likely to go untreated. These children are more likely to experience behavioral or learning difficulties in school. Struggling students are also more likely to fight, be suspended or expelled from schools.

"This funding helps us gather the resources we need to use innovative strategies to meaningfully engage our collaborators and sustain the work of implementing best practices in school behavioral health,” said Olga Acosta Price, PhD, director of CHHCS, and an associate professor of prevention and community health at Milken Institute SPH. “Together, we can provide students with an environment that supports their academic, social and emotional well-being.”