The Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative in Hope is the recipient of a $4,043,639 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s School Based Mental Health Services Grant Program.
The education services cooperative will use the funding through 2027 to support its member public school districts in Miller, Hempstead, Nevada and Lafayette counties.
The grant’s purpose is to increase the number of credentialed mental health service providers providing school-based mental health services to students.
The multiyear grant will enable the cooperative to hire and retain a staff of eight professionals with backgrounds in social work, counseling and behavior. The team will implement trauma informed care and administer assessments while ensuring that all schools in the cooperative will have access to therapists, case managers and social workers.
To deliver immediate support, the cooperative will use e-therapy and other online tools — including the HELPme app — while the team is being recruited and trained. This will allow services to connect children in crisis with resources without delay.
“We are thrilled to be able to offer this service to our districts,” cooperative Director Phoebe Bailey said. “I feel that this is a model for improving mental health support in our corner of the state. I see our short term goal to be reducing outburst and violent events on campus with the long term vision of improving mental health for children and having a positive impact on school climate.”
Southwest Arkansas Education Cooperative was among 102 applicants across the country awarded funds as a part of the grant program.