'Invest heavily in our students': Kentucky to get over 18M in federal funding for school-based mental health counselors

“Providing resources for our students to optimize their mental health is a top priority of ours,” Northern KY Cooperative for Educational Services Amy Razor said.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Federal funding for students’ mental health is headed to Northern and North Central Kentucky.

According to a press release, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman joined students and educational leaders to announce federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education is headed to school-based mental health services.

The Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services (NKCES) will get $13,263,481 over five years, and the Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC) will get $5,281,577 over five years.

NKCES will use the funding to hire a total of 30 mental health service providers, 10 in the first year and 20 in the following years.

Executive Director Amy Razor said the need for mental health services is increasing.

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“Providing resources for our students to optimize their mental health is a top priority of ours, which is why we are so grateful to receive this important grant. We are proactive about emotional wellness in our school communities and these funds will be invested to strengthen the pipeline of support for our students,” Razor said.

OVEC will hire 12 new certified school counselors for K-12 students in Northern Central Kentucky according to the release.

Jason Adkins, OVEC’s chief executive officer, said the rise in students’ “social and emotional concerns is nothing less than a mental health pandemic.”

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“In our education-first administration, Kentucky’s students and their well-being remain top of mind,” Coleman said. “Now is the time to invest heavily in our students – beyond the tangible objects like facilities and books.”

Coleman worked with students from the Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council to address the mental health crisis brought on by the pandemic according to the release. They hosted 10 summits across the Commonwealth and presented their information to the Kentucky legislature.

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