North Carolina’s Project AWARE/ACTIVATE is a collaboration between the NC Department of Public Instruction and the NC Department of Health and Human Services to develop a comprehensive plan of activities, services, and strategies for connecting youth and families to mental health services in six pilot school districts.
Project AWARE/ACTIVATE promotes innovative service delivery based on the recommendations of the NC School Mental Health Initiative for equitable access to high quality and well-coordinated mental health and substance abuse services, including 1) continuum of support and services, 2) strategies to foster sustainability, and 3) engagement of all stakeholders.
Project AWARE/ACTIVATE addresses the three tiers of mental health (promotion, prevention, and intervention) through a continuum of education, universal screening, and appropriate services and support for all students in response to varying levels of need. Recognizing the interrelatedness of academic outcomes and the mental health/well-being of students, Project AWARE/ACTIVATE seeks to provide an embedded approach within an existing system (schools) versus fragmented and reactive approaches.
Goals and Outcomes
The NC Department of Public Instruction’s Exceptional Children's Division, in collaboration with the NC Department of Health and Human Services, has the following goals for Project AWARE/ACTIVATE:
1. Improve behavioral and psychological indices of school engagement and decrease school disciplinary events for preschool through 12th grade by implementing universal prevention activities within a Multi-Tiered System of Support.
2. Reduce school dropouts, the rate of attempted suicide, and substance abuse by increasing the number of at-risk students receiving supplemental and intensive mental health and substance-use support within a Multi-Tiered System of Supports.
3. Improve coordination and sustainability of mental health supports and services through increased family and community agency engagement.
4. Increase the knowledge and effective practice of all school staff in recognizing and responding to student mental health needs.