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Project AWARE

Contact Information

Bridget Underdahl
Project AWARE Program Supervisor
bridget.underdahl@k12.wa.us

Project AWARE is a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) spread over five years to both build and grow mental health services and behavioral health education within the awarded districts. OSPI’s Project AWARE is now in its second cycle. It is the vision of OSPI that all young learners can be successful. Mental health services and educators, staff, mental health professionals and community members who have behavioral health training are integral to this success.

OSPI coordinates with both K12 and behavior health systems to improve mental health awareness and response within the awarded districts. Project AWARE has been awarded to three local education agencies (LEAs). These partner LEAs include Sunnyside School District, Yakima School District, and Wahluke School District. It is the goal of all stakeholders to reduce the high vulnerability to barriers in accessing mental health supports.

Project AWARE focuses on improving school climate, safety, and substance abuse prevention through increased collaboration based on a Multi-Tiered System of Supports (MTSS). All stakeholders follow the interconnected systems framework to reach project goals. This framework is used to help increase awareness of mental health issues, connect school-aged youth to services and train personnel and other adults.

Please note: The current Project AWARE grant is allocated for 2020-2025!

Project Framework

The Project AWARE grant is built on an interconnected systems framework, the base of which is home and community awareness, with the goals of de-stigmatizing mental health issues through awareness training, building self-healing, trauma-informed communities, and creating community partnerships.

Tier 1: Universal prevention, incorporating universal behavioral health screenings and support for school/home partnerships, trauma-informed training for school staff, Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports, and other prevention activities

Tier 2: Targeted interventions, such as one-to-one or small group interventions

Tier 3: Supports for students in need of wraparound services

 

Mission

Our mission is to enhance the mental and behavioral health of all students connected to Project AWARE through an interconnected system framework with the partnerships of education, mental health, and community supports which promote wellness, resilience, and tools to empower all students, families, educators, and school staff.

Vision

Through comprehensive mental and behavior health supports all students will be prepared for post-secondary pathways, careers and civic engagement.

Values

  • Ensuring equity
  • Collaborations and service
  • Achieving excellence through continuous improvement
  • Focus on the whole child

 
  • Increase literacy and awareness of behavioral health issues among school-aged youth
  • Promote social and emotional learning
  • Connect children, youth, and families who may have behavioral health issues with appropriate services
  • Improve school climate
  • Promote positive mental health among youth and families through social and emotional learning
  • Build the capacity and leadership to sustain community-based mental health promotion, prevention, early identification and treatment services
  • Provide training for school personnel and other adults who interact with school-aged youth to detect and respond to mental health issues in children and young adults