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Community Health Council awarded $150,000 grant to address student mental health

Nicole Mauer

[LEBANON, PA] – The Community Health Council of Lebanon County (CHC) has been awarded a 2-year, $150,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency (PCCD) to address the mental health of students in three Lebanon County public school districts.

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially felt by the youth of the Commonwealth. In the 2021 Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS), Lebanon County students reported an increase in mental health concerns, such as depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation, and difficulty in dealing with remote learning and the corresponding isolation.

CHC executive director Nikki Maurer Gray added “mental health is a top priority identified in every recent community health needs assessment we have for our community.”

The Support for Student Mental Health Needs grant seeks to support local efforts to identify and implement innovative approaches to supporting the mental health needs of students and their families, and to help them develop resiliency in the face of the on-going recovery from COVID.

With this funding, the CHC will partner with Compeer, Domestic Violence Intervention, Empower the Mind, and WellSpan Philhaven to provide programming to students, parents, faculty, and staff in the Annville-Cleona, Cornwall-Lebanon, and Northern Lebanon School Districts.

Direct student supports will include individual and group counseling services within the schools and supervised, school-based, peer-to-peer mentoring. Students will also be offered opportunities to complete the Question, Persuade, Refer (QPR) suicide prevention training. People trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to help. In addition, a Youth Mental Health First Aid course will be offered to faculty and staff in these districts. This course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations.

Students and their parents, as well as school faculty and staff will be provided opportunities to complete introductory workshops from Lakeside Global Institute focused on understanding trauma and resilience and building basic skills for being trauma-informed. Lastly, over the two-year grant period, the CHC will be able to solidify the Youth Advisory Board (YAB) as official student clubs in the participating districts and will convene these students with more regularity to empower their voices in further addressing the issues surrounding student mental health in Lebanon County.  

“We are extremely pleased to be able to ramp up these supports for our local youth at a time when waitlists to see therapists and counselors are growing,” added Vicki DeLoatch, CHC board president.

Families in the three participating districts can find out more information about these opportunities on our website as the CHC begins rolling them out during the upcoming school year.

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About the CHC

Established in 1994, the Community Health Council of Lebanon County brings together stakeholders from across the community to discuss common health goals and collaborative opportunities. Our mission is to work together to develop and mobilize resources to enhance the health of Lebanon County. The Council consists of over 25 committees, task forces, and events involving over 400 community volunteers. Learn more on our website, or social media channels:

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