File photo.

Note: A pdf version of the following press release, which you can see by clicking here, includes a handy map that shows geographically where and how some of the grant money mentioned below will be spent.

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Press release from the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services:

A $7.5 million grant over the next four years will make it possible for children and youth throughout Humboldt County to receive much needed mental health services at their schools. This brings to more than $9 million, the amount of grant funding awarded to the Humboldt County Department of Health & Human Services (DHHS) and its partners in little over a month. 

All three awards are Mental Health Services Oversight and Accountability Commission’s SB 82 Triage personnel grants and include nearly $1 million to hire more Mobile Response Team (MRT) staff who serve adults and almost $730,000 additional funding for Children & Family Services MRT staff.

The largest grant, a partnership between the Humboldt County Office of Education and DHHS Mental Health, will provide children with mental health services in school. 

In a county spanning more than 4,000 square miles, accessing services can be difficult for people in outlying areas. 

“Local students and families confront mental health challenges every day both at home and school,” said Jack Bareilles, the Grants and Evaluation Administrator for the Northern Humboldt Union High School District. “This award will allow DHHS and the schools to hire school-based staff to directly serve children where they are 180 days a year—at the schools.”

The grant will fund 22 positions, including mental health clinicians, case managers and other support personnel. Six clinicians and a supervising clinician will be employed by DHHS, the remaining 15 people will be employed by local school districts throughout the county. Both county and school staff will be stationed in schools. 

“We are pleased to partner with the schools to be able to provide more mental health services to school-age children throughout our county,” said DHHS Director Connie Beck. “Having the opportunity to address mental health concerns earlier in children’s lives improves their chances for better behavioral, social, developmental, academic and physical success in the future.” 

In addition, Mental Health’s Children & Family Services MRT grant will provide mental health services to young people from 0 to 21 years old in communities throughout the county. 

MRT personnel will be located almost entirely in the field, serving locations such as schools, DHHS’s Transition-Age Youth Division’s drop-in center, hospital emergency departments, tribal communities, the probation department and the locked juvenile facility. 

Mental Health Director Emi Botzler-Rodgers said these three grants will make it possible to better respond to, support and provide services to people experiencing mental health challenges throughout the community.

“This funding will make it possible for us to expand the services we offer throughout the county, and continue to build on the partnerships we have with law enforcement, the medical community, our educational partners and other service providers.”