Project AWARE


Project AWARE – SEA is a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Agency (SAMHSA) to the state of Michigan to address the mental health needs of students.  The State of Michigan (MDE and MDHHS) is partnering with three ISDs (Oakland, Kent, and Jackson) to implement the grant activities. 

The Mission of Project AWARE revolves around three main areas:

  1. Increase awareness of mental health issues experienced by school-aged youth.
  2. Improve the mental health literacy of adults interacting with school-aged youth.
  3. Connect children and families living with behavioral health issues to appropriate services.

To achieve this mission, local ISDs will be focusing on the following areas:

  • Improve collaboration across all child, youth, and family serving systems.
  • Improve access to and availability of school and community-based mental health services for youth.
  • Implement mental health promotion and prevention strategies.
  • Increase awareness of mental health issues among school-aged youth.
  • Ensure school personnel and other adults who interact with youth receive MHFA/YMHFA training.
  • Connect with families, schools and communities to increase engagement in planning and implementing programs.
  • Engage youth and their families in the promotion and awareness of positive mental health.
  • Connect them to needed mental health services.
  • Build the capacity and leadership to sustain school- and community-based mental health strategies.
  • Access existing funding systems to support the provision of mental health services to school-aged youth.

    Specific strategies, supports, and evidence-based practices will be selected and implemented to address identified gaps and enhance efforts at the ISD and local district level.  In addition, Project AWARE will be providing training in Youth Mental Health First Aid for district staff and community members to increase awareness and response to mental health needs of school age youth.  

    Oakland Schools is currently partnering with three pilot districts (Holly, Pontiac, and Waterford) to develop and implement strategies to meet the grant objectives.  Those interested in learning more about district participation may contact the Oakland Schools Project AWARE Lead, Holly Douglas at