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AFMC Receives $8.8M Federal Grant to Improve Teacher and Student Access to Mental Health Services

LITTLE ROCK – The new SAMHSA Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education) initiative will prioritize student mental health and bolster teacher support. Through the Arkansas AWARE 2023 grant, AFMC, an Arkansas-based health organization, will collaborate with state and local partners to improve student and teacher well-being and ensure school-aged youth have access to appropriate behavioral health services.

Recognizing the pressing mental health needs of Arkansas educators, AFMC will implement a statewide teacher support line. The support line, staffed by former educators trained in Mental Health First Aid, will offer coaching and referral services. AFMC will also conduct regional education sessions on mental health, prevention, intervention, and resilience, and introduce a dedicated website, giving teachers 24/7 access to beneficial resources and support.

AFMC's commitment also includes localized support, working hand-in-hand with the Marion, Earle, and Searcy school districts to assess needs and provide resources, including in-person assistance, to foster a supportive environment for students, school staff, and parents.

"Prioritizing a community-wide, robust support system for our teachers and students is essential to elevate mental health awareness and promote resiliency in our schools," stated AFMC President and CEO John Selig. "The statewide teacher support line will help teachers be at their best, and that will have a ripple effect on students."

Collaborative partners for AWARE 2023 include the Arkansas Department of Education, Arkansas State University, the Arkansas Department of Human Services, Communities in Schools, and the Arkansas Behavioral Health Integration Network.

Arkansas Project AWARE 2023 will officially launch on October 1, 2023.

About AFMC

AFMC is a private, nonprofit organization focused on improving health and wellness through state, federal, and private initiatives. Founded on our mission to promote and inspire innovation in health, wellness, and technology in our communities, AFMC has delivered value to our customers and partners for more than 50 years.


This project is supported by 1H79SM088279-01 grant, issued through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)' Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

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Eldrina Easterly

Mobile: 501-553-7607

Chris Hughes

Office: 501-212-8742
Mobile: 501-553-7651

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