Illinois public school kids struggling with mental health problems – or potential problems – should benefit from a federal grant coming to the state board of education. Part of the $1.9 million, says Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman Amanda Simhauser, will “go toward mental health first aid and youth mental health first aid training that’s going to be rolled out statewide over the next five years, so all districts should have a benefit from that: that their staff should be trained in how to better identify and respond to mental health issues, with the goal of trying to treat some of these problems before they become greater issues down the road.”
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Three districts – East Aurora, Decatur, and Harrisburg – will get help devising comprehensive behavioral health mental health plans. Three others – Chicago, Champaign, and Wabash – will get help in raising awareness of mental health needs and train adults who work with children who have such needs.