Greene Co. Health Dept. Gets IDPH Grant For Youth Mental Health Services

By Benjamin Cox on October 28, 2023 at 8:58am

The Greene County Health Department is receiving a portion of nearly $9 million in funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health to focus on youth mental health services.

Greene County Health Department Director Molly Peters says that the health department is going to spread their portion of the funding between two schools in the county: “The award was $166,000, and within that grant, we specifically targeted Greenfield and North Greene’s school districts. The previous year, we did work with the Carrollton School District, so North Greene and Greenfield was our logical, next group.”

Peters says that the superintendents in both districts, Andy Stumpf and Jackie Kuchy, were on board from the start of the grant writing process and helped provide all the necessary information to IDPH. Peters says the money will focus on two separate pieces individual to each of the districts: “Greenfield does not currently have a school social worker. With the student population, it is helpful to connect people to resources and work with families, so we wrote for the district to have a social worker. [The school district] is going to work to sustain that position later. In addition, we included two affective curricula that will be utilized for students and staff to improve workforce culture and student culture in general. Both have been evaluated to be wonderful programs within education systems that focus on mindfulness, wellness, and mental wellness. Also within the grant funds, we have set aside some for telehealth to provide that within the districts so students, teachers, and families have better access to providers and can directly connect to services within their location.”

She says the telehealth option will be on as-needed basis as long as families are securing a provider for those services. Peters says the telehealth option helps to cut down transportation barriers for people in the mostly rural county. She says the Greene County Health Department is working with SIU School of Medicine, Center Stone, and Locust Street to get families, particularly youth in connection with mental health services within the county. She says, especially post-pandemic, the need for mental health services has grown exponentially and the grant is another way to cut down the barriers for young people who need that help.