MISSOULA – The University of Montana is joining forces with the University of Missouri and University of Virginia to start a national center for rural school mental health.
A $10 million grant will help establish the program that looks to develop an online data and training system to support mental health in smaller communities.
Missouri has already been working on the project for around four years, but the inclusion of Montana opens the door to some new opportunities because of the state’s vast network of rural schools.
The schools that will take part in the program have not been chosen yet and the co-director for the program says about 30 schools will be chosen to start with.
“What we are going to do, we will be testing a number of different instruments that have been developed that will be implemented in 25 to 30 schools in Montana, whether that be elementary, middle or high schools,” said Executive Director for the Center of Children, Family and Workforce Development Ryan Tolleson Knee. “We will be selecting those based on interest and trying to get a diverse array of rural schools in Montana by looking at some of that might be in western Montana maybe northern or central eastern Montana or a mixture but we have a good understanding of the differences between the different schools.”
The grant will fund the program for five years, and as the program expands Tolleson Knee says that would like to add more schools.
Reporting by Connor McCauley for MTN News