Gonzalez Nets $2.2M in Grants for University Mental Health

April 3, 2023 by Dan McCue
Gonzalez Nets $2.2M in Grants for University Mental Health
(University of Texas Rio Grande Valley photo)

BROWNSVILLE, Texas — Rep. Vicente Gonzalez, D-Texas, announced this week that the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, will receive two grants, worth $2,238,994, over a period of five years to train school-based mental health service providers.

The grants, which are administered by the U.S. Department of Education, are part of the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Program that provides grants for employment training in schools and local educational agencies. 

The grants themselves are the Project Mental Health Service Access 2 program, which will be providing the university with $1,089,608, and the Project Mental Health Services Demonstration Grant Program, which will add another $1,149,386. 

“Mental health is proving to be one of the most pressing issues facing our children and communities,” said Gonzalez.

“This funding will train the next generation of mental health professionals that will serve our community. I thank the University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley, for all their work in serving our community,” he added.

Thanks to these grants, over 100 graduate students will be trained over the next five years to serve school districts throughout the Rio Grande Valley, including Edcouch-Elsa Independent School District, Mercedes Independent School District, Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District, South Texas Independent School District and IDEA Public Schools. 

Dr. Nancy Peña Razo, professor of practice/program coordinator at the university’s Department of Human Development and School Services, said she and her team, as well as their graduate students, “are ready to provide the necessary mental health services in schools to our K-12 students.”

“These grants are also allowing us to build upon the infrastructure for referrals in schools of students for additional intervention when it is needed,” she said.

“There are so many events in the lives of children that are affecting their mental health,” Peña Razo continued. “We are glad that we can support our graduate students in their continued training to be school-based mental health service providers, and they, in turn, provide direct intervention to our K-12 students. 

“It is a win-win all around. We have amazing local education agency (school district) partners who have welcomed our project with open arms to support their students,” she added.

Dan can be reached at [email protected] and @DanMcCue

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