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Grant of $5.7 million awarded to HSE Schools for mental health initiatives



Fishers, Indiana – A multi-million dollar grant will be used by Hamilton Southeastern Schools to strengthen mental health initiatives and increase student access to mental health care.

The school district just earned the largest competitive award it has ever received: a $5.7 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education as part of the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act.

The funding has already been given to HSE Schools. According to school administrators, it will be utilized over the next five years to recruit additional school psychologists for the district as a whole, additional school social workers to assist students in elementary school, and additional school counselors for students in secondary schools.

“The American School Counselor Association recommends a 1-to-250 ratio of school counselors to students. The most recent statewide data shows that Indiana ranks last for the number of school counseling professionals serving young Hoosiers,” HSE Schools said in a statement Tuesday.

The grant, according to Brooke Lawson, the mental health and school counseling coordinator for HSE Schools, would fill a sizable funding shortfall for the district’s schools.

“It’s been a need for us because all kids experience challenges. HSE doesn’t get all the funding that other districts do because we’re a relatively affluent community, and a lot of times, districts will use different types of funding we don’t have access. So, it’s exciting; we will now have access to that support because it doesn’t matter how much money you have, that doesn’t protect you from struggling with a mental health issue or challenges you just need a little more help on,” Lawson said.

According to HSE Schools, it will hire three more psychologists and social workers this year, with plans to increase those numbers over the following five years.

According to school administrators, the recruitment process for qualified candidates will start soon.