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How Kennesaw State is working to tackle mental health gap in northwest Georgia

Kennesaw State launched a multi-million dollar federally funded program to provide Georgia's youth with mental health resources.

KENNESAW, Ga. — Kennesaw State University leaders are tackling mental health care in Georgia schools. 

Director of Strategic partnerships and Social Impact at KSU, Dr. Monica Nandan, said they'll be bringing school-based mental health resources to five rural counties through a $4.5 million dollar grant.

She said it's desperately needed in these areas where there's a lack of school counselors and psychologists.

“In Bartow County, here’s one school counselor for six thousand students," said Nandan.

The program will bring students mastering in social work and mental health studies into Georgia schools in Bartow, Floyd, Gordon, Paulding, and Polk counties. Those students will then provide specialized intervention training to teachers and school officers.

“So not only are we creating a pipeline of trained, qualified school social workers to work in schools, but we are also focusing on teachers resource officers, also called police officers and or security officers in the school system and other staff in the rural counties," added Nandan.

Nandan said the program requires students to stay at their assigned school for at least a year after graduation to create stability in schools.

Organizers said they hope the program can become a model for other schools across the state. The expect to have 50 students come through the program over the course of the next five years.

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