UMSL’s MIMH Awarded Three-Year Federal Grant From Project AWARE Community

UMSL’s MIMH Awarded Three-Year Federal Grant From Project AWARE Community

Ferguson, MO— January 06, 2016

The Missouri Institute of Mental Health at the University of Missouri St. Louis (MIMH) announced that Ferguson, and surrounding North St. Louis County communities, has been awarded a three-year Project AWARE-Community grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to support the training of a diverse group of adults in Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA). This training will help adults detect and respond to mental illness in youth in North St. Louis County. YMHFA is a public education program that introduces participants to the risk factors and warning signs of mental health problems and builds an understanding of the importance of early intervention. Participants are introduced to local mental health resources, national organizations, support groups, and online tools for mental health and addictions treatment and support.


Rachel Taube, Project Director for Mental Health First Aid at MIMH.

“When a child is sick we are quick to take them to the doctor, bring them chicken noodle soup, and do anything we can to take care of them, but when someone experiences depression, anxiety, trauma or other symptoms of mental health challenges, people do not always know how to respond,” said Rachel Taube, Project Director for Mental Health First Aid at MIMH. “We are part of a community that cares deeply for its youth. Implementing YMHFA will help these caring adults build the knowledge and skills that they need to recognize symptoms and support youth who may be developing a mental health challenge.”

By implementing YMHFA, MIMH expects to see an increase in the mental health literacy of adults who interact with youth and increase awareness of mental health issues among school aged youth.

The North County Area YMHFA project will train 2,025 adults to recognize signs and symptoms of mental health conditions and connect youth in need to treatment and resources. Teachers, parents, law enforcement personnel, mentors, individuals from faith communities, and agency providers in Ferguson, Missouri and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County will receive YMHFA training.

MIMH will serve as the lead agency in partnership with community members and three well-respected organizations including Behavioral Health Response, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Eastern Missouri, and Great Circle. MIMH has been instrumental in the development of MHFA and YMHFA in the United States as it has worked closely with the Missouri Department of Mental Health, one of the three founding partners. MIMH serves as their partner to provide instructor training, mentoring, and coaching to instructors throughout Missouri.

The overall goal of the Project AWARE Community is to expand our community’s capacity to increase awareness of mental health issues and connect youth with behavioral health issues to needed services. The program’s objectives include increasing the mental health literacy of adults, increasing the capacity of adults to respond to behavioral health issues impacting youth, and conducting outreach and engagement strategies to increase awareness of and promote positive behavioral health.

For more information on North County Project AWARE grant, programs, and services, or to schedule a class, please contact Rachel Taube at 314-516-8499, , or visit

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