The Minnesota Departments of Human Services and Management and Budget are looking to partner with school districts or collaboratives of schools to offer a social and emotional learning based curriculum to promote positive mental health and prevent substance use. This evidenced-based curriculum works by developing students' social and self-management skills. Programming would begin in Fall 2020.
The grant covers all costs to implement the program for four years, including staff training and reimbursement of time and expenses, program materials, and technical assistance. Districts are expected to help by identifying a site coordinator and fidelity monitors.
Districts are encouraged to apply by the priority deadline of July 15, 2019. As soon as districts apply, state staff will schedule a site visit and, shortly thereafter, notify them of their eligibility. The final deadline is November 15, 2019. For questions, email Lindsey Thompson at Lindsey.Thompson@state.mn.us.
The negative consequences of mental health disorders and untreated addiction compromise the equity of opportunity for our kids, security of our families, and well-being of our communities. One out of five Minnesota students reports having a long-term mental health, behavioral, or emotional problem. Schools are well-positioned to arm students with tangible skills that help them productively navigate these challenges and refrain from substance use and other problematic behaviors. To help schools meet this need, the state is offering grants to provide an evidence-based prevention program called LifeSkills Training (LST).
LST is offered to middle school students over three consecutive years (6th – 8th or 7th – 9th grade). The program applies lessons from social and emotional learning to build resiliency and boost wellbeing. In evaluations, a year after completing LST, students saw more than a 50% percent reduction in smoking, alcohol, and drug use as well as improvements in anxiety, depression, and physical aggression. The positive outcomes also persisted; six years after the program students were 20 percent less likely to smoke and 15 percent less likely to misuse alcohol or illicit drugs