Hidalgo Independent School District partnered with Region One Education Service Center to provide more clinicians for school districts through a distinctive grant, recognizing its awareness for mental health.
Region One Education Service Center was awarded a $5.9 million grant for its Region One Building Mental Health Leaders Project, from the U.S. Department of Education to help increase school counseling capacity in mental health, social and emotional learning. The intent is to impact an innumerable number of students including educators on different campuses throughout the region.
“The focus is to build the mental health capacity for school districts by providing financial support for any school district or any other employees that might be interested in getting a clinical license whether it be Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), clinical social work, or a Licensed Specialist School Psychology (LSSP) that want to pursue their clinical license to help educate students, families, and the community about selfcare, wellness, and mental health,” said Amando Gonzalez, district Licensed Professional Counselor and Social Worker.
Hidalgo ISD Counselors expressed appreciation for the opportunity. “I am very grateful and appreciative for this amazing opportunity of expanding my knowledge and skills in the mental health field,” explained Tania Ramos, Hidalgo Park Elementary’s Counselor. “Opportunities like this one give us hope and facilitate the path to reach milestones that will not only help us grow professionally but most importantly provide students with the support and education that they deserve.”
The U.S. Department of Education funded grant will serve the following Region One schools systems: Donna ISD, Hidalgo ISD, Lyford ISD, La Joya ISD, Brooks County ISD, Rio Grande City CISD and Webb CISD for the next five years to help build the mental health capacity for school districts.
Region One Building Mental Health Leaders Project looks to increase the number of mental health professionals by providing them with the opportunity to grow and develop.
“Being able to participate in this grant and program will allow us to implement strategies and methods that will help us support students and staff in different aspects,” added Ramos. “When I learned about this opportunity I was overwhelmed with excitement as I understand that it can be challenging to pursue higher education and professional licenses due to daily demands both at home and in our work settings.”
As a result, the district is better prepared to address mental health issues.
“Our students may be suffering in silence and as adults, as parents, as teachers, as coaches, as counselors, and as administrators it is our responsibility to seek out the resources and support to make sure that we’re taking advantage of what’s out there and bring it into the campus atmosphere,” Gonzalez stated.
With Region One collaboration, Hidalgo ISD looks forward to working closely with them to spread awareness and support that will benefit the entire community.
“Becoming an LPC is something that I hoped to one day work on, and because of Region One and Hidalgo ISD this long-term goal will soon become a reality,” concluded Ramos. “I feel honored, blessed, and I am ready to give back to the community the knowledge and expertise that this program will grant for me.”