LAREDO, TX – As part of efforts to combat the shortage of mental health professionals and expand services provided in schools in the Rio Grande Valley region of Texas, UTRGV in coordination with Laredo ISD and United ISD announced that they received a $5.6 million grant.
UTRGV reported that the MHS ACCESS 2 supports, were awarded in March as part of a nationwide initiative to increase access to mental health services in schools.
MHS ACCESS 2 will train 14 graduate students in school psychology, counseling and social work per year during the five-year grant to practice in four school districts – Laredo, United, Mercedes and Valley View.
“There are so many events in children’s lives that are affecting their mental health, and schools often struggle to match the demand for needed services,” said Nancy P. Razo, professor of practice in the Department of Human Development and School Services.
Razo is the principal investigator for the initial MHS ACCESS grant – and the new $5.6 million expansion, which will provide direct intervention for K-12 students and strengthen the infrastructure for in-school referrals when additional intervention is needed.
U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar (TX-28) said border communities don’t always have access to the mental health professionals typically found in larger cities.
“That forces students and their families to rely heavily on school-based mental health services,” he said.
“Laredo has been good to us, and we believe UTRGV can meet some needs here. This grant is another example of the tremendous opportunity and synergy between UTRGV and the Laredo community. This is an important step to help keep our students safe, healthy and successful,” said Guy Bailey, President of UTRGV.