Over the past decade, the impacts on the mental health of school-age children have been piling on — from social media and mass shootings to coronavirus and climate change.
In short supply, however, are the school psychologists who can support the healthy development of children. To help fill gaps in mental health services, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) has granted $5.3 million to professor and principal investigator Shane Jimerson and school psychology faculty collaborators Erin Dowdy, Arlene Ortiz and Jon Goodwin of UC Santa Barbara’s Gevirtz Graduate School of Education (GGSE) to prepare the next generation of school psychologists and related professionals. The grant is the largest award in GGSE history.
Jimerson has titled the program the JEDI Project, emphasizing its focus on promoting justice, equity, diversity and inclusion. The project will prepare professionals from diverse backgrounds to contribute to mental health services for K-12 students, including students from culturally, linguistically and racially minoritized groups, he said. These marginalized groups are often the most impacted by systemic and racial trauma and the least likely to receive needed mental health services.
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