Louisiana will receive $1.8 million annually over five years after receiving a grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The funding will be used to establish a comprehensive Louisiana School Mental Health Support Program within thirty-four schools throughout Louisiana. Louisiana Department of Education spokesperson Sydni Dunn says it’ll help provide special training to school personnel.

"Also to connect students struggling with behavioral or mental health issues and their families to the appropriate services to help them," adds Dunn.

Dunn says students facing mental health challenges have a serious burden placed on their overall health and well-being.

"Our goal is to implement a program that can help them overcome these barriers, and in turn, better prepare them to succeed in school, both academically and socially," says Dunn.

Dunn says the state reviewed all of the school systems to see where the funds were most needed.

"We identified the school systems and the schools that had high rates of referrals for out of school discipline.  These schools were also on our list of persistently struggling schools," says Dunn.