Lt. Gov. Coleman Announces $6 Million in Federal Funding for Student Mental Health

U.S. Department of Education selected Southeast South-Central Educational Cooperative for funding

LONDON, Ky. (May 11, 2023) – Today, Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman joined students and local educational leaders to announce the U.S. Department of Education selected the Southeast South-Central Educational Cooperative (SESC) to receive $6 million in federal funding over five years. This funding will increase access to school-based mental health services for over 16,200 students.

“As a teacher, I dedicated my career to serving my community from the classroom,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman. “In our education-first administration, Kentucky’s students and their well-being remain top of mind. Now is the time to invest heavily in our students – beyond the tangible objects like facilities and books. I applaud the U.S. Department of Education for this funding, the educational cooperatives for their leadership and the participating school districts for prioritizing their students’ mental health.”

SESC will use the funding to create the ACCESS Program. The funding will increase long-term access to high-quality, school-based mental health services for students attending high-need schools in the SESC region.

“SESC is excited to receive funds that not only allow us to continue our support to schools and districts in the area of social and emotional learning but provides us with additional resources to allow a laser focus on improvement of mental health within our region,” said Kay Dixon, executive director of SESC.

“Coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic, addressing and supporting the mental health needs of our students has become a top priority,” said Carrie Ballinger, superintendent of Rockcastle County Schools. “The youth in our region, state and nation are facing a mental health crisis. The mental health grant that SESC received, and the funding associated with the grant, will be revolutionary for our region of the state. This grant will allow the member districts of SESC to address the mental health needs of our students head on and provide them the services and support they deserve and need.”

As a former teacher, student mental health is a priority for Lt. Gov. Coleman. For the past two years, she has worked with students from the Kentucky Department of Education Commissioner’s Student Advisory Council to address the student mental health crisis. Together, they hosted 10 summits across the commonwealth, hearing from students on resources and support they needed. The students collected data and developed policy recommendations that were presented to the Kentucky legislature. More about this process can be found here. With today’s announcement, the Lieutenant Governor has announced more than $24 million in federal funding for student mental health.

To learn more about the U.S. Department of Education funding, visit here.