Skip to Main Content
Interact for Health Logo

Local Organizations Awarded $1M for School-Based Mental Health

Sep 12, 2023

Local Organizations Awarded $1M for School-Based Mental Health  

Interact for Health Continues Investment in Youth Mental Health Through Prevention Services  

Cincinnati—Interact for Health announced today a second wave of community grants aimed at increasing youth mental health prevention services in school-based settings.

This is the second announcement from the organization’s new five-year strategic plan, which has a strong focus on improving mental health and well-being in the region, particularly for youth. This additional $1M investment builds on the previous wave of $3.7M in community grants and the organization’s extensive work in school-based services.

“We’re thrilled to work with these established, trusted partners in response to growing needs in the youth mental health space. By working to scale proven, prevention-based services, we’re able to meet youth where they’re at and reduce additional treatment needs with early interventions,” said Interact President and CEO, Kate Schroder.

The primary focus of this funding is to provide school-wide interventions for everyone – students, educators and staff – to promote positive social, emotional and behavioral wellness, and will result in expanded services in over 40 Ohio and Kentucky schools. This funding also expands specialized interventions and supports for students who are at-risk for mental health concerns. According to the Positive Behavior Intervention and Supports Framework, these methods are effective for over 90% of students.

“We’re excited about this diverse portfolio of partners because it will allow us to learn how to better support efforts of youth mental health prevention in our region. In order to improve mental health, it requires promotion, prevention and treatment; but oftentimes prevention efforts are the least funded,” said Deanna Hillard, Program Manager of Youth Mental Health.

This announcement comes during National Suicide Prevention Week, which encourages awareness and understanding of how we all can play a role in suicide prevention. Child Focus is one of the partners receiving funding and will expand its existing school-based work through the Signs of Suicide Prevention Program. Susan Graham, Vice President and Chief Administration Officer at Child Focus, said, “This prevention grant proposal is bold and ambitious, but the timing to build upon and maximize our already successful, evidence-based activities [...] will ultimately result in deeper learning, better-targeted investment and powerful impact benefitting these communities many times over.”

The official list of grant recipients and funding amounts can be found below. (NOTE: Grant amounts are rounded to the nearest thousand.) For more information, visit

  • 1N5 ($200K) 
    Through their program Building Resiliency in Youth, 1N5 seeks to improve students' level of knowledge and efficacy to cope with and receive help for mental, emotional, and social stressors that may contribute to mental distress and normalize mental health and break down barriers that prevent youth from seeking help. 
  • Best Point ($108K)
    With this funding, Best Point aims to integrate trauma-informed care and evidence-based prevention programs within their School-Based Behavioral Health programs. This funding will allow the expansion of Best Point's programs with up to six additional schools to instill a caring and empathetic environment for students who have undergone adverse experiences. 
  • Child Focus ($192K )
    Child Focus is expanding their Signs of Suicide Prevention (SOS) Program - which teaches students to identify signs and symptoms in themselves or a friend and to reach out for help from a trusted adult. SOS combines two powerful suicide prevention strategies: universal education about depression and suicide and the importance of seeking help, and depression screening to identify students in need. 
  • Family Nurturing Center of Kentucky ($157K ) 
    Family Nurturing Center will collaborate with Learning Grove to provide site-based services in two of their 14 locations for preschoolers.  A trained specialist will be on site two days per week at each location, with the fifth day available for teacher consultation and training, staff meetings and parent meetings. 
  • Preston Brown Foundation ($150K)
    With this grant, Preston Brown Foundation will expand its REFUEL and Rally Champs programs. REFUEL trains sports coaches to train in mental health first aid and provides mindfulness and resiliency training to students. Rally Champs focuses its efforts on recruiting mentors for students and providing those mentors with mental health first aid. Both programs aim to normalize conversations regarding mental health, improve awareness of available services and increase parental and community involvement in youth mental health programming.  
  • Urban Minority Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Outreach Programs (UMADAOP) ($200K )
    With this initiative -- Extended School-Based Prevention and Mental Health Wellness Kinship Wraparound Programming-- UMADAOP is working to mitigate the risk factors and enhance protective factors to reduce the increasing rates of youth substance use and behavioral and mental health needs. The goal is to equip youth with strategies for making healthy choices and problem-solving, build positive interaction with peers, resist negative influences, improve communication skills and increase academic performance. 


About Interact for Health   

Interact for Health partners to ensure that people in our region have a just opportunity to live their healthiest lives, regardless of who they are or where they live. We advance health justice through grantmaking, collaboration, learning, convening and engagement. Interact for Health is an independent foundation that works in 20 counties in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. More information is available at 

Return to What's New