Hays County

Hays County to grant funds to schools for mental health and drug abuse

todayOctober 15, 2022 54

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By Emma Jones 

News Reporter 


On Oct. 11, the Hays County Commissioners Court met and received several presentations regarding student mental health and the fentanyl crisis. The county plans to grant funds for mental health and substance abuse services in Hays CISD, the Court Appointed Special Advocates of Central Texas (CASA), and to the Hay’s County Sherriff’s Office. 


The American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA), the federal coronavirus rescue package allocated nearly $40 billion to Texas. The U.S. Department of Treasury recognizes that the pandemic has impacted American’s mental health. ARPA gives counties flexibility to decide how best to use the funds.  


Hays CISD, along with Wimberly and Dripping Springs ISD will receive up to $200,000 in grants for enhanced behavioral health services in schools. The funds will be used for prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health issues and substance abuse.  


Each school district must individually apply for the grant. However, currently San Marcos ISD is not included in the schools eligible to receive the grant for mental health. Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe, County Commissioner, PCT. 1, says that each school in Hays County should be included. 


“I will be reaching out to the super intendent because I believe it is important that we give every school the opportunity to apply for these funds,” said Ingalsbe, “we don’t want to leave anybody out who could use the funding to help in these areas.”  


According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), social and educational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic have increased concerns about mental health and suicidal behavior in teens.  37.1% of high school students in the U.S. reported struggling with mental health.  


These resources are essential now more than ever after multiple Hays students have died because of the local fentanyl crisis. Additionally, the Hays County Sheriff’s Office will receive $20,000 in funding to assist with the ongoing fentanyl crisis. The funding will go towards delivering the message that one pill kills. 


CASA of Central Texas, a nonprofit for children in the foster care system, originally had received ARPA funding for a set grant of $50,000 due to a loss of funds during the pandemic. The fund was doubled at the meeting.  


These contracts are under approval and will be brought back at an upcoming meeting. The next Commissioners Court will be held on Oct. 25. 


To view the commissioners meeting on Oct. 11 https://hayscountytx.new.swagit.com/videos/186306. 


For Hays County Behavioral Health in Schools https://destinyhosted.com/hayscdocs/2022/CC/20221011_14/585_HCTX106_School_Behavioral_Health_PW.pdf 


Written by: Jordan Young

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