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Carter, Liberty County School System secure federal grant for youth mental health services

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter (R-GA) secured $3.8 million through the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to fund trauma-informed support services and mental health care for Liberty County School System (LCSS) students.

From 2019-2021, Liberty County reported the highest suicide rates in Southeast Georgia, and LCSS is feeling the effects of this crisis on its students. This grant will allow LCSS to support its 10,000 students, 16% of whom are part of the military community, by creating school-based support and mental health services to include implementing targeted screening to identify students in need, establishing a referral pathway to ensure students receive the necessary supports and services, providing comprehensive training and support for school staff, and implementing a family and community engagement plan to increase awareness of the impact of trauma on children and youth.

“It’s disheartening to see how high suicide, depression, and anxiety rates are among our youth. Right now, our schools do not have the resources to address this crisis, and our children are hurting because of it. That’s why I’m so proud of the Liberty County School System for their leadership in applying for this grant, which will improve lives for all students, especially those in military families. It’s well-deserved and I am eager to see how their new mental health programs promote mental well-being here in the first district,”
said Rep. Buddy Carter.

“We are so thankful for this opportunity for our district. So many of our students need support and we are fortunate to receive this funding so we can provide the services needed for our students who are experiencing trauma,”
stated Dr. Franklin Perry, Superintendent of Schools.

Liberty County, home to Fort Stewart and the largest veteran population in the state of Georgia, has been designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area. Mental health resources are vital in all communities, especially among the military community, where an estimated 14.6% of adults face frequent mental distress.