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Embrace Families receives $500,000 grant to continue helping children and families prevent mental health crises


From pediatricians to psychologists, experts acknowledge that children and teens in the U.S. are facing a mental health crisis.

Now, Embrace Families Solutions will have additional resources to support Central Florida families struggling with these issues, thanks to a recently awarded federal grant for mental health awareness training from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration. 

The funding — $125,000 each year for four years — will provide a specialized training course that primarily targets adults in Orange, Osceola, and Seminole counties who work closely with youth ages 12 to 18. The goal is to equip teachers, clergy, law enforcement, and other adults who work with youth to better identify warning signs and symptoms of mental health crises or addiction.

“We hope to improve early identification — and ultimately intervention — for children who are experiencing mental health struggles before they reach the crisis point,” said Ana Nascimento, LMHC, program director for Embrace Families’ Breakthrough and mental health programs. “Those ‘crisis’ moments, which may involve calls to law enforcement or placement in a psychiatric facility, can be traumatizing for children and can disrupt other aspects of their lives. We hope to eliminate those events by better-equipping adults in our communities to identify youth in need and direct them to appropriate resources before a crisis occurs.”

Embrace Families Solutions received grant funding for a similar program in 2018, which enabled 6,700 participants to complete a series of courses. This most recent grant will enable the agency to provide the Youth Mental Health First Aid® course, which introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a five-step action plan to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Interested adults can register for the class at www.embracefamilies.org/mentalhealthresources.  

In addition to training for community members, Embrace Families works within its own system to ensure that foster parents, family caregivers, case managers, and group home staff also have the skills to identify and respond to early signs of trauma and mental health needs. 

For more information about how to support Embrace Families and its mission of making sure every child has a safe and loving environment in which to grow, visit www.EmbraceFamilies.org.

About Embrace Families
Embrace Families, a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, helps Central Florida families overcome the root causes of abuse and neglect through programs that offer case management and other prevention services. When a child can’t remain safely in their home, we support them through foster care, adoption, mentoring and beyond. For more information, visit www.embracefamilies.org, “like” Embrace Families” on Facebook or follow it on Twitter and Instagram.

Embrace Families, Federal Grant, Mental Health, Central Florida, foster care, adoption, mentoring