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Safe Schools/Healthy Students

In 1999, the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, and Justice embarked on a unique and unprecedented collaboration, creating the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative (SS/HS) in response to rising concerns about youth violence, substance abuse and school safety. This Federal grant recognizes that violence among young people is caused by a multitude of factors—including early childhood, family life, mental health, and substance abuse issues—and that no single action can be counted on to prevent it. As such, the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative takes a comprehensive approach, drawing on the best practices and the latest thinking in education, justice, social services, and mental health to help communities take action. To date, SS/HS has provided services to over 13 million youth and more than $2 billion in funding and other resources to 386 communities in all 50 states across the Nation.

SS/HS states and communities use the SS/HS framework to plan their work.  Built upon the latest research and literature on violence prevention and behavioral health, the Framework provides a structure that can help replicate the success of the SS/HS model. For more details about the SS/HS Framework and how it can be used to assist communities engaged in this work, click here.

Findings from an evaluation* of SS/HS shows that the model works:

•     More than 90 percent of school staff saw reduced violence on school grounds and nearly 80 percent reported that SS/HS had reduced violence in their communities.

•     There was a 263 percent increase in the number of students who received school-based mental health services and a 519 percent increase in those receiving community based services.

•     Nearly 90 percent of school staff stated that they were better able to detect mental health problems in their students.

* Center for Mental Health Services. (2010). Interim Report of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students Initiative National Evaluation: FY 2005 and FY 2006 Cohort. Rockville, MD: Center for Mental Health Services, SAMHSA.

Please click here to view Safe Schools/Healthy Students grantees. 

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