Nazareth receives its largest grant from Department of Education; $2.6M supports graduate students pursuing careers as school mental health professionals
SOUNDBITE INCLUDED (at end of release): High-need school districts have more students and families battling mental health issues due to the pandemic. Nazareth graduate students in social work and art therapy will work in schools and gain experience with significant tuition and expenses support.
Rochester, NY (01/31/2023) — Nazareth has been awarded a $2.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to support major scholarships for eight Nazareth graduate students interested in becoming mental health professionals in a high-need school district. This federal grant is one of the largest ever for Nazareth. Nazareth is one of only 67 institutions nationally to receive this funding.
The grant - Increasing Access to Mental Health Professionals in High Needs School, or AMPs Up, - will fund six social work and two art therapy graduate students each year for the next five years in collaboration with the Greece (NY) Central School District.
The AMPS up grant will give Nazareth social work and art therapy students first-hand experiences working in a Greece school, supporting school-age students and families who are dealing with mental health issues. This federal grant is designed to increase diversity of the mental health workforce so that school professionals reflect the populations they serve. Special professional development on the mental health of children and youth who are Black, Indigenous, or people of color will be provided for Nazareth students and Greece staff through a collaboration with Partners in Community Development Mental Health Project.
"The pandemic increased the number of students struggling with anxiety and depression and highlighted the great need to provide mental health support to our students and families," said Jim Garner, LMSW, who supports two Greece schools and district initiatives as a social worker in the school district. "Thanks to the grant and Nazareth bringing more interns, there will be opportunities to support more students."
The opportunity begins in 2023 and continues for the next four years for full-time graduate students in these programs:
- New students starting the Master of Social Work - known as MSW - program in May. You must have completed a bachelor's of social work degree by then. Six students each year will receive full tuition funding and a stipend for living expenses during an internship in the Greece school district.
- Students in the second year of the Master of Science in creative arts therapy program, art therapy specialization program. Two new students each year will receive 30 credits of tuition in the 60-credit program, plus a stipend for living expenses during a school-based internship.
Nazareth's art therapy program is the only one of its kind in the region.
"Art therapists work with individuals of all ages in a variety of settings to aid in the recovery of mental health," said Cathy Rasmussen, Ph.D., interim dean of Nazareth's School of Health and Human Services. "Art therapy with children has been shown to be effective in improving children's quality of life, anxiety, depression, self-concept and self-esteem, problem-solving skills, attitudes towards school, emotional struggles, behavioral difficulties, disabilities, and trauma."
All students receiving this grant funding scholarship will have a service obligation of working two years (paid) in a high-need school district after graduation.Learn more:
SOT with Cathy Rasmussen, interim dean of Nazareth's School of Health and Human Services
Transcript of Cathy Rasmussen SOT: "The pandemic greatly increased the number of children who are struggling with anxiety and depression and other mental health conditions. The grant provides for Nazareth graduate students in social work and art therapy significant tuition assistance that will support their preparation for mental health careers working in schools, and it will allow these students to go to work immediately in a high-needs school district to work with children and support their mental health. (So, this is a great benefit both to Nazareth students and the communities that they will serve.)"