Funded through a state program from a federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Humboldt County was selected in Cohort 2 and received a grant for $753,504. The purpose of the grant is to raise awareness of mental health and expand access to school and community-based mental health services for youth, families, and communities.

Using a three-component intervention model, Project Cal-Well strives to achieve the following goals:

Goal 1: Provide universal supports to create positive school climates that help school-aged youth develop skills to promote resilience and pro-social behaviors; avert development of mental and behavioral health disorders; and prevent youth violence.

Goal 2: Increase access to and availability of sustainable culturally competent and developmentally appropriate school-based mental health (SBMH) programs staffed by mental health staff to screen for, provide early intervention for, and to address any ongoing mental health needs of children with symptoms consistent with a mental disorder(s).

Goal 3: Build partnerships and cross-system collaborations to promote youth well-being and increase and improve access to sustainable culturally competent and developmentally appropriate community-based mental health services.

A key component of Project Cal-Well is to deliver Youth Mental Health First Aid (YMHFA) training to district and school staff statewide, at no cost. YMHFA is a research-based curriculum created upon the medical first aid model. It is designed to provide parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, neighbors, and other caring adults with skills to help a school-age child or youth who may be experiencing emotional distress, the onset of a mental illness, addiction challenge or who may be in crisis. YMHFA participants learn to recognize signs and symptoms of children and youth in emotional distress, initiate and offer help, and connect the youth to professional care through a five-step action plan.

As part of the intervention, data collection instruments are administered to assess the social emotional wellness and mental health needs and perceptions among students, school staff, and principals. A custom module of the CA Healthy Kids Survey was created for Cal-Well and beginning in 2020-2021, student surveys included the mental supports module.

Note: Humboldt County has also applied and received grant funding through SAMHSA for approximately $2.25M.