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$4 million grant will go to mental health services in Yakima Valley schools

Yakima Herald-Republic - 10/1/2022

Oct. 1—Educational Service District 105 received a nearly $4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to provide mental health care to students, according to a news release.

ESD 105 is a regional agency that provides support services for schools in Yakima and Kittitas counties, as well as parts of Grant and Klickitat counties.

Seven agencies across the U.S. were chosen for the federal grant. It will roll out over four years, with ESD 105 receiving $969,248 each year, the release said.

In the release, ESD 105 Student Supports Program Director Emily Nelson said the grant will help fill gaps in mental health care that affect Central Washington students and families.

Some of the funds will go toward securing additional mental health staff at schools in the Highland, Naches Valley, Mabton and Mt. Adams school districts, Nelson said in the release.

Schools have seen a rise in the demand for mental health services since the pandemic began. The need for services can become a disproportionate burden on low-income students and students of color, the release said. ESD 105 aims to alleviate that burden through the grant's resources.

ESD 105 helped secure the grant money with the aid of Sen. Patty Murray, according to a news release from Murray's office. ESD 105 Superintendent Kevin Chase thanked Murray for her continued support.

"We're in the midst of a mental health crisis, so I'm laser-focused on getting resources back to Washington state so our schools can deliver the mental health services and support our kids need — including by hiring sorely needed counselors and staff," Murray said in her office's press release. "That's exactly what these resources will do."

Contact Vanessa Ontiveros at


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