TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – The Vigo County School Corporation plans to prioritize the mental health of students this school year.

Federal ‘Project Aware’ funds will allow VCSC to fund on-site counseling for students should they need this mental health service. This is the 5th and final year of ‘Project Aware’ for VCSC.

VCSC Director of Student Services Tom Balitewicz said that bringing counselors into the school buildings is critical for students as it eliminates the transportation barrier for students in having to go off-site for the help.

“We don’t want that to be a barrier for students to receive mental health counseling,” Balitewicz said. “This just makes it easier.”

Corporation officials expressed gratitude towards these federal funds, however end of ‘Project Aware’ will come to a close at the end of the school year. This means VCSC will have to look towards other means of funding this service. Balitewicz said the search for other funding started three years ago.

“This is the last year of that grant so we’ll have to look at other funding mechanisms for that,” Balitewicz said.

The Hamilton Center will provide mentors for VCSC this year. VCSC Superintendent Rob Haworth said that the corporation and the Hamilton Center have had a good and long-standing relationship. He said that this will be valuable in helping students deal with any mental health struggles.

“It’s that relationship with that mentor, that counselor that’s able to meet one on one with a student,” Haworth explained. “That’s where the difference is going to be found and we’re thankful for them to be able to step up to the plate.”

Whether a student has private insurance or not, Balitewicz assured that students will be able to get the mental health services that they may need.

“For us, we just want to get the services to the students,” Balitewicz said.

The first day for students is this Thursday on August 11.