Clay Counts Coalition Receives KDADS Suicide Prevention Grant, Plans To Expand Horizons Over Coming Year

By Quinn O’Hara

The Clay Counts Coalition has received $35,000 through a community suicide prevention grant, dubbed ‘Strength in Clay County,’ from the Kansas Department of Aging and Disabilities.

The Coalition received a similar grant last year which helped fund the group’s efforts in addressing Clay Center’s youth mental health crisis as well as fund organizations such as the Clay Center Teammates program. The grant must be reapplied for each year and the amount allotted to each recipient varies year to year.

The Leader of the Clay Counts Coalition, Lori Martin, said that while Coalition focused heavily on youth mental health in the past, KDADS has challenged the group to expand their efforts to serve not just youth, but the entirety of the rural community.

Martin said she believes the best way to fulfill that goal is through addressing community-wide mental health issues.

The grant’s funds will be available for use starting in July. Martin said this year’s funds will be directed towards maintaining efforts like the area YLinK’s Bandana Squad and the Clay Center Teammates program, as well as starting an initiative called Farmer to Farmer, which will focus on mental health in agriculture.

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