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Nearly $200,000 being given to Arkansas schools to create relaxing spaces that enhance students’ mental health



Little Rock, Arkansas – A grant of over $200,000 has been given to 75 schools in Arkansas to assist in the construction of quiet rooms for kids’ mental health.

Middle, junior, and high schools in almost every county in the Natural State are getting $2,500 to help build safe places through their “Take Good Care Calming Room” campaign thanks to money made available by Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

More than 14%, or 83,135 children and teens, are coping with anxiety and despair, according to state data that the company quoted.

“The same way students have difficulty focusing in class when they are hungry or tired, they can’t be their best selves in the classroom or at home if they are dealing with issues like stress and anxiety,” said Curtis Barnett, president and CEO of Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield. “In recognition of Arkansas Blue Cross’ 75th Anniversary and our company’s commitment to improving access to behavioral health resources, we are investing in the creation of calming rooms in 75 Arkansas schools as one way to support better mental health for students.”

A room designed to help students “regulate their emotions” will be provided in schools that received the funding. It will include soothing colors, soft lighting, cozy furnishings, motivational quotes, coloring books, journals, and other sensory items to help with the aim of lowering anxiety.

Among the institutions thrilled to get the funds is Benton Junior High School.

This dedicated space will provide a peaceful retreat for those needing a moment to recharge and find inner balance,” the school district wrote on Facebook. “We are committed to improving the mental and behavioral health of our students.”

According to BCBS, each school is in charge of enforcing the rules and determining how the rooms are used in accordance with the needs of the students, including when they are used for group talks or counseling sessions.

“In addition to improved behavioral health, schools with calming rooms have reported additional benefits such as fewer disciplinary issues and better grades,” Barnett said in a statement referring to a study by the Boston Charter Research Collaborative. “Young people these days face challenges many of us didn’t have growing up, like cyberbullying. Learning how to cope with difficult things in a healthy way is a tool they can carry with them through adulthood.”

Schools selected to receive the funding include:

• Arkansas County – DeWitt High School
• Ashley County – Hamburg Middle School
• Baxter County – Guy Berry College and Career Academy
• Benton County – Founders Classical Academy, Bentonville
• Boone County – Harrison High School
• Bradley County – Warren High School
• Calhoun County – Hampton Middle School
• Carroll County – Eureka Springs High School
• Clark County – Gurdon High School
• Clay County – Piggott High School
• Cleburne County – Heber Springs Middle School
• Cleveland County – Woodlawn Elementary School
• Colombia County – Apostolic Christian Academy
• Conway County – Morrilton High School
• Craighead County – Bay Elementary School
• Crawford County – Butterfield Trail Middle School
• Crittenden County – Earle High School
• Cross County – Wynne High School
• Dallas County – Fordyce High School
• Drew County – Monticello High School
• Faulkner County – Mayflower Middle School
• Franklin County – Ozark Middle School
• Fulton County – Salem School District
• Garland County – Mountain Pine Elementary School
• Grant County – Sheridan High School
• Greene County – Paragould Junior/Senior High School
• Hempstead County – Hope High School
• Hot Spring County – Bismarck Public Schools
• Howard County – Nashville Junior High School
• Independence County – Cedar Ridge High School
• Izard County – Calico Rock High School
• Jackson County – Tuckerman High School
• Jefferson County – Pine Bluff Junior High School
• Johnson County – Lamar High School and Oark High School
• Lafayette County – Lafayette County High School
• Lawrence County – Hillcrest Elementary School
• Lincoln County – Star City High School
• Little River County – Ashdown High School
• Logan County – Paris Middle School
• Lonoke County – Cabot Middle School South
• Madison County – Huntsville Middle School
• Marion County – Ozark Mountain School District
• Mississippi County – Blytheville Chickasaw Preparatory Academy and Armorel High School
• Monroe County – Brinkley High School
• Montgomery County – Mount Ida High School
• Nevada County – Nevada Elementary School
• Newton County – Deer K-12 School and Mt. Judea K-12 School
• Ouachita County – Camden Fairview Middle School
• Perry County – Anne Watson Elementary School
• Phillips County – J.F. Wahl Elementary School and Barton High School
• Pike County – Murfreesboro High School
• Poinsette County – Trumann Middle School
• Polk County – Mena High School
• Pope County – Secondary Learning Center, Russellville High School
• Prairie County – Hazen Public Schools
• Pulaski County – LR West High School of Innovation
• Randolph County – M.D. Williams Intermediate School
• Saline County – Benton Junior High School
• Scott County – Waldron High School
• Searcy County – Leslie Intermediate School
• Sebastian County – Trinity Catholic School
• Sevier County – Horatio Public School
• Sharp County – Cave City Middle School
• Saint Francis County – Palestine-Wheatley Senior High School
• Stone County – Mountain View School District
• Union County – Junction City Elementary School
• Van Buren County – South Side Bee Branch
• Washington County – Ramay Junior High School
• White County – Pangburn High School
• Woodruff County – Augusta Elementary School
• Yell County – Dardanelle Middle School


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