Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare awarded grants to teach teen Mental Health First Aid in every Nassau County High School 10th grade classroom

Teen Mental Health Facts, SPBH logo, and Nassau County School District Logo

This article appeared in the Fernandina Observer on September 30, 2021. See the article here.

Yulee, Fla: Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare announced it was awarded grants from Baptist Health and the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida to offer teen Mental Health First Aid at every public high school in Nassau County, FL. This project will expand the partnership between Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare and the Nassau County School District after the success of its pilot program in Fernandina Beach High School.

“We all want the best for our kids and our community,” said Laureen Pagel, CEO at Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare. “Mental health is one of the pieces to the puzzle that is often overlooked. Our teen Mental Health First Aid pilot program at Fernandina Beach High School was such a success that we knew we had to offer this curriculum county wide. We are thankful to Baptist Health, the Community Foundation, and the Nassau County School District, for their support in changing mental health outcomes for Nassau County high schoolers.”

– Laureen Pagel, CEO, Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare

This round of funding will be used to train the entire grade level of 10th-grade students in each Nassau County High School during the 2021-2022 school year. The project has two primary objectives:

  1. Increase knowledge and understanding of mental health and substance use signs and symptoms in 10th grade students attending Fernandina Beach High School, Yulee High School, West Nassau High School, and Hilliard Middle/Senior High.
  2. Reduce stigma and foster a more positive outlook toward seeking help, treatment and recovery.

To date, Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare has trained 163 high school students in teen Mental Health First Aid. Thanks to the funding provided by Baptist Health and the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida, 1,200+ students will be certified in the curriculum at the end of the 2021-2022 school year.

About teen Mental Health First Aid

Teen Mental Health First Aid teaches high school students about common mental health challenges and what they can do to support their own mental health and help a friend who is struggling. It’s equipping young people with the knowledge and skills they need to foster their own wellness and to support each other. To learn more, please visit

About Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare

Starting Point Behavioral Healthcare provides mental health and substance abuse treatment services to children, teens and adults in Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia. The non-profit agency serves more than 3,000 individuals each year and has been serving the region for more than 29 years. Starting Point is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF). For more information, please visit


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