WCER’s School Mental Health Collaborative wins WARF award

By WCER Communications

A WCER-based project to expand the Resilience Education Program (REP), a mental health innovation for young students at risk of depression and anxiety, is one of four pioneering initiatives selected to receive development funding through the UW/WARF Mental Health Challenge Grant.

From left, researchers Katie Eklund, Stephen Kilgus, and Andy Garbacz lead the School Mental Health Collaborative.

“We’re thrilled to support a new generation of technologies to measure and improve our emotional, psychological, and social well-being,” says Erik Iverson, chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF). “Mental health plays an important role in our quality of life, and we’re excited to join UW–Madison researchers in taking on this great challenge. From helping screen for eating disorders to tackling depression, these technologies have high potential impact.”

The four winning projects will share a $100,000 award provided by the fund for the challenge.

The winning WCER-based project is led by Andy Garbacz, with Katie Eklund and Stephen Kilgus, who are also all faculty members with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology. The project will create an online version of REP, which identifies and provides mental health support for youth at risk for internalizing problems.

REP is part of the School Mental Health Collaborative (SMHC), created by the trio in 2020 to conduct research that informs policy and practice related to the social-emotional and behavioral success of all students. SMHC scholars generate tools and resources to help parents and educators promote the mental health of children and adolescents.

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