Clarion County, school district will team up for ‘Stand Together’ effort

Clarion County commissioners signed an agreement Tuesday designed to erase a stigma.

The Behavioral Research Institute’s “Stand Together” program is a “peer driven, anti-stigma campaign that will be piloted by the Clarion Area School District,” said Dan Gruber, the deputy director of the county’s mental health department.

“It will be operated like any other club that operates in the school district like the Bible Club or the National Honor Society,” Gruber said.

“The kids will come together, get training on what substance abuse and mental health is and then they will push it out to their peers,” said Gruber. “They will come up with different programs throughout the year to educate the staff and the other students on what it is like to have a mental health or substance abuse issue.”

“It is really an awareness program. It is for these kids to come out and acknowledge that it is OK to not be OK,” Gruber added. “The way 2020 went any support we can give these kids in school, especially with the mental health and substance abuse, is a great attribute. This program will address all of those issues.”

The cost of the program, which will start in January, is $20,000. The funding is through a system of care grant, and there is no county match required.