The Florida Department of Education (FDOE), in partnership with the Florida Department of Children and Families, is requesting $8.79 million over five years for The Building Resiliency in Diverse Groups of Empowered Stakeholders (BRIDGES) program. Through BRIDGES, the State of Florida aims to reduce stigma and increase awareness of, and better detect and respond to, mental health issues among school-aged youth in three of Florida's local educational agencies (LEAs). Bay District Schools has 182,161 residents and 49 public schools serving 25,280 students. Bay County’s population is 81% White, 11% Black, 6.5% Hispanic and 2.3% Asian; 14.6% of the population lives below the poverty line. Gulf County Schools has 15,576 residents and 7 public schools serving 1,840 students. Gulf County’s population is 79.5% White, 17.2% Black, 4.4% Hispanic and .5% Asian; 12.9% of the population lives below the poverty line. Jackson County School District has 47,945 residents, 20 public schools serving 6,248 students. Jackson County’s population is 68.9% White, 26.8% Black, 4.4% Hispanic and .5% Asian; 19.4% of the population lives below the poverty line (U.S. Census Bureau, 2020). The areas chosen were struggling even before the pandemic began as a result of significant damage sustained during devastating natural disasters in recent years that resulted in increased mental health needs and decreased health care capacity. These challenges were exacerbated by the global pandemic, which has had significant health and economic impacts on students and their families. BRIDGES is comprised of four goals, all of which are set to be fully achieved by September 2026: 1) all LEAs will build capacity of school and community-based resources to respond to the needs of students exhibiting signs and symptoms that warrant mental health behavioral services; 2) all LEAs will implement mental health awareness training to school staff and other adult stakeholders who interact with school-aged youth to reduce stigma and raise awareness of, detect and respond to mental health issues; 3) all participating schools will enhance school climate with programming to promote the healthy development of school-aged youth, prevent youth violence, and reduce the number of students referred for disciplinary action; and 4) the SEA leadership team will have ensured that the LEAs have completed all goals and objectives related to meeting the needs of students with mental health/trauma concerns and have addressed policy and practice application to other districts in Florida. With this agreement, we propose to provide immediate behavioral health services to an unduplicated total of 675 students in need; train 45 school-based mental health providers in evidence-based interventions; expand the network of youth-serving community-based organizations; train 800 school and community-based staff in evidence-based Youth Mental Health First Aid; conduct school climate surveys that will guide the development of a plan to enhance outcomes; implement the evidence-based curriculums “Second Step” (elementary and middle school), and evidence-based Merrell’s Strong Kids (high schools) in the 12 participating schools; reduce the number of students referred for disciplinary action; and form a leadership team that will work to ensure best practices from the project are extended to benefit students throughout the State of Florida.