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Tracy Family Foundation Awards WIU Psychology Department Grant for School-Based Mental Health Program

April 19, 2024

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MACOMB, IL - - The Tracy Family Foundation recently awarded the Western Illinois University Department of Psychology a $15,000 grant for the development of Healthy Children-Healthy Communities, a school-based program to help address mental health shortages and foster stronger community relations.

The Healthy Children-Healthy Communities project includes the WIU Psychology Clinic, Macomb School District, regional first responders and WIU graduate and undergraduate students. WIU Psychology Professors Tracy Cruise and Kim McClure worked with the WIU Foundation to apply for the grant.

"We are excited and honored by the support of the Tracy Family Foundation and the staff and faculty at Edison School. We hope to be able to grow this project as a community initiative, strengthening the ties between WIU and our Macomb communities," McClure said.

In addition to serving as co-author of this project, McClure is the project manager for the newly funded COPS De-escalation Training Through Active Learning (DeTal) Center.

Healthy Children-Healthy Communities is a three-phase partnership project targeting youth mental health needs within the Macomb School District. The emphasis is on integrating the efforts of educators, caregivers and community members in support of youth well-being.

Phase 1, funded by this award, will facilitate increased psychotherapy services for students at Edison School, grades 3-5, while simultaneously conducting program evaluation for mental health initiatives ongoing in the building. WIU psychology graduate students will be involved in apprenticeship-style training including direct intervention delivery and program evaluation with supervision and guidance of licensed, experienced faculty.

"I'm excited to be a part of this endeavor including graduate students from the School Psychology, Clinical/Community Mental Health and General Experimental programs in community collaboration with Edison School Principal Kellee Sullivan and her staff to positively impact our community," Cruise said.

Brandon Wright (alum of the WIU School Psychology Specialist program), Karrigan Spaulding (counselor) and Chandler Adkisson (social worker) make up the Edison School mental health team already in place. This project emphasizes work with caregivers and community members as school partners for developing healthy children and supports the work the Edison team is currently performing.

"Reducing mental health concerns at an early age not only benefits the child and their family, but ultimately reduces societal costs related to healthcare and the justice systems. When children are healthy, a community is healthy. That's the aim of the Healthy Children-Healthy Communities initiative," Cruise said.

"Access to mental health resources is far too limited in our west central Illinois counties and we want to support projects that will connect children and adults with the support and treatment they need. We're excited to partner with WIU on this community-based mental health program that will lead to greater wellness in our region, " Tracy Family Foundation President Dan Teefey said.

For more information on WIU's Psychology programs, visit

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Office of University Communications & Marketing