AWARE Program

Department Directory

Project AWARE
Kim Guinn
[email protected]
(865) 227-2964

AWARE Cocke County School SystemThe AWARE program was created to expand youth access to mental health resources and promote youth resilience and positive behavior functioning for Cocke County’s youth. A grant from the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) provides funding for the program.

The AWARE program in Cocke County is designed to make schools safer and increase access to mental health services. The Cocke County School System plays a critical role in ensuring that behavioral problems are identified early so that young people can grow and thrive in a healthy environment. Safe, secure and supportive school settings where children can focus on learning allow them to develop to their full potential. This positive trajectory supports academic success and helps Cocke County graduates become productive citizens.

The development of the AWARE program in Cocke County Schools will include collaboration with other providers of youth services and emergency providers in the county. The school district will be creating partnerships with childcare providers, other adults who work with young people outside of the school day, and emergency responders to make training available to assist in detecting and responding to mental illness. Cocke County’s young people deserve this network of support that provides a safety net for their emotional, social and physical well-being.

The Cocke County School District is one of only four school districts in Tennessee to receive the AWARE grant from the SAMHSA office.

How AWARE Works

How can I access AWARE resources for my child?
Each school in Cocke County has a school counselor who has been trained to assist our students and their families with concerns related to mental health. In addition, the school district and the AWARE office have placed three Student Support Specialists in schools to provide more in-depth support of students and families. The three individuals cover multiple campuses each. Contact your school counselor or student support specialist if you have concerns about your child.

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What additional professional counseling services are available to help?
The Cocke County Schools AWARE Office has contracted with the Helen Ross McNabb Center to provide in-school counseling services for students in need of additional counseling support.

Where do these sessions take place?
These sessions are scheduled with parent permission and conducted in a private setting at school. The counseling services are less disruptive of the child’s instructional time and easier for parents by reducing the appointment process outside of school. We bring the needed professional support to your child.

What about my child’s privacy?
All services and services made available through the AWARE program are private and confidential. Cocke County Schools and contracted service providers will honor your child’s privacy guaranteed under FERPA (Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act) and HIPPA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act).

Do I have to pay for the counseling services?
Helen Ross McNabb Center handles all payer source issues and questions from parents or guardians regarding billing for mental health care provided by their professional counselors.

Video Testimonials

Mental Health Statistics

Mental Health Statistics

  • 17% young people between the ages of 6 and 17 experience a mental health disorder.
  • Only 51% of youth age 6 to 17 with a mental health condition will get treatment.
  • 70% of young people in the juvenile justice system have at least one mental health condition.
  • 50% of students 14 years old and older with a mental illness drop out of high school.
  • 50% of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14.
  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in young people ages 15-24.
  • 90% of those who die by suicide had an underlying mental illness.

Statistics provided by National Alliance on Mental Illness website at

Thoughts about suicide….
Suicide is NOT the answer!

Suicide thoughts are a symptom, just like any other. They CAN BE TREATED, and they can improve over time.

If you start thinking about suicide, seek help immediately. Go see your school counselor, tell a trusted and supportive friend, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, or text TN to 741741.

It’s okay to talk about suicide.

Mental Health
Referral Forms:

If you have concerns about a student’s well-being or you are a student who needs additional support, please complete the form below for your specific school. This form is sent to your school counselor who will follow-up with those concerns.

Reminder: Counseling services remain private and confidential as required under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Student Support Specialists & Counselors: