DAVIS, Okla. (KTEN) — The AWARE program at Davis Public Schools is educating and informing students and staff about mental health issues. The difference the program has made is already evident as it enters its second year.

Davis is one of nine districts in Oklahoma —including Atoka, Sulphur and Ada across Texoma — to initiate the AWARE program. Started at Davis in late 2021, the five-year mental health awareness initiative provides training to district staff to better prepare for various needs.

Lance Whaley, the programs manager at the district, discussed an upcoming training session.

"A partnership with Swift Center out of the University of Kansas in which they give us a coach to teach our administration and our site team how to look for different ways to impact our students better for their mental health capabilities," Whaley said.

Although the program takes place within Davis Public Schools, its outreach is starting to extend outside the district.

Olga Helmers, a Davis alumna and current high school Spanish teacher, said the training helped her and others.

"I sat in a room with my peers, and we were able to bounce back situations where we were able to say, 'Hey, what if I went through this?'" Helmers said. "Or, 'What if I had a kid — whether it be a student or one of my own children?'"

One of the newest public outreaches of the program was done at Davis's football game Friday night against Atoka.