EDU: U.S. Department of Education Announces More Than $188 Million from the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act to Support Mental Health and Student Wellness

Thursday, February 16, 2023

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Today, the U.S. Department of Education (Department) is announcing awards of more than $188 million across 170 grantees in over 30 states to increase access to school-based mental health services and to strengthen the pipeline of mental health professionals in high-needs districts. With funding provided by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), these investments help advance the President’s Mental Health Strategy, which directly implements his Unity Agenda priority to tackle the mental health crisis in our school communities. These grants will enable communities to hire approximately 5,400 school-based mental health professionals and train an estimated 5,500 more to build a diverse pipeline of mental health providers in schools. These investments will begin the important work of broadening access to critical mental health supports by increasing the number of health care providers in schools. These funds also will help with strengthening the pipeline of certified mental health providers who are ready to work in schools with the greatest needs. These competitive grants are the first in a series of awards the Department will make over several years and constitute the largest investment in school-based mental health this country has ever made.

Even before the pandemic, the wellbeing of many students was unmet due to insufficient access to high-quality mental health care. For years, schools have struggled to meet the recommended ratios for school-based mental health professionals, and this is especially true in schools with more underserved students. Now, the mental health crisis facing students has reached a critical point with more than one in three high school students reported experiencing poor mental health during the height of the pandemic. Research shows that children and young people learn more, report feeling safer, and develop more trusting relationships with their peers and teachers when their social and emotional needs are met with certified and accessible mental health professionals.

“As the President outlined in his State of the Union address, we must do more to tackle our nation’s growing mental health crisis, which is particularly acute among our youth,” said Domestic Policy Advisor to the President Susan Rice. “These new awards will help connect more students in need to school-based mental health services now and ensure a pipeline of trained professionals to support students in the future. Integrating mental health services into our schools is a key component of the President’s Mental Health Strategy and will help fulfill a key component of the President’s Unity Agenda.”

“Even before the disruption, isolation, and trauma of the pandemic, youth rates of anxiety and depression, and other mental health challenges were on the rise, and too many students suffered in silence,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “Mental health and wellness have profound implications for our students, their academic success, and their overall outcomes, and we know that youth facing mental health challenges are more likely to receive services in a school-based setting. The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act represents an unprecedented opportunity to raise the bar for our support of our students, to improve learning conditions in our schools, to expand access to school-based mental health care, and to supercharge efforts across the country to train and hire a pipeline of professionals committed to the wellbeing of our students.”

These historic awards are made possible because of funds secured as part of the 2022 Omnibus and BSCA. Over the next five years, BSCA will invest $1 billion in these programs, helping us to make substantial progress towards the President’s goal, as part of his Mental Health Strategy, to double the number of school counselors, social workers, and other mental health professionals. These funds have the potential to meaningfully change lives by building a mental health infrastructure in schools and communities across the country.

“Following countless conversations with Connecticut parents, educators, and district leaders, as Chair of the subcommittee that funds the Department of Education, I created the School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program to help districts increase the number of qualified, well-trained mental health professionals working in schools,” said Ranking Member of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro. “Disruption in schools due to COVID-19, economic anxiety, job losses, and learning challenges have exacerbated pre-existing mental health challenges. Our youth need help, and this is a burden that teachers, administrators, and parents cannot alleviate on their own. These grants will expand the program’s reach, helping to move us closer to my goal of ensuring every child goes to a school that has a qualified mental health professional on staff. I want to thank Secretary Cardona for spearheading efforts to get this funding to our schools and improve the health care of our children.”

As part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s ongoing efforts to tackle our mental health crisis by working to ensure every student has access to the mental health supports, the U.S. Department of Education will host a town hall, in partnership with the Department of Health and Human Services, to hear directly from students and young people about the importance of social, emotional, and mental health. The townhall will take place at John Lewis High School in Fairfax County, Virginia where the district has received a grant to make critical investments to recruit, develop, and retain highly qualified and credentialed school-based mental health professionals, including counselors, social workers, and psychologists. Fairfax County Public Schools is part of a larger cohort of Virginia grantees.

This year, Virginia’s districts and institutions of higher education are receiving more than $10 million in funds to strengthen the pipeline and provide school-based mental health services to the state’s underserved students. This investment will support the mental health and academic trajectories of students across the state. These grantees include Campbell County Public Schools, Lynchburg City Schools, Fairfax County Public Schools, Newport News Public Schools, the University of Virginia, and the partnership between Portsmouth Public School Board and Norfolk State University.

Awards are being announced for two grant programs today: the School-Based Mental Health Services (SBMH) Grant Program and the Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) Demonstration Grant Program. Through SBMH, the Department is investing more than $141 million to 103 states and school districts to increase the number of qualified mental health services providers delivering school-based mental health services to students. These funds increase the number of school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals serving our students through recruitment and retention efforts, the promotion of re-specialization and professional retraining of existing mental health providers, and through efforts to increase the diversity and cultural and linguistic competency of school-based mental health services providers. These investments will allow more students in school buildings across the country to access mental health supports through trained professionals they can trust, and without shame or stigma.

Through MHSP, the Department is investing more than $46 million in competitive grants to 67 states, school districts, and institutions of higher education to support and demonstrate innovative partnerships to train school-based mental health services providers for employment in schools and local educational agencies (LEAs). The goal of this program is to increase the number and diversity of high-quality, trained providers available to address the shortages of mental health services professionals in schools and high-needs LEAs. Nearly half of the awardees included a partnership with a Historically Black College or University, Tribal College, or Minority Serving Institution. These funds will help the many schools struggling to fill mental health professional vacancies by creating partnerships between high-needs school districts and institutions.

The School-Based Mental Health Services Grant awardees are listed below:

Dillingham City School District AK $577,100 
Bering Straits School District AK $857,202 
Northwest Arctic Borough School District AK $711,279 
Southwest Arkansas Educational Cooperative AR $585,528 
Academy of Mathematics and Science South, Inc. AZ $768,240 
Tempe Union High School District #213 AZ $275,973 
Northern Humboldt Union High School District CA $866,861 
Eureka City Schools CA $1,064,784 
Santa Clara County Office of Education CA $1,694,164 
Madera Unified School District CA $1,262,349 
Cutler-Orosi Joint Unified School District CA $2,999,259 
Riverside County Office of Education CA $2,999,967 
Tulare County Office of Education CA $2,991,658 
Conejo Valley Unified School District CA $1,995,912 
Animo Jackie Robinson Charter High School CA $2,453,540 
Ukiah Unified School District CA $1,182,896 
Lemon Grove School District CA $545,782 
La Mesa-Spring Valley School District CA $1,471,616 
Livermore Valley Joint Unified School DistrictCA $535,663 
Imperial County Office of Education CA $3,000,000 
Eagle County School District RE50J CO $785,304 
EdAdvance CT $1,549,164 
DC Office of the State Superintendent of Education DC $2,555,510 
Ingenuity Prep Public Charter School DC $531,287 
AppleTree Early Learning Public Charter School DC $289,016 
School Board of Miami-Dade County, Florida FL $3,000,000 
Duval County Public Schools FL $1,263,203 
School Board of Monroe County, Florida FL $1,300,713 
Hillsborough County Public Schools FL $1,710,606 
Bay County School District FL $1,698,847 
Seminole County Public Schools FL $521,838 
DeKalb County School District GA $677,673 
Calhoun City Board of Education GA $399,121 
Dougherty County School System GA $2,999,971 
Illinois State Board of Education IL $2,975,414 
Board of Education City of Chicago IL $3,000,000 
Skokie School District 69 IL $1,393,028 
Crystal Lake Community Consolidated School District #47 IL $1,042,046 
Cook County School District 130 IL $1,955,646 
Region 06 West Cook ISC 2 IL $2,189,227 
La Moille Community Unit School District #303 IL $1,370,654 
Indiana Department of Education IN $1,298,556 
Greenfield-Central Community School Corporation IN $285,000 
Richland Bean Blossom Community School Corporation IN $651,743 
Hamilton Southeastern Schools IN $841,720 
Ohio Valley Educational Cooperative (OVEC) KY $1,079,192 
Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services, Inc. KY $1,263,481 
Nelson County School District KY $560,213 
Board of Education, Prince George’s County, MD, Inc. MD $403,449 
Anne Arundel County Public Schools MD $249,824 
Maine Department of EducationME $1,785,071 
Maine School Administrative District 37 ME $527,561 
Lansing School District MI $2,504,911 
Independent School District No 535 MN $228,427 
Senatobia Municipal School District MS $1,052,770 
Jackson Public Schools MS $533,190 
Iredell-Statesville Schools NC $2,018,455 
Surry County Schools NC $892,109 
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction NC $2,373,740 
Guilford County Schools NC $2,992,531 
West Fargo Public Schools ND $2,320,788 
Dickinson Public School District ND $455,358 
Educational Service Unit 2 NE $3,000,000 
Lincoln Public Schools NE $360,447 
Scottsbluff Public School District NE $1,228,248 
New Jersey Department of Education NJ $2,700,000 
Passaic Board of Education NJ $279,059 
Central Region Educational Cooperative NM $398,444 
Silver Consolidated Schools NM $1,210,500 
Niagara Falls City School District NY $533,836 
Board of Education – Ossining Union Free School District NY $596,234 
Charter School of Educational Excellence NY $500,000 
Haverstraw-Stony Point Central School District NY $1,750,000 
Greater Amsterdam School District NY $532,500 
Beavercreek City Schools OH $596,255 
North Point Educational Service Center OH $1,206,000 
Oklahoma State Department of Education OK $1,883,138 
Durant Independent School District I-72 OK $424,040 
Stringtown Public Schools OK $500,474 
School District 1J Multnomah County, OregonOR $200,473 
Douglas Education Services District OR $2,236,382 
Corbett School District 39 OR $862,079 
Jackson County School District #4 DBA Phoenix-Talent Schools OR $420,080 
RI Department of Elementary and Secondary Education RI $2,000,000 
CORE Educational Cooperative SD $205,692 
Bradley County Schools TN $1,981,669 
Hamilton County Department of Education TN $492,672 
State of Tennessee TN $1,870,740 
Pasadena Independent School District TX $1,058,482 
Education Service Center Region XV TX $236,515 
Waxahachie Faith Family Academy TX $707,532 
Uplift Education TX $1,737,872 
Humble Independent School District TX $173,740 
Virginia Department of Education VA $3,000,000 
Campbell County Public Schools VA $693,750 
Lynchburg City Schools VA $1,786,893 
Fairfax County Public Schools VA $2,351,965 
Newport News Public Schools VA $892,013 
Northwest Educational Service District 189 WA $1,361,470 
Tacoma Public Schools WA $630,956 
Vancouver School District No. 037 WA $1,726,793 
Shell Lake High School WI $199,598 
Sauk Prairie School District WI $947,545 
Total  $131,840,216 

The Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant awardees are listed below: 

Alabama State University AL $1,181,140  
Auburn University AL $352,526  
Troy University AL $226,555  
University of Central Arkansas AR $323,451  
Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District CA $689,186  
El Rancho Unified School District CA $696,038  
iEmpire Academy CA $680,738  
Multicultural Learning Center CA $820,058  
Norwalk-La Mirada USD CA $770,537  
Santa Paula Unified School District CA $635,875  
The Regents of the University of California, Santa Barbara CA $832,677  
University of Northern Colorado CO $235,010  
Howard University DC $540,102  
University of Delaware DE $339,848  
The Florida International University Board of Trustees FL $1,200,001  
University of Florida FL $868,338  
University of South Florida FL $449,685  
Georgia State University Research Foundation, Inc GA $1,430,886  
University of Georgia Research Foundation Inc. GA $219,835  
University of Northern Iowa IA $370,394  
Illinois State Board of EducationIL $1,201,072  
Lewis University IL $466,308  
Loyola University of Chicago IL $560,735  
Northern Illinois University IL $961,629  
Wichita State University KS $331,806  
Springfield College MA $576,212  
University of Maine System dba University of Southern Maine ME $172,837  
Michigan Department of Education MI $913,475  
College of St. Scholastica, INC. MN $370,523  
Minnesota State University Moorhead Foundation MN $770,369  
Regents of the University of Minnesota MN $1,169,599  
Mississippi State University MS $163,870  
Cumberland County Schools Board of Education NC $1,017,227  
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction NC $776,791  
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro NC $880,938  
Minot State University ND $889,991  
University of Mary ND $1,200,000  
Kean University NJ $807,332  
Board of Regents, NSHE on behalf of Nevada State College NV $67,131  
Fordham University NY $652,241  
Mercy College NY $887,088  
Nazareth College of Rochester NY $519,333  
Seneca Falls Central School District NY $1,199,318  
The Research Foundation for The State University of New York NY $524,426  
The Ohio State University OH $836,178  
Board of Regents of the University of Oklahoma OK $909,048  
Carlow University PA $868,376  
Albizu University PR $815,440  
Clemson University SC $600,455  
University of South Carolina SC $675,888  
The University of Tennessee TN $712,706  
Region One Education Service Center TX $1,167,574  
San Antonio Independent School District TX $294,548  
Texas Woman’s University TX $228,111  
The University of Texas at Austin TX $612,378  
The University of Texas at San Antonio TX $548,284  
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley TX $1,024,711  
University of Houston-Victoria TX $224,213  
University of Texas at Tyler TX $262,537  
University of Utah UT $969,514  
Portsmouth Public School Board Office VA $211,338  
The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia VA $1,199,434  
Educational Service District 105 WA $1,108,985  
University of Washington WA $1,196,705  
Alverno College WI $500,351  
Marquette University WI $194,337  
Marshall University Research Corporation WV $1,660,220  
Total  $46,764,462 

This announcement is part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to addressing the nation’s mental health crisis by providing more resources and supports to help schools address students’ mental health needs. Just recently, the Department announced the Stronger Connections Grant program, which are awards totaling nearly $1 billion to 56 states and territories through BSCA to help schools in high-needs districts provide students with safe and supportive learning opportunities and environments that are critical for their success. At the beginning of the school year, the Department, along with the U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra, sent a letter to governors across the country to highlight federal resources available to states and schools to invest in mental health services for students. The Department also awarded $122 billion in American Rescue Plan Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief funds to help schools reopen and recover, and experts indicate more than $2 billion has been directed to hire more school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals in K-12 schools. With the help of these funds, as of July, compared with the pre-pandemic period, the number of school social workers is up 54%, and the number of school counselors is up 22%.



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