Biden-Harris Administration announces nearly $100 million in continued support for mental health and student wellness through bipartisan Safer Communities Act

    Anchorage, Alaska (KINY) - The Biden-Harris Administration is announcing more than $95 million in awards across 35 states to increase access to school-based mental health services and strengthen the pipeline of mental health professionals in high-needs school districts.

    The awards were funded by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA), which President Biden signed into law on June 25, 2022, and they help advance the Administration's efforts to tackle the mental health crisis in our schools as part of his National Mental Health Strategy.

    The Department of Education (Department) has awarded $286 million across 264 grantees in 48 states and territories to boost the training, hiring, and diversification of mental health professionals through two grants – the School-Based Mental Health (SBMH) grant program and Mental Health Service Professional (MHSP) grant program – in President Biden’s Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. Grantees estimate that these funds collectively will prepare more than 14,000 new mental health professionals for America’s schools. A state-by-state breakdown of these projections is included below.

    Today’s announcement of 93 additional MHSP awards, following the awarding of $46 million to 67 grantees in December, means that the Department will fund a total of 160 MHSP grantees across the country who will train and place thousands of diverse and certified mental health providers in schools with the most need. Nearly half (45 percent) of MHSP grantees proposed a partnership with a Minority Serving Institution, Historically Black College or University, or Tribal College or University. In February, the Department also announced $141 million in SBMH grants, which supports districts in hiring mental health professionals.

    The Department is also announcing up to $2.6 million in funding for a new Mental Health Personnel Technical Assistance Center to support MHSP and SBMH grantees in meeting the goals of their grant. This Center will help identify and develop resources both for SBMH and MHSP grantees to support grantees in addressing the social, emotional, and mental health needs of PK-12 students and staff. The Center will also provide support to the field more broadly – to grantees and beyond – by disseminating best practices in recruiting, training, placing, and retaining school-based mental health services providers.

    These investments are made possible because of funds provided under BSCA. Over the next five years, the Department will invest the remainder of the $1 billion provided by BSCA in mental health professionals for schools through the MHSP and SBMH programs, helping advance the President's goal, as part of his Mental Health Strategy, to double the number of school counselors, social workers, and other school-based 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. These grants complement $1 billion BSCA funds to support safe school environments through the Stronger Connections grant program through evidence-based strategies that advance equity and support student social, emotional, physical, and mental well-being.

    For Alaska, the University of Alaska Anchorage will receive a $354,586 grant and an estimated 58 new hires for the school-based mental health professionals.

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