WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, during National Suicide Prevention Week, Congressman Tony Cárdenas (CA-29) applauded the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for awarding over $40 million in youth mental health grants in August and announcing they will provide nearly $48 million in new grant opportunities for school-based mental health programs. The Biden Administration’s focus on improving suicide prevention awareness programs and especially the Administration’s efforts on Project Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education (Project AWARE) will be critical to ensuring robust mental health services for youth in schools. Since Project AWARE is an increasingly high priority in Congress, Congressman Cárdenas looks forward to working with SAMHSA to see that this vital program maximizes its potential.
“Too many of our young people are struggling with mental health,” said Congressman Cárdenas. “As we see rates of depression and anxiety rise, we cannot allow our youth to suffer in silence. The Project AWARE program offers much-needed support for schools to provide critical mental health resources and care for our children. During National Suicide Prevention Week and always, we must remind all young people across that they are not alone – but it is not enough to say it; we also need to show up with the support on the ground. Project AWARE helps to lay that foundation.”
Of the $40.2 million awarded by SAMHSA in August, $13.9 million went towards Project AWARE – a program that provides resources for sustainable school-based mental health program infrastructure. Funds can be used for trainings and to connect youth in need to the appropriate services.
Additionally – thanks in large part to the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act – of the $47.6 million in new funding opportunities, $37.6 million will go toward Project AWARE. These new opportunities would ultimately allow State Education Agencies (SEA) and Local Education Agencies (LEA) to directly apply for funds in the program. These opportunities are consistent with Congressman Cárdenas’ Youth Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Act, which is supported by the Jed Foundation (JED), a leading national nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for teens and young adults.
“We applaud the Biden-Harris Administration and Congress for their leadership, commitment and proactive efforts in addressing America’s youth mental health crisis and suicide prevention,” said John MacPhee, CEO of The Jed Foundation (JED). “By investing in comprehensive mental health programs in schools, we can create a culture of caring, while also prioritizing the emotional well-being and safe future of countless teens and young adults. Congressman Tony Cárdenas has been instrumental in coordinating these efforts, and we value his partnership in supporting young people’s mental health across the country.”