On Friday, the Biden administration released a statement announcing two new actions to “strengthen school-based mental health services and address the youth mental health crisis.” The Jed Foundation (JED) commends the Biden administration for acting on its prior commitments to improve access to mental health services.
The first action awards nearly $300 million of funding through the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (S.2938) and the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2022 (H.R.2471). This funding will be used to increase student access to school-based mental health professionals and comes at an ideal time as students, teachers, and administrators return to school.
This initial investment provides:
- $140 million in grants to support the pipeline for mental health professionals to prepare providers for employment in schools
- $140 million in grants to be dispersed directly to states and school districts to increase the number of qualified school-based mental health service providers available to students
The Bipartisan Safer Communities Act is committed to investing a total of $1 billion for mental health programs in schools over the next five years. Future funding will go toward trauma services in schools; expanding mental health services at full-service community schools which offer students and their families health, nutrition and mental health services; and Project Prevent, which implements “strategies to mitigate community violence and the impacts on students.” That total includes a commendable $240 million commitment to SAMHSA’s Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education), which provides direct training to school personnel and other adults who regularly engage with students, helping to improve their awareness of, and responsiveness to, potential mental health issues.
The second action announced by the administration is sending a letter to governors from the secretaries of the Department of Education and the Department of Health and Human Services. It outlines information about “federal resources available to states and schools to invest in mental health services for students.” JED looks forward to working closely with the nation’s governors to effectively utilize those resources and support all efforts to expand student access to health care services.
The Jed Foundation applauds the Biden administration for its leadership, commitment, and proactive efforts to address America’s youth mental health crisis. These federal funds and resources will not only enhance student access to, and employment of, school mental health professionals, but will also help our nation’s teens and young adults benefit from an established culture of caring. JED encourages federal, state, and local lawmakers to join the administration in prioritizing the mental health of each and every student.