Student Well-Being

Nearly $300 Million in New Grants Aim to Bolster Mental Health Services in Schools

By Libby Stanford — July 29, 2022 3 min read
conceptual image of money being used for mental health
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Schools can access funding for mental health services through two new U.S. Department of Education grants that aim to build a pipeline of support in schools, part of the Biden administration’s efforts to address mental health challenges resulting from the pandemic.

The Education Department announced the new grants alongside the White House on Friday. Funded by the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act and the $1.5 trillion fiscal 2022 spending package, the grants will offer nearly $300 million in total for mental health support in schools.

The new Education Department grants come after two school years that have been particularly damaging for student mental health. More than 40 percent of students said they experienced persistent feelings of sadness in the 12 months prior to January through June 2021, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention survey. And in a 2021 American Psychiatric Association poll, more than 50 percent of adults with children under 18 in their homes said they were concerned about the mental state of their children during the pandemic.

Money bolsters the pipeline of mental health providers in schools

The grants aim to tackle student mental health challenges by addressing staffing shortages within schools. While the National Association of School Psychologists recommends that schools maintain a ratio of one school psychologist for every 500 students, data suggest the national ratio is one psychologist to every 1,200 students, according to the association. However, there is great variability among states with some states approaching a ratio of one psychologist to every 5,000 students.

The first of the two Education Department grants, titled the Mental Health Service Professional Demonstration Grant, will provide over $140 million to “support a strong pipeline into the mental health profession,” according to a White House fact sheet.

The grant will help fund school efforts to recruit and train quality school-based mental health professionals. Schools will also be able to use the money to provide “culturally and linguistically inclusive and identity safe environments for students,” administration officials said during a Thursday news conference about the initiatives. The money will also help diversify the school-based mental health professional workforce, administration officials said.

The second Education Department grant, titled School-Based Mental Health Services Grant Program, will provide $140 million to schools and states to support efforts to increase the number of qualified school-based mental health providers. The grant is aimed at increasing the number of school psychologists, counselors, and other mental health professionals serving students.

The Education Department will release proposed rulemaking related to the grants in the coming months, administration officials said. The rulemaking will provide more information on how the grants can be used and which schools will be prioritized for funding.

White House highlights other efforts to support student mental health

In addition to the new grant programs, the Biden administration also sent a letter sent to governors Friday, highlighting ways in which they can invest in mental health services for students.

The letter, signed by U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona and U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra, previewed upcoming guidance on how states can leverage Medicaid funding to deliver mental health services to students, according to the fact sheet.

Over the next few weeks, the White House said, the Health and Human Services Department also will be evaluating applications for $7 million in grants for education activities designed to help students access trauma support services and mental health care.

The administration has also increased funding for the Education Department’s Full-Service Community Schools Program, which awards $68 million to schools that provide wraparound services including mental health care. The Biden administration proposed to dedicate $468 million to the program in the fiscal 2023 budget.

And the Education Department will be awarding $5 million to school districts through its Project Prevent program, which provides grants to help districts implement strategies to mitigate community violence and its impacts on students.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Curriculum Webinar
Strategies for Incorporating SEL into Curriculum
Empower students to thrive. Learn how to integrate powerful social-emotional learning (SEL) strategies into the classroom.
Content provided by Be GLAD
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Leadership in Education: Building Collaborative Teams and Driving Innovation
Learn strategies to build strong teams, foster innovation, & drive student success.
Content provided by Follett Learning
School & District Management K-12 Essentials Forum Principals, Lead Stronger in the New School Year
Join this free virtual event for a deep dive on the skills and motivation you need to put your best foot forward in the new year.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Student Well-Being What the Research Says How Teacher Stress Management Is Crucial for Handling Student Mental Health
A Chicago program helps teachers learn how to manage their own stress in classes with more easily triggered students.
4 min read
Notes from students expressing support and sharing coping strategies paper a wall, as members of the Miami Arts Studio mental health club raise awareness on World Mental Health Day on Oct. 10, 2023, at Miami Arts Studio, a public 6th-12th grade magnet school, in Miami.
Notes from students express support and share coping strategies at Miami Arts Studio, a public magnet school for grades 6-12, on Oct. 10, 2023. Studies find teachers need training to navigate their own stress while managing classes with high-need students.
Rebecca Blackwell/AP
Student Well-Being By Some Measures, Students' Well-Being Has Been Stable for a Decade, Study Shows
A Stanford report examined high school students’ well-being, sense of belonging, and engagement over more than a decade.
5 min read
Tired schoolboy fell asleep on a class at elementary school.
iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion What Should Students Do Over the Summer?
Educators share tips for keeping kids off their screens and mentally engaged over the long break.
3 min read
Young girl reads a book with cat in the garden. Summer holidays illustration.
iStock/Getty
Student Well-Being Opinion What's Behind the Explosion in Student Absenteeism?
Kids aren’t returning to school after COVID. What are the implications for policy and practice?
8 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty