The Biden administration Wednesday announced a grant package of nearly $35 million aimed at expanding mental health and anti-suicide programs for children and young adults.
The package consists of six grant programs offered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and one from the Office of Minority Health (OMH). More than 70 grants will be provided to awardees, with each SAMHSA grant running for a minimum of three years.
The news comes after Biden’s first State of the Union speech last week in which he promised to provide more funding for mental health resources, particularly for youth.
“These grant programs will expand access to proven treatments, interventions, and other recovery supports, while developing new and innovative solutions to strengthen mental health services for America’s children and young adults,” Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, the head of SAMHSA, said in a news release.
The six SAMHSA grant programs include:
- Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resiliency in Education), which will provide up to $5.4 million for infrastructure of school-based mental health programs and services
- Garrett Lee Smith Campus Suicide Prevention (GLS), which will fund up to $2.2 million to enhance mental health resources for students at colleges and universities
- GLS State/Tribal Youth Suicide Prevention and Early Intervention Program, which will provide up to $4.4 million to support efforts by states and tribes to implement youth suicide prevention and early intervention strategies
- Statewide Family Network Program, which will provide up to $1.6 million to bolster statewide mental health family-controlled organizations
- Expansion and Sustainability of the Comprehensive Community Mental Health Services for Children with Serious Emotional Disturbances (SED), which will provide up to $10.4 million to improve mental health outcomes for youth up to age 21, as well as their families
- The Community Programs for Outreach and Intervention with Youth and Young Adults at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis, which will provide up to $7.2 million to deliver trauma-informed interventions for youth and young adults up to age 25 who are at clinical high risk of psychosis
OHM’s grant program includes:
- OMH Demonstrating Policy Effectiveness to Promote Black Youth Mental Health Initiative, which aims to identify health and wellness policies to improve Black youth mental health, such as through suicide prevention
The funding comes as more than 30% of American parents have said that their children’s mental health has worsened during Covid, according to youth anti-suicide organization The JED Foundation.
The worrisome state of youth mental health was also underscored late last year by an advisory from U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, who noted that the issue was already an alarming one before the pandemic.
“[T]he challenges today’s generation of young people face are unprecedented and uniquely hard to navigate,” Murthy noted in the advisory. “And the effect these challenges have had on their mental health is devastating.”