The Biden administration has pledged nearly $300 million to expand mental health services in schools.
In addition to the new funding, the White House is also encouraging state governors to invest more into school-based mental health programs. This new youth-focused investment is part of a larger strategy by the administration to expand access to behavioral health services.
“In just 18 months, President Biden has invested unprecedented resources in addressing the mental health crisis and providing young people the supports, resources, and care they need,” a White House announcement said.
The latest investment, which was secured via the FY2022 omnibus bipartisan agreement to boost mental health access in schools, will be divided into two programs.
Over $140 million will support grants that bolster the school mental health provider pipeline.
Additionally, more than $140 million will be allocated for grants aimed at providing more in-school behavioral health services.
In the next few months, the White House said it will provide additional funding, which will continue to support in-school behavioral health efforts. Specifically, this future investment will fund trauma-informed support programs and wraparound supports at community schools.
The White House noted that the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act (BSCA) will allocate an additional $1.7 billion to schools and communities. These new funds will go towards expanding community and school-based mental health programs and improving Medicaid’s mental health screening programs, among others.
The U.S. is currently facing a shortage of pediatric behavioral health care providers. The CDC reports that while 1 in 5 children have a mental health disorder, only roughly 20% receive care from a specialized mental health care provider.
The Biden administration isn’t solely focused on providing behavioral health resources to K-12 schools.
In April, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) rolled out a new mental health grant package that included over $2 million in funding for higher education suicide prevention and resources.